Thanks for sharing this and for participating in this year’s Chef Community
I’d like to share some of my perspectives on this and invite everyone else
to do the same either with the list or directly with me (firstname.lastname@example.org
I am bcc’ing an internal Chef Software, Inc. email list on this message.
Not every one of my co-workers subscribes to the mailing list but the
message is applicable and there’s no need for a separate, internal-only
tl;dr “do you work at Chef Software, Inc.?” is a natural question to ask
at the summit and there’s an almost 50:50 chance that the answer is "yes."
Our community can only be successful if we have many and varied
employers. The signature on your paycheck doesn’t necessarily dictate whom
you can work with and this was confirmed many times over the past few
days. Conversations and interactions may leave you feeling uncomfortable
but we will not tolerate intimidation within the community.
I joined Chef Software, Inc. just over two years ago. At that time, there
were about fifty people employed by the company. Today, there are close to
two hundred employees. Many of whom work remotely, all of whom are members
of the Chef community. Chef Software, Inc. sent more employees to the Chef
Summit than any other company, almost 40% of attendees. The Chef Summit
was the first time that many employees of Chef Software, Inc. met
face-to-face with their co-workers and with other members of the Chef
community. So, there may be a natural tendency to ask “do you work for
Chef?” and, in fact, that might simply be another way of saying “I’m new to
the company, are we co-workers?”
It is natural for Chef Software, Inc. to hire people actively engaged with
the community. Our community includes many passionate, talented, motivated
individuals who are skilled at using Chef and helping others be successful
with Chef. Of course, it is just as natural and important that the
community of people using Chef on a day-to-day basis but not paid by Chef
Software, Inc. continues to grow and thrive. Summit participants worked
together to create an awesome event and might like to work together
afterwards on a more regular basis. Luckily, as AJ said, we don’t need to
be paid by the same employer in order to work together!
You’ve made connections and strengthened bonds with others in our community
and I hope you’re leaving the Summit feeling engaged, energized, and maybe
a bit exhausted, too.
As I’m reflecting on this feedback, I find myself imagining how these sorts
of conversations may have gone differently or better. I’ve shared some of
my thoughts here. Some of these may also be paraphrasing of actual
conversations I had or words I said this week.
“Do you work at Chef?”
“No, but I can tell you what I do with Chef.”
“You need to work at $MYCOMPANY!”
“Thanks, I’m really happy where I am today but we could certainly work
together! What would you like to collaborate on?”
“I work at Chef Software, Inc. and am excited about the things you’re
doing. How can I help you and your company succeed?”
“I love working at $MYCOMPANY, it’s the best place I’ve ever worked and it
might be a good fit for you. I’d love to tell you about it especially if
you’ve considered leaving $YOURCOMPANY.”
“I like to help you succeed at $YOURCOMPANY. But, if or when you’re ready
to leave $YOURCOMPANY, please let me know because I think we’ll be able to
find a great position for you with $MYCOMPANY.”
I’m keenly interested in your feedback on what went well, what could be
improved, and how you felt about the Community Summit. Please share here
on the mailing list or directly with me (email@example.com).
On Sun, Oct 5, 2014 at 10:31 AM, AJ Christensen <firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for writing this!! Sorry for top post. Phone
Very aware of this occurrence - thankfully most folks are aware I no
longer work at Chef Inc! Haha - even more thankfully, many are interested
in my journey since then (personally)!
One thing I discussed with a number of attendees is that there is no need
to work together (have a shared employer) in order to work together. Just
find people you want to work on stuff with and work with them!
I believe the Lieutenant positions and revised governance proposal will
allow for even more freedom of domain for more subsystems and potentially
ease some of the implicit contributor == employee assumptions.
Many excellent initiatives are being undertaken by hundreds of humans, not
employed by Chef.
If you or someone you know work or do not work for Chef and found yourself
intimidated by this scenario, could you share your thoughts?
On Oct 5, 2014 9:35 AM, “Eric G. Wolfe” email@example.com wrote:
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I had a frank discussion with a Chef employee following the community
summit about ideology and attitudes between community (Open Source)
and company (Chef, Inc.). Sharing this is deeply personal, and I am
not trying to single out any one person, or company of doing something
that might be wrong.
Let me preface by saying, I personally think it is great that Chef
(the company) recruits from within its own community of stakeholders.
We have a brilliant and awesome community of users and developers.
Many of the new Chef, Inc. recruits have bettered my life and work as
community forces, and I am glad to see them get the opportunity to
move projects forward from within.
The question was posed if there was an increasing tendency in
introducing one’s self at Chef events, such as the summit, by asking
"Do you work for Chef?". I was also asked, “How do you feel about
that being repeatedly asked of you?” and “Do you think this attitude
makes people uncomfortable?”.
Even at the first summit, this question was asked frequently, and I
never thought of it as having malicious intent when asked. A more
common icebreaker at earlier events might have been “What are you
doing with Chef (the solution)?”, or “Where are you from?/What do you
do?”. There just happens to be more voices asking the question, and
there is more to a person than where they happen to work.
This has sometimes, albeit infrequently, made me uncomfortable.
Especially when someone is aggressively projecting the notion that I
need to come work for Chef (the company) for whatever their personal
reason or agenda. I have always felt that myself, and others in the
community, bring unique perspectives and problems as outside voices.
I believe this diversity and collective spirit makes us special.
It is my opinion that it is okay to be passionate about this project,
or one’s own company. At the same time, there might be a problem if a
person is marginalized because of their circumstantial corporate
association. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who came to share
their awesome ideas or unique problems, and is then asked 200 times if
they work for Chef?
Would anyone else like to share opinions or thoughts on this phenomena?
Eric G. Wolfe
Leader in Utility HPC Software
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