December 3rd, 2000

  • steve


I was just taking a look at Mark's journal when I came across an interesting entry regarding styles and I think there is a good point here. The number of public styles are currently severely limited, and the ones that exist aren't really all that original. I know Brad will be working on an overhaul of the style system at some point, but maybe even before then a team of people should start creating really nice and creative journal styles. I think it would inspire a whole lot more people to go from free to paid account status. In addition, once those are up, it would probably be a good idea to have a sample journal in each of those styles so people can see what they look like. Just some thoughts that came to the top while doing some other work...all for now...

Getting people involved

This was a response that I wrote to this post. It applies to all of us, but especially to those of us who have developed for LiveJournal for awhile. LiveJournal is overwhelmed when it comes to development. We need to remove the bottlenecks inherent in our current structure, but only so many people know how to develop for LJ so far. This is how we should deal with that issue.

"...We need to remember that you have to start somewhere and we need to encourage people to do what they can. Good ideas are ALWAYS important, especially if we can develop them into detailed plans and start to execute on them.

You obviously know a lot about doing the hard work involved in building LiveJournal... there are others in here that have a bit of experience, but will need training to become developers. Is there anything that you could do to help enable people to do some of these tasks, even if it is just writing up what goes into doing ___ task and pointing people towards the information they'll need?

We are dealing with an expanding community with an expanding amount of volunteers with varying talents. We need to document (or at least outline) how to perform as many development tasks as possible so that we can really scale the development effort.

A project might have the following elements:

- Planning
- Project lead/coordination
- Design and artwork
- Documentation
- Programming
- Promotions

This implies that we should get others involved in our projects whenever possible so that we can save ourselves time and improve the quality of what we produce. Lj_biz is the place to do that.

What we need to do is scale the LJ development effort... and that means that you should be seeking out new talent and making use of the new talent we have available here to help out with various aspects of your projects.

In short, we can't do it all ourselves. As LJ grows, it will only get harder to try to do everything ourselves... so don't try to. Concentrate on what you need to scale the development effort. Don't be afraid of building your own team here, or asking for people to help. That's what we need to create... opportunities for people to help.

Burgundy, who studies psychology, once said in her journal that if you want someone to be your friend, get them to do something nice for you. When people do you a favor, however small, they have a mental conflict... "Here I am, doing a favor for this stranger ..." The two ideas conflict, so what people tend to do to reconcile the conflict is they view you as a friend.

That's how I want LiveJournal users to view us... as friends. We help them out, they help us out. Friends are our best evangelists, they become paying members... friends help us develop and grow. We need to enable users to be our friends, and that means making it easy for them to help us out. If you concentrate on doing this, you'll have more help than you ever expected soon enough. I can see that starting to happen here in lj_biz. I hope you all can too.


I posted this as a response to opiummmm's post, but I thought I should share it with all of you. Many of you are a bit young and a bit unsure of yourself. You want to help, but you may feel a bit insecure about your own talents. This may help...
Although I am (slightly) in my 30's, I haven't forgotten what it is like to be young... there's a lot of self-doubt that goes along with it, and frankly, adults in general only contribute to the problem.

Sure, you're young... sure, you've got a lot to learn... but at the same time, you also have a fresh perspective on things and have grown up with the Internet all around you. Those who are young are absolutely vital to success. Their ideas will be the ones that triumph in the end, not some tired, stale idea from middle America.

I know that many young people have heard this from adults before, but it's true... believe in yourself and follow your passion. This is a lesson that took me years to learn myself. When I was young, I didn't know what I wanted to do. This is, perhaps, fortunate, because today I can do most anything. Still, I look at a lot of young people on LJ and realize how incredibly smart and talented they are, and how much they could become.

I will tell you a few secrets that most adults won't tell you and many adults don't even know... Recognize your talents and don't be concerned if you are a bit cocky and arrogant about them. We all know that there are many things about the world that, for lack of a better word, just plain suck... you can do it better. Infact, if you really care about what you're doing and believe in your talents, hardly anyone in the world can do a better job than you.

I would also advise you not to limit yourself... nobody is "just a ______" (student, writer, secretary, programmer, etc.) I consider myself a writer, and a web designer, and an artist, and a poet, and a musician, and a promoter, and a leader, and an architect, and a businessman, and an evangelist, and a scientist, and whatever the f*ck I need to be at any moment to succeed. I don't concentrate on any one field in life... I am interested in everything. Because I care about and believe in what I do, I can do better than the best in any field on any given day. I may be arrogant to think this way, but it helps me to succeed, which is the most important thing most of the time.

...but not all the time. You don't succeed alone. You don't succeed by hurting the people who you're supposed to be helping. You've got to be arrogant AND humble... and the best way I find to be both is to be giving of yourself and your time and your talents, and recognize and respect other's talents too. If they care enough and if they believe, they just might be better than you on any given day.

Take this advice and run with it. Find a way to help LiveJournal that you care about. Find a need and fill it. Let me know what you want to do, of course, but feel free to show initiative. If you have good ideas, I'll do everything I can to help you implement them. Above all, though... believe in yourself.

The Talent Pool!

This may appear to be a mild-mannered post... but it's actually the LiveJournal Talent

The Talent Pool is a list of who we are and what talents we have to share. By having a list of our talents, it makes it easier for people who are organizing projects for LiveJournal to find volunteers... and for those who are volunteers with an idea to find people who can help them put their ideas into action.

Just click here and reply to this post, telling us about the skills, talents, and interests that you are willing to contribute to help LiveJournal! If you already are helping LiveJournal, it is also a great place to let people know what kind of things that you do or have done for LiveJournal in the past, in case someone without a particular skill needs assistance on an issue in order to complete a project.

Take a dip in the pool... the waters fine! -