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The hostess of this here party.

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  1. 1

    Gina Trapani

    Some good comments on this article are over at Hacker News:

  2. 2

    Sean Palmer

    Copied from my comment on Hacker News:

    In the old days, which was really not very long ago, geeks had to push hard against the “mainstream” to create a little bubble where they could exist. They catered hard to people like themselves, because it was hard to find anybody like them. It was good to have some space that catered to geeks. But now that pressure against geeks isn’t so high, some of them are still pushing against the mainstream just as hard as ever. The hard part is over, guys! Geeks can now find people like themselves without too much trouble. There are now lots of places we can go that cater to geeks. It’s time to stop pushing against the mainstream so hard. We don’t have to be so defensive anymore.

  3. 3

    Bill Clark

    Excellent post, Gina!

    While I haven’t been very involved in the ThinkUp community, I do think you guys have done a great job keeping it welcoming, which is very apparent in reading the google group when I was having some troubles with my ThinkUp install.

  4. 4


    As a non-developer who feels a natural inclination towards patterns and designs, I have had a slightly different experience. I do not feel as if I am on the outside looking in. Having an understanding of the big picture, of a view across ideas and projects, and a desire to join up concepts makes me a commodity. What is strange, and I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on, is what exactly am I?

    Officially, I am a technical writer, and I do not write code. And the more experienced I get in my role, the less writing I seem to do. I seem to work on coordinating ideas across projects, on structuring project goals, and seeing them through to documentation. It is like a bridge between product marketing and engineering departments.

    What I have learned is that design isn’t about code. Code that is based on good design is readable by most non-developers. But what makes a good designer, and I am not referring to UI design, but server architecture as well, is someone who is able to see patterns, and to find the most direct, honest way of achieving the goals of a project effectively.

  5. 5


    If you’ve always wanted to get involved in an open-source project, ThinkUp is an excellent choice to join. Besides being well organized and structured, Gina and the TU community are extremely helpful and supportive. Even though I’ve contributed very little to the project over the past couple of years, everyone treats me as if I’m an A1 developer :) unfortunately, RL won’t allow me to contribute as much as I like, but when I can, I always gain something from the experience.

  6. 6

    Robert Bigelow

    That vision is an important reason why I read your blogs and posts, listen to you on the various pod- and stream-casts. It’s apparent in just about everything we read and hear and rings like an anthem to the g33k in us. You’re one of the top five whom I pay thoughtful attention to.

  7. 7

    Art Thompson, Jr.

    Spot on, Gina. Thanks for posting this and for offering a possible explanation as to why I’ve often felt intimidated when considering contributing to open source projects.

    I’m a Designer (capital “D”) first and a front-end developer (lowercase “d”) second. Much of the open source software I’ve encountered seems to have been created with functionality as the obvious focus and design and usability as afterthoughts. Funny, I find that I rarely curse at any particular software’s functionality, but I do often curse at its poor usability.

    So, instead of complaining, I’ve often thought of contributing. But, as you and Miliano point out, there does often seem to be an under-appreciation of non-technical contributions, albeit not-so-obviously.

    I understand that most software (open source or otherwise) is born out of a need to solve a particular problem. But, until design and usability are treated as more than mere wallpaper by developers, their projects will continue to lag behind those whose creators understand that design begins before the first line of code is written.

    ThinkUp sounds great and I’m definitely going to check it out and see if it’s something I’d like to get involved with. BTW, I agree with Robert about your thoughtful contributions–written, spoken or otherwise. You’re a much needed breath of fresh air.

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