Whatever man …
Our industry, the web industry is very young and there is still place and work for almost everyone. This is awesome and I really hope it stays like this for a long time. Our industry, however, lives and grows in the same world all other industries do and this is something to have in mind. Not everything is well done and not everyone has the best intentions. We should try to protect it and shape it the way we believe it’s best. I said “we believe”. This is the point of this brief text. We should have opinions and I think they should rather be strong.
The other day I was listening to the Syntax podcast and one of the tips to newbies was to be open-minded instead of having strong opinions. This was a couple of weeks after I read in css-tricks that people with strong opinions are jerks.
When you crap on an idea, you sound like a jerk at the time, and likely cause more harm than good. If you end up right, you were still a jerk. If you end up wrong, you were a jerk and a fool.
Now, I am not a native English speaker and may be missing important information on how “open-minded” or “jerk” are used in proper English but I will take the risk and make my point anyway.
Being open-minded is not exclusive of having strong opinions. Nor having soft opinions make you open-minded. If you sound like a jerk you probably are but if you are a jerk you don’t necessarily sound like one and in both cases, this has nothing to do with how strong your opinions are.
Take the following example behaviours:
- “Mixing templates with your app’s logic is wrong. And here’s why ….. ”
- “Don’t mix templates with app’s logic man! It’s the worst thing ever. Don’t do it again. I wonder how the hell you got this job!”
- “Yeah, whatever man. You can just put your template there! It will work”
What I see above is a strong opinion in the first example, a bully in the second and somebody who clearly doesn’t care in the third. Don’t you see the same thing? I totally understand and sympathize with people who have to deal with bullies. But let’s not make theories against opinions out of such bad experience. I also understand that there are moments in life when having a strong opinion or an opinion at all is not so important. Like when hosting a podcast and want to answer a listener’s question. It’s really not a big deal. But imagine the moment that the developer opens a pull request, the reviewer has the opinion that it’s not good enough and our heroe developer answers: “Whatever man! It will work anyway.”.
If you care about something try to have an opinion on it. Test your opinion against others and change it if you find the other one’s better. There is nothing wrong with strong opinions as long as the opinion’s owner is humble and honest, tries to convince using arguments instead of imposing themselves. Try to have an opinion on performant animations, React vs Vue, AMP, Wordpress, diversity in work or war in Syria. Have strong opinions AND be open-minded.