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Everything I know about Open Source I learned from Indie Hip Hop


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Over the last 15 years open source software and independent hip hop labels have risen from pipe dreams in people’s basements to revenue streams that can’t be ignored. The talk will detail interesting characteristics found in passionate people from both communities. It will take a look at the communities they operate inside of and why they seem to stay vibrant. The hope is to generate discussion among the attendees on what we currently think about what it means to be an open source craftsman and how our participation impacts others.

Everything I know about Open Source I learned from Indie Hip Hop

  1. 1. Aloha Tuesday, October 6, 2009 initially submitted something along the lines of “how to be a fashionable ruby tester” i didn’t get a response at all, but I really wanted to go to hawaii so i figured i’d send something completely off the wall, seth got back to me within 24 hours.
  2. 2. / @atmos / Tuesday, October 6, 2009 i learned linux about 10 years ago. i’ve been comitting to open source for the last 8 years or so, sourceforge since 2001... i did not win a high altitude open karate championship, i just found that medal.
  3. 3. rspec webrat sinatra passenger integrity datamapper Tuesday, October 6, 2009 these are the tools i use as a ruby hacker, all of them are open source, on github. testing is evenly split with other libs that contribute to delivering code. thank you @dchelimsky, @brynary, @aslak_hellesoy, @bmizerany, @phusion_nl, @dkubb, @godfoca
  4. 4. open source & independent hip hop Tuesday, October 6, 2009 they’re both pretty dude saturated. both are underdogs, the business people pat you on the head and tell you to go play in traffic. “selling platinum artists and building global partnerships, that’s where the REAL money is” ...
  5. 5. context rappers & labels hackers & companies Tuesday, October 6, 2009 how they did it and why i like it more than what you see on techcrunch.
  6. 6. communities they create Tuesday, October 6, 2009 how creating things organically allows you to remain in control of your ideas
  7. 7. participation Tuesday, October 6, 2009 how to choose a nickname or a persona why traveling is so important to professional development inspiration through collaboration hustling
  8. 8. Returning ... Text Tuesday, October 6, 2009 we have GREAT jobs, what can we give back? mentoring, free access to your work, a self sustaining ecosystem. what kind of environments can we create for the next wave of open source hackers?
  9. 9. Indie Labels Tuesday, October 6, 2009 doom is 12+ years now living legends is going on 14 for some members rhymesayers is pushing 15
  10. 10. Not On a Boat Tuesday, October 6, 2009 no t-pain, no boats. no simple path for distribution. there is no radio air play, DIY marketing.
  11. 11. tell you a story Tuesday, October 6, 2009 this was me when I was 15, it’s the canadian embassy in washington DC. i got to travel through skating as a teenager. i went to a hip hop/punk rock show, the first time i went to an atmosphere show.
  12. 12. Minneapolis, MN Rhymesayers Slug Tuesday, October 6, 2009 slug is a leader, he’s more or less the public face of rhymesayers my online persona comes from a group he’s a part of, Atmosphere
  13. 13. Murs Los Angeles, CA Living Legends Rhymesayers Definitive Jux Tuesday, October 6, 2009 murs is a collaborator he cross pollenates
  14. 14. The Grouch Maui Oakland, CA Living Legends Los Angeles, CA Tuesday, October 6, 2009 collaborator, positivity 10+ years independent Living Legends, the crew he’s a part of is an amazing collective
  15. 15. Brother Ali Rhymesayers Minneapolis, MN Tuesday, October 6, 2009 padawan -> jedi -> mentor what’s the first thing you need to be a hacker or a rapper?
  16. 16. Identity Tuesday, October 6, 2009 who are you when you participate in open source? it’s not your myspace or facebook accounts, hackers have github accounts and own domains!
  17. 17. DOOM •Metal Fingers •Danger Doom ( w/ Danger Mouse ) •Madvillain ( w/ Madlib ) •King Geedorah •Viktor Vaughn •MF Doom •Doom Tuesday, October 6, 2009 DOOM is a rapper that has continued to publish things under different names over the years. i like that he got creative, metal fingers on beats, metal face on rhymes
  18. 18. _why Tuesday, October 6, 2009 why is an awesome example of an open source persona. he just disappeared one day, never to be seen again. left countless memories with us. i hope _why comes back as another persona, but we’d probably never know
  19. 19. personas can be superheroes Tuesday, October 6, 2009 be a troll, a savior, a leader, a collaborator. a whole lot of hard work, and it’s growth. in a year or two you can be the kid rockin’ their underwear on the outside.
  20. 20. crew Tuesday, October 6, 2009 a lot of that growth can be accelerated by finding a crew of quality people couldn’t help but use something like this growing up in a military family crews excel in teamwork, and teamwork is....
  21. 21. Tuesday, October 6, 2009 find people that you enjoy working with. a group of people teaching and learning from each other.
  22. 22. Living Legends • Mystik Journeymen • The Grouch • 3 Melancholy Gypsies • Bicasso • Asop •50 albums •300,000 units sold Tuesday, October 6, 2009 formed slowly over 10 years or so. shipped a ton, mix and match on different projects. not stupid rich but they have more support than ever.
  23. 23. What’s an Open Source Crew? Tuesday, October 6, 2009 might be your local user group, this is boulder.rb. couple of friends contracting together, this is a good way to start looking for income.
  24. 24. Tender Lighthouse Countless Plugins Tuesday, October 6, 2009 entp is an interestingly similar collective. active reload launched lighthouse, got consumed into ENTP. if you write ruby web apps i’m pretty sure you’ve used something that came outta that incubator.
  25. 25. gimme the loot Tuesday, October 6, 2009 so I know who I am. I got my crew with me. i’ve been practicing! we have some open source stuff on github. I need to survive, how do we make money?
  26. 26. hitting the road Tuesday, October 6, 2009 go meet people in real life, people who don’t live anywhere near you. you’re going to need to.
  27. 27. two conferences a year Tuesday, October 6, 2009 the personal connection you make with people at conferences trumps twitter, irc, message boards. “but railsconf is like 700$ how on earth do you make it happen?” don’t go. attend more intimate conferences, the rubyhoedown was free, mountain west isn’t too expensive.
  28. 28. open arms Tuesday, October 6, 2009 I work at Engine Yard, they couldn’t work sending me here into the budget. Cory Shaw graciously offered to take me in for this conf. Mahalo, that meant a lot to me. if you a nice person you’ll be surprised who will take you in.
  29. 29. two tours a year Tuesday, October 6, 2009 every spring and fall Rhymesayers hits the road, they’ve always got merch even for the loyal fans who’ve been going for years.
  30. 30. EPs of current work Tuesday, October 6, 2009 have examples of what they’ve been working on. each of those squares is a CD. used to fit on a card table.
  31. 31. releases of current work Tuesday, October 6, 2009 when you meet other hackers, show them what you’re working on, even if you’re not too proud of it. figure out what other hackers are struggling with, passionate about. if you meet people and you’ve got things to share....
  32. 32. strangers might have work for you Tuesday, October 6, 2009 charge people a fair amount, be nice, communication is extremely important. open source persona can be disconnected from the people who pay you normally
  33. 33. collaboration Tuesday, October 6, 2009 the grouch pairs with a dude from the living legends named eligh (LA -> Oakland). i pair program with halorgium (tcs), we kick ass but it took practice (CO -> NZ). while pairing is hot, there’s more to collaboration than just pairing.
  34. 34. MURS Tuesday, October 6, 2009 mixing and matching with whoever he vibed off of, continued growth. worked with definitive jux, rhymesayers, living legends, who knows else. 173 tracks on my laptop. “i’m all about good music, people and progression.” -- murs
  35. 35. collaborate with strangers Tuesday, October 6, 2009 defunkt/wycats - not only collaborate, they don’t stick to one language. promiscuous programmer, not just who you work with but what you work in. One kid is working on digging a whole, next thing you know 3 more kids you don’t know show up to help
  36. 36. mentoring Tuesday, October 6, 2009 where do you draw the line between consulting, collaborating and helping someone out? especially when they show natural talent? how about helping people for free?
  37. 37. Slug Rhymesayers Tuesday, October 6, 2009 this is a shot from 2002 in washington DC. this was a little bigger than the first show, may 150-200 people this time. five years means longer travels and a few more fans.
  38. 38. Doomtree Tuesday, October 6, 2009 kind of a mixed bag, there’s a girl, some white dudes, a pirate in the back left P.O.S was my first introduction to doomtree when he opened for atmosphere
  39. 39. P.O.S Doomtree Tuesday, October 6, 2009 a little different than slug but all he needed was to get on. he’s got a punk rock background that’s transforming to something in between.
  40. 40. Brother Ali Rhymesayers Tuesday, October 6, 2009 the opening act was killer, a heart felt accappella of ‘bedroom window’, a big albino dude. until he starts rapping... and that was 7 years ago.
  41. 41. Brother Ali Tuesday, October 6, 2009 hip hop live with ghostface and rakim. he’s a headliner now, and he’s getting HIS friends on. that dj in the back has been there the whole time, his name is bk one.
  42. 42. people who show promise Tuesday, October 6, 2009 help them understand the solution? help them clean up the mess associated with them trying to implement a feature? help them learn how to test that use feature?
  43. 43. Thoughtbot hoptoad suspenders shoulda paperclip clearance Tuesday, October 6, 2009 they’re independent and maintain a SOLID blog. they give back and do things like poker tournaments when a conf is in vegas. nick quaranto (qrush) was their intern, he does cool shit, have you seen gemcutter?
  44. 44. Corey Haines Tuesday, October 6, 2009 he’s been hacking forever he’s on pair programming tour
  45. 45. Tuesday, October 6, 2009 personas, crews, hustling, collaborating, mentoring. i’ve done multiple iterations of this successfully. l made a personal connection with ezra at railsconf 2006 and ended up at Engine Yard.
  46. 46. we’re already doing it (ass kicking) Tuesday, October 6, 2009 gregory brown, seth ladd, jeremy macanally. entp, hashrocket, thoughtbot, corey haines. kicking ass is getting over the fear of failure.
  47. 47. Github Tuesday, October 6, 2009 i can’t say enough good things about github. i was sad to see them leave EY but i’m so stoked to see them thriving.
  48. 48. Tuesday, October 6, 2009 10-15 years from now, and ruby is a thing of the past. and we look back on how things changed when we were waist deep in it. open source allowed people to build little empires of their own over time w/o investors.
  49. 49. Be Smart About Investors Tuesday, October 6, 2009 roll the dice on those stock options, buy a place in hawaii when you cash em out... if it pans out. if you need to take money, do it wisely.
  50. 50. Ice Cube Tuesday, October 6, 2009 they did it without doing a complete 180º in his defense i’d be ready to bail on LA gang violence too.
  51. 51. Atmosphere @ Red Rocks Tuesday, October 6, 2009 it takes years, regardless of whether or not you take funding. choose wisely, your work/company/software reflects on you as a hacker and as a professional. let’s stop being indentured servants to other people and let’s do it ourselves.
  52. 52. Atmosphere @ Red Rocks Tuesday, October 6, 2009 8300+ people at red rocks amphitheater for an atmosphere show. there were about 40 at the show i saw 11 years ago.
  53. 53. Organic Tuesday, October 6, 2009 organic communities, like the foods, don’t leave a bad taste in your mouth. they’re filled with passionate people that care about their craft and doing what’s “right”. in the long run, those are the kind of people i want to surround myself with.
  54. 54. Mahalo Tuesday, October 6, 2009 Mahalo Seth for such an amazing conference. talk to the closest person next to you that you don’t know. ask them why they’re at aloha on rails, i bet you won’t regret it.