I originally wrote this article in February 2013. While it's nearly ten years old, I wanted to give it a new lease on life because it also helped me get my job at GitHub and remains true today.
Yesterday, while I was poking around on Twitter, I found an article by Josh Long describing how to kill your heroes. Basically, go out there and do something worthwhile and stop regaling your heroes for their ability to shut up and ship.
In a perfect example, Tom Preston-Werner of GitHub fame reminded us what it’s like to ship. After letting his project jekyll get a little heavy with pull requests and issues, it appears as though he was dedicating his Saturday to getting things back in order.
In the past few weeks, Rails has been plagued with a few YAML security issues. It’s generally accepted that YAML is an annoying tool to use but it’s the defacto way to share configuration in Ruby right now. But Tom doesn’t care.
And, just like that, instead of complaining in a tweet, instead of writing a blog post about how it should work, or instead of whining on a pull request somewhere, he decided to forward the conversation by doing something.
Roughly two hours after his initial “YAML rage” tweet, he had his specification for suggesting a better option than YAML.
Whether or not you agree with Tom that YAML is bad and whether or not you like TOML, it’s one thing to write “we ship all day” or “just up and ship” in a blog post or in your Twitter bio. But it’s a totally different class of hacker who writes they hate this tool they’re using and then immediately releases their suggestion.
I still have a long way to go before this flow is so ingrained in me that it’s second nature. I’ve made some recent strides recently with Strapper. However, watching this unfold over Twitter last night was too good not to learn from.