I got involved with Perl largely by accident, and very quickly found myself surrounded by people a lot smarter than me, and had the opportunity to meet people that, to this day, I’m humbled to think know me by name.
Later on, I got involved in Apache in much the same way. Somewhat by accident, but also because I did what I was good at – explaining complicated things to beginners – and contributed that back to the project. Once again, I quickly found myself surrounded by people not only a lot smarter than me, but who had done things that fundamentally changed the way the world does things, from developing the HTTP protocol itself to writing the Apache web server, to things like Java, ATOM, SVN, and so on.
I’m always a bit dazzled, when I come to ApacheCon, by the folks who are milling around here, and what these people have collectively created. And by the fact that they consider me one of their peers.
Over the years, the level of my contribution has waxed and waned, largely dependent on the demands of my real life, or whether or not I’m working on a book at the time. But the people that I’ve met during this process continue to respect and accept me for what I’ve done in the past. That’s pretty cool. But whenever I come to events like ApacheCon, I find myself inspired all over again to step up and contribute to this amazing collection of projects that comprise the ASF, or to other projects with which I’m nominally involved.