Amanda Casari: My name is Amanda Casari. My pronouns are she/her. Today is 23, October 2021. I’m speaking with Samson Goddy, who I met at PyCon two years ago now — I think it was 2019, in Cleveland, Ohio. I’m recording this conversation for Open Source Stories in what looks pretty dark, but it’s actually a beautiful sunny-ish day here in New England. My first memory of a computer — my uncle worked for IBM in the early 1980s. He gave us a home PC, it was an IBM PC, Jr, to have that started living in my dining room when I was a kid. Samson, can you introduce yourself?
Samson Goddy: Sure. Hi. My name is Samson Goddy:, he/him. And should I say like today’s date, or should I just skip that?
Amanda Casari: Nah!
Samson Goddy: So I’m recording from London, United Kingdom. But I’m Nigerian. I’m from Nigeria.
Amanda Casari: Oh, what’s your first memory of a computer in your life?
On the futility of trying to avoid “office” work
Samson Goddy: Oh, so my first memory was basically back in grade school. We had like, the first moments of like, C computers. And it was crazy, awesome, because I didn’t get the vibe at the beginning. Because we’re taught to use, like, Microsoft Office. That was pretty bad for me.
I think when I went back after the class, and I watched some sci-fi movies, I got pretty excited about the possibilities of what you can do with computers, rather than just office work. Maybe it’s just me saying I don’t like the traditional “office work” with computers.
Amanda Casari: Do you like office work with computers now?
Samson Goddy: Yeah, yeah, because my job is part of it. Now I have to spend virtual science on spreadsheets, Google Docs, and some bunch of boolean as part of my job. Compared to when I was — when I was much more into, you know, use cases programming and some other tactical things rather than just office work. So yeah, one of the things I was running away from, it’s like, something catching up with me now. Always learn as much as you can when you’re much younger.
An introduction to Linux through game parity
Amanda Casari: I mean, speaking of learning things you can, while you’re young, can you first describe your first encounters with open source, and a little bit of your early journey with it?
Samson Goddy: Yeah, sure. Interestingly, when I became very tactical, I mean, when I saw computers from a tactical level. Luckily, for me, I got introduced to the tactical world of programming in I think as early as grade six, grade seven, I’m not sure when. And then that was true. Again, that was a little bit different, because I was not looking at the Windows computer, because I was kind of fed up with those things. I couldn’t resonate with it at that point.
So there was a popular project from the MIT Media Lab — and I think with the United Nation at some point — called the One Laptop per Child project. So I got introduced to that, like I said, it was in my grade six or my grade seven. Then that’s how I got interested in open source because it was running a full Linux machine, like full Linux tech stuff. And of course, Linux tech stuff is open source.
That’s how I started understanding what is open source. It’s a very different culture from where I’m from, so having to make more time for research and like, you know, out of frustration anyways. Because my peers at that time was using Windows for some gaming — I’m big into football, which the Americans call soccer, which I forgive them for — anyways, that was a little bit frustrating, to kind of get some of those PC games that I was used to over to my computer. They were pretty slow.
Also, the limitations of the actual architecture, of the next step itself, that got me interested. Like, “I want to fix these things”, “Why am I not running .exe files?”, or “Why I’m not running a Windows file?” So I got to understand the concept of the operating system, and through that process, I got to understand what open source is and how there are multiple distros out there.
Amanda Casari: So when you were looking, you were first getting started in grade school. When none of your friends were interested, it sounds like, in the same kind of technology platforms you were using, how did you find support and community for that - for figuring things out?
Samson Goddy: Honestly, it was hard. It was hard because as I was in the same school, and to give it context, the project was for the whole school. So I was not just the only person with that computer, but I think I was one of the fewer people, probably like 0.1% of the people, that resonated with the computer at that time.
Because like I said, right, I’m someone as a child, or when I was much younger, I was very, very into breaking things and fixing things. I always want to know the things behind — I mean, an average kid would want to do that anyways — but I was going to have to get to the bottom of it. I always want to know what’s happening under the hood.
So I think for me, the community was interesting, from a high level standpoint, because the computer was in my school. They were able to incorporate some of the Linux apps or running Sugar. Sugar is sort of based on Fedora or the Gnome desktop user interface.
There were some educational projects that came from the Media Lab as apps, which we call “Activities” over the Sugar desktop environment. Some of the Activities were sort of incorporated into my school curriculum, temporarily, in a way because somebody was running a program. The school was able to accommodate some of those programs.
One of them was the early version of Scratch. Scratch, like one of the earlier version of it, was definitely way different from what people are using today. Those are one of the tools, and some of them, depending on how far back you’ve been on the Python side, was one of the earliest implementations of Logo, which is like where turtles are entitled to draw circles and square all that stuff. Those are the things I was more into at that time. That’s why the graphical programming language is something that I started with, because, you know, the computer was more equipped for that before going into tech space.
The community I was involved with was due to the way the computer was shaped and the vision for it. It’s not African-centric. It was not optimized for my environment, because of the influence of what they think computer science is or what computer is to them. It was a little bit different.
That got me moved, or got me pushed over, going to the internet and going over to forums. That’s how I got introduced to the open source project that was based on, that was obviously supporting the OS. That’s how I got to know what IRC was.
You know, funnily enough, I got into IRC before understanding what messaging was on phones. So it’s quite interesting, because I was like, “Okay, this is not a bad interface”, because that’s how I got my first exposure to like real time messaging was IRC before, understanding what SMS was, which is quite funny.
The Cambridge Connection
Amanda Casari: When you’re doing all of this work, that — so, as a student trying to find things, figure things out, get connected as part of the community — was there anyone in particular who was super influential as a part of your journey?
Samson Goddy: Yeah. Sadly, 99.9% of these folks are in the US, because like I said, right, the adoption of the Linux, you know, the Unix desktop, or in this case, PC desktop, which is still not so much of an impact in these days anyways, it was pretty low. It was Windows, the middle environments. I was able to get support from some of my key folks from the last year’s program, which was more focused on the educational side of it, not necessarily what the computer was all about.
But I think from the tactical side of the project, I was more closer to folks over at MIT Media Lab — Cynthia Solomon, which was one of the authors for the Logo programming language, which Scratch and all the tools came from.
Another big person: Walter Bender, which also influenced my career and also helped me to understand the methodology around learning while doing, the concept behind what the folks over at MIT were doing. So at that time, he was, I think, the president of the MIT Media Lab.
I was more optimized for folks over at the Media Lab and some folks within Harvard, also, so kind of like an ad tech influence but more optimized with industry than university. That’s how I got that, where my support system was coming from before eventually going into the raw, open source projects and the community. Then I started to talk to a lot of people that were the users of the project, and they were able to share ideas and improvements.
Amanda Casari: So, you’ve said several times that you felt like your experience initially was centered in the US — was centered on US needs. And I know that you’ve done a lot of work to change that. Can you tell us a little bit about how did that early experience influence your life now, and your work?
Samson Goddy: I was technically forced to optimize for the US because that was where I was getting my support system from anyways. That’s why I was doing that, and why it was great for me at some point to get to understand, you know, being in Nigeria, me understanding a different culture, which was also in terms of better diversity.
At some point, I started feeling alone, because I wanted some real time improvement. I wanted people to talk to! I do have some friends that were in the same place, the 0.1% of the people that were into that, were able to form some groups, but then that was just us. Some of them had to change their mentality as they grow, you know, with different views, and whatever. And of course, there’s always going to be that time you grew out of your early child friendships and all that, which is a universal thing.
Anyways, I think as I started interacting with a lot of people abroad, I started seeing how I could start forming a community in Nigeria. And to be honest, it took me a long time. I’m saying about between grade seven, and up until I would say, when I was out of high school — what I was doing at that time was more of speaking at events, and going to universities. At some point, I even became a guest lecturer for one university over from my school as a high school graduate, which was pretty interesting, introducing what computer science is with Python and Scratch.
By doing all these things, it kind of showed that I needed to start building a community of people around the same, not necessarily the same mentality, but the same interest. I didn’t actually get the right framework to do that, because when I was much younger, I was mostly kind of very introverted, at that time, so into myself and trying to be as lucky as possible.
I think it remained that way until I attended my first tech gathering — which was not my own version of tech, because again, it’s a very different — they were more optimized for the needs in Nigeria, which is super into FinTech and banking. Anyways, I did attend the conference. I saw some people not on the same level, where I was thinking about somewhere around what I could identify as, and I was like, okay, cool. There’s a value for this. Then I started optimizing people around me, my community. I started with people closer to me to start forming this group.
The first time I went over to the US, which is quite interesting, it was for Google, the Google Summer of Code mentor summit. It was the first time I came to the US. I went straight to Mountain View and I saw a community of people. From a racial standpoint, I’m not into like: “Are there going to be a lot of black people over there?” I’m not, you know, I’m not that kind of person. But I saw that, okay, this is something that I could fix. Because I mean, the fact that I’m here, that could be more people that can be here also. So, I noticed that was a pipeline problem.
I spoke with the team at that time, talking about what are the ways that I could optimize going back going to evangelize around where I’m from, and then going back, and then moving around over to the States, going to MIT for the first time, going to Harvard for the first time.
That just kind of showed me that the importance of computers is more into collaborations and people, centered around the value of people. I started shaping my ideology of “Okay, there’s a lot you can do from the people standpoint.” So going back home, that just opened my ideology and I started looking for people that have similar interests of building a community of people and then centered around particular conversations. Then, I started mingling with those kinds of folks and then we started building something.
One of the things that came out of that was fruitful, because I’ve done some things that filled — actually was Open Source Community Africa, which is one of the projects that I’m really, really excited for, starting sometime in like, early, late 2017, when I came back from the US, and officially became a thing in like, early 2018. And now we’re pretty big. We’re pretty good, actually.
Amanda Casari: Open Source Community Africa — Africa is a continent, not a country, unlike some people in the US think, right? So as you’ve been doing this now for about three, four years of trying to figure out a continent-wide program, what have you learned about things that are standardized, or that you insist on doing the same and what needs to be localized or different based on the communities that you’re working with?
Samson Goddy: You just said to yourself, Africa is a continent, where it’s a very unique continent. In a way — because why is it a continent and that could be comparable to Europe, you know, to Asia or to, to both North and South America and other continents… that I might not remember. Now, trust me, I used to be a good student at some point!
Amanda Casari: Antarctica!
Samson Goddy: Yes, yes. Somewhere, somewhere, right.
Africa is very unique in terms of complete diversity — even at some point, even on the ratio side, where the north is really different, the south is very different. The east and the west are also pretty different.
But then there’s one thing that is, in terms of diversity, there’s two major problems — not problems, two major, quote unquote challenges when it comes to building communities: one is language and two is cultures or religion. I would say more of “culture plus religion”, because religion might feel standardized. I will say, “Oh, I’m Christian”, but then Christianity could be something different from a different state or a different place in Africa. So sometimes I will say “culture and religion coming together to form uniqueness”, right. So for me, one of the things I was optimizing for was the religion side of things.
I know for a fact that people think different things, and they have different morals, and, you know, depending on their background, they have different ideas. Then the concept of open source is very generic, or I would say, it’s very Western-centric.
From those places — for someone today, moving over to the States, for the first time, is kind of optimizing their life to fit into society. That means they are learning what they know, where you’re from, where you’re coming from, and trying to adapt into a new society. So they could be law-abiding citizens, right? That is a pretty normal thing.
But then, given the fact that these things are more designed from one standardized for that, kind of means something different on the continent here, because of how different people are giving something, the concept of volunteering and different things from different angles. Some people are okay with it to tell you how interesting that was. I remember the early stage, and I was talking to my early members, like, “Hey, we’re going to be doing most of these things for free!” They’re like, “What, who does that?” And I was like, “Yeah, like, I’ve seen it over in the Western world.” And they were like, “Yeah, that’s the Western world.” I was like, “Yeah, but how do you learn?” You know, you’re like, “Okay, I need to have money”, like, yeah, who would hire you to learn the job in Africa? Think about it, there’s a bunch of things. That was one of the early conversations when I started.
So we started optimizing for building local cities, right. I started with my city first, that was the first place, we did the Open Source Community Chapter events. Then we did one or two, and then we saw that people were so interested. Then we moved over to Lagos, which is like the very biggest city, one of the, if not the biggest city in Africa, by population. By size, it is a very small city, trust me.
But then, you know, there are a lot of people there when it comes to diversity of parts. That was one of the biggest real challenges of doing this successfully — being there and seeing how people are not just not arguing what the concept of open source is, but bringing their own ideology on how to better it and better suited in that environment was something that was a plus. So we saw the value of people not trying to fix or try to erase what is upstream, but better trying to understand how the upstream affects the downstream when it comes to the society, and it was a huge value for us. So we started optimizing for local cities, within the continent, and then we now start having our own version of what open source is.
What I normally do is to go to an open source project, because I’m one of the privileged folks, I get to travel to conferences and get give good talks and say, “Hey, this is how we see open source in Africa, and this is how people — if you want to do something over there — this is the way you need to start thinking. It’s not a country, it’s a continent. There are multiple languages. If you’re doing these things, don’t say ‘Oh, Afrikaans is a popular language in Africa.’” I don’t happen to speak Afrikaans for example. Right? So there’s a lot of things that, you know, it’s becoming more of an awareness standpoint in the continent, and when it comes to Africa, it’s not more of an adoption strategy, where I do things, right. So that’s how I’ve been able to bridge, what is standardized and what we’re trying to like localize in this standpoint.
Amanda Casari: What are you most excited about for the next few years — from the work you’ve been building up to at this point, and where you’re imagining things to go?
Samson Goddy: Yeah, so I think one of the things I saw over time, I mean, I’ve seen it from a, from a smaller standpoint, and from someone that can be pretty hard on myself to know when I’m successful or not, was when I did the (Open Source) Festival for the first time because that was my biggest gallery locally that I planted myself alongside my colleagues from all over the continent.
We saw the impact, even during the lockdown, during COVID. To show how much of an impact most of what we did was pretty crazy, like after the Festival — a week after everyone was on lockdown, and there were a lot of challenges, but then people were getting jobs. People were changing careers. People were, you know, they were just massively exploding.
Then the interesting thing about why I think, you know, we’re seeing these changes is because there are a lot of people like myself within the younger age bracket. This is not what you see in the Western world. Nigeria, as a country, about 70% of the population are probably under the age of 30, so that means they’re very energetic. They are very experimental. They are, there’s a lot of things that they want to do, they are so trying to do things to fail there and always go to that route compared to what you see over in some of the Western world where they’re trying to play safe or trying to follow a particular part. There’s always that experimental vibe that is going on on the continent.
I think that with what I’ve been able to do, I have been seeing a lot of impacts, you know, people send me DMs and telling me, “Hey, I listen to your talk”, or “I’m part of this community that you referred me to, and now I’m this.” There’s a bunch of developers in advocacy, a bunch of people working for, like FAANG companies, working at Google, working on a bunch of companies that oh, like, five years ago was kind of a joke to them. When I told them, “Hey, you could work at Facebook! “, and they were like “Me?? Work at Facebook???” This is just a funny bunch of conversations where things are every single day now, on Twitter, I just go and start putting congratulations every time on Twitter because there’s someone leaving the country to a new country to join a new job, or working remotely and all that stuff. So I think that they’ve had a huge impact when it comes to optimizing for people to see how they can self grow, without having to like, go through some bunch of roadblocks.
Amanda Casari: Yeah, I remember. I remember going to Nigeria for the first time for the Festival, which I’m so glad that I made the decision to do that before everything locked down. And we had, you know, in all the airports — like the US was at the time and early 2020 was like, “Oh, yeah, we’re fine.” And then, as soon as I leave the country, it was medical forms and fever checks and hand sanitizer in all of the airports because there was an entirely different expectation of what was happening in the world.
I remember, your team was working so hard for this really large event, that grew, I would say, what, two or three times bigger than you expected it to, right, with all these people together. And then afterwards, I know, was probably in recovery mode for a little while. I flew back to the States, and as soon as I flew back, everybody went into to lockdown.
I do look back on that time, and I’m so happy that we got to spend that time together and that I’m so honored that you invited me to be a part of that, because I also have been watching on Twitter, and I’m like, “Holy cow!” These last few years have been this explosive growth for a lot of the organizers, and people on your staff. It’s been so lovely to see.
Samson Goddy: Yeah, literally everyone that planned that conference or volunteered at some point, you know, got a job. And, you know, because again, the story was big, you know, the company, the supporters were very influential. The boss on Twitter was so big that you can’t ignore it. I remember going to some conferences, even in London for a conference, and someone was talking about what we did in 2020.
So just by talking about it, and even interestingly, like, one of the things that even got me my current job, which is pretty interesting was, when I finished the conference, it took me a while because I was recovering, there was a bunch of things that was going on personally. When I wrote an article about something that I’ve been doing prior to the conference, and I was in this interview phase, I just took the article and say, “You know what? If you want to hire me, this is really why you want to hire me on your team, right?” And then I brought it to my now manager, engineer, they are like, “You need to be in the team!” and all that stuff, even the same thing also applied to other companies that I was interviewing for. Luckily, I was able to get this one. But the part is the conversation was so big that, you know, if you’re not seeing it’s probably under the rock or something or probably not on social media.
Growing a new nexus of open source leadership
Amanda Casari: I also love how — not just the professional paid growth — but it also seems like a lot of the folks who you introduced me to, and who I met, there’s also been this really wonderful change in everybody’s interaction in leadership positions. You know, you and I had this conversation early on, that it wasn’t just a billion users, your goal wasn’t even a billion developers but also fundamentally changing who has a voice and who gets to be a leader, not only in technology, but in open source ecosystems.
Samson Goddy: I think that was now the exact same thing that we were trying to optimize within the conference — bring in people like yourself and people in the industry that have done amazing work, and then, also, people listen to people that look like them, for people that care about the racial side. I’m a very generic person. But there’s a lot of things that people care about. We listened, you know? We did a lot of polls about “Why would you care about coming to the conference? Why would you want to come to sit with us for two days? We’ll listen.”
We tried to optimize the event — the speaker’s choices, the topics, the way it was designed — was to answer as many questions as possible. Then one of the things that I saw there was, at the same time, I tried to speak at some conferences after the event, and I was so specific about that is that my vision for me, and what I’m optimizing the people around me for, and the events or conferences that I’m doing, or the programs that I’m doing, and even in my job, is to always create a system. This is something I’ve seen as a newly corporate leader is that I love when people are in the same room, and you’re not looking into the differences by age, race, you know, languages, culture, disabilities, but more into, like, how do you impute, like, you know, bringing as much diverse thought as possible, and then build something from scratch. That was something that I was more focused on when we’re setting up the organization and bringing people in, because, of course, there was a huge gap between where I was, my co-founder, and some other people, than the other people that came.
Naturally we want to kick into human instinct and say, “Okay, listen to me, and then do this, you know, listen to me, and then take this back.” I mean, that works. That’s some form of leadership and we can make an argument about why that can work. But then as we know from a continent, from a country, where a lot of people are culturally, you know, emotionally or the way the Africanness of them are conditioned them to listen every single time and sometimes they feel like their voice is not being heard.
Creating that system and saying, “Okay, you can actually speak out”, you know, now that’s why it’s very natural for you to see someone say, “Oh, I’m now a developer’s advocate”, because they know for a fact that they cannot just code or, or not just do something about this stuff, but they can actually talk about that and share that knowledge. Right. And that’s one of the things that we’ve been seeing: product designers, you know, people basically doing things that are not necessarily, telling them to talk about their job, but you always see them talking about it from a leadership standpoint, I think that’s something that is pretty amazing, actually.
The joy of impact through uplifting others
Amanda Casari: So, what are you most proud of from your work in open source so far?
Samson Goddy: I would say, impact. Impact in terms of I think, judging from when I started, and I think where I am, as of right now, I think every single thing that I was consciously trying to optimize for is to say, “How do I go in here? And how do I make the most impact?” Most of the time, sometimes, it could be unfair to me, because I have to give up a lot of things to do that. Sometimes we could be talking from a selfish standpoint, but then the most important thing is to have to see the human capital, especially in the continent, trying to see the improvement. Those are the things that gives me joy.
I remembered a lot of things that I had to go to, in order to like, run some events. At some point, I was paused, I still do anyways. But like, at some point, I was sponsoring some of the events, I randomly just go on Twitter and buy courses and do a lot of things with people. The reason I’m doing that is not to feel good about myself is to know the fact that “Okay, once there’s better human capital, there’s going to be more ability to listen to more people and get to better yourself.” So I see it as more of like, investing in people so they would go learn and they share something that I would want to learn in the future. And so it’s kind of a win-win situation and how I see things from that angle.
On paths not taken
Amanda Casari: The flip side of that, Samson — this might be a very personal question — is what is your biggest regret?
Samson Goddy: Interesting. I think my biggest regret would be — interesting. So I look at two things that I think might honestly be regretting now is I’ve always optimized to be or maybe something I could do afterwards, but I’ve always wanted to teach in a university setting. It’s always something I will be curious of, because that’s how I started my career.
I was optimizing to go to MIT at some point, but I never did, due to some personal reasons. I think those are one of the things that I felt like, and it could be many things! Because if I felt like — if I had gone to MIT when I was trying to go to MIT, none of these things would be happening now. I would just be one of those exports that went over to the state and do things and affects the US community, which is also great, because I’ve always loved impacting things over there but I wouldn’t see a lot of value in there. Because I thought, nature kind of made it so that I remained on the continent at that time and I did what I wanted to do.
But I think, for me, having to keep this to myself for a very long time to realize that community was important. I mean, I was pretty young. What did I know, at that time? I felt like having little to no community from the time I did. And imagining when I, you know, if I, if I was introduced to it a little bit much earlier, the impact that would have made because now it took a while, and now it’s happening now, I can imagine it happening years ago. Now it could be more of like, the maturity stage, you know, not people reacting and all that stuff. So, for me, I don’t think there’s much of a regret, because I feel I have this belief that things happen for a reason.
Because I’ve looked back on a lot of options that I would have taken, going into corporate jobs, taking jobs. You know, I remember if I, there was a company that was trying to hire me, pre-OSCA, fast. I remember, if I did take that job at that time, I don’t think OSCA would have been happening and then that would have had a different impact. I wouldn’t be where I am today. So there’s a bunch of things that I look at and just see it as like, “Okay, that’s life. It’s life.”
Amanda Casari: I saw this movie one time, where it was like, the super low budget version of a time travel movie. In order for somebody to time travel, they went to a closet, and thought about it. But it was interesting that it was more of a plot device that I remember. It was more to bring up the conversation that there are pivotal moments in your life, that if you go back and change something really before then like your whole life is different afterwards. Right? So this person had to really make these decisions around some pivotal moments that they wouldn’t want to change in the future.
Samson Goddy: Exactly.
The balance of humility and sharing your work
Amanda Casari: And it sounds like you have at least one of those. I’m curious, is there anything else that would stand out? In your mind, not just for you, but maybe for open source in general, as like, this is something that, you know, has changed the way open source looks now and the way that it’s going to look in the future?
Samson Goddy: Yeah, um, so I think, is this like, on the regret side? Or is it more of like the optimism for the future? I’m not sure what the question is.
Amanda Casari: Yeah. So I think just in general, it sounds like there’s been like, when we talked about regrets, or we talked about, like things you’re proud of, or your journey so far, or what’s inspired you. Using these, like, key decisions, key moments that you can tie things back to even regrets? You’re like, “Okay, I regret this. And I know that if this was different, I wouldn’t have done this thing. And if this thing was different, oh, it never happened.”
So taking a step back from your experience, and from the specific communities you’ve been working with, as you think about open like global open source in general, or open source with your experience with the African community — I know you do work with Sustain and OSI — but is there anything that kind of pops out for you as to like, oh, yeah, I remember this one thing happened, and then the whole community was talking about it. Have — either you do or do not — have a strong opinion about it. It’s totally cool. But like, what stands out in your mind is like a pivotal moment or something that’s happened, that you think is influenced the way open source is now or will be in the future?
Samson Goddy: Oh, nice. Yeah, I think that makes sense. I think for me, right? One of the things that going back, if I could fix that could maybe better optimize, was me constantly belittling my effort, because I started the journey on a solo angle. I felt like because I wasn’t talking about it, and like I said, because I don’t do regrets. In this case, it will be me not talking about what I’ve been doing for a long time.
I think I started seeing the value of it when people around me started doing it, like people around me, not in my community, but like over in the States that is sharing, and I started seeing the value of sharing, and I felt like if I was optimized at that time, there would have been more impact, and it would have been more growth. I would have done things a little bit earlier and things would have been more mature.
There’s other things that I see here because again, I have this thing where I just constantly just say, “Okay, I mean, it’s cool, I did that stuff, but it’s like not in right, like that’s one of those stuff.” Because of the way I grew up, I grew up from a very military background. So you sometimes — one of the stick things is like “Okay, okay, you know, I did that stuff, but it’s cool.” Then as a child, I was much optimized to understand that things are a little bit different, right? So taking credit was not much of something that I, I was more optimized for.
I felt like that alone had a lot of impact where I am today and where I’m going to be so like, recently sort of optimizing for trying to say, “Okay, I mean, you did this stuff, it’s cool, it’s okay, it’s fine. You can take credit for it, or you can actually talk about it right.” And that itself has been able to change.
I think one of those biggest impacts was, when I did a project with GitHub, it was really interesting, because when I flew over to the States, and I was speaking, I was hosting a panel section called the Open Source Africa’s panel, I believe. And then some of the folks over there internally were like, hey, we want to, we’re trying to launch this README project that would, you know, get more mainteners or individuals to share their story. I remember spending up to like, a week trying to figure out what I wanted to say, because I just dropped my talking there. And I keep deleting stuff. I was like, no, no, no, that’s too personal. You know, and I that, that took a while, like, my story was pretty crazy. But then they get it into it, and then when they did, and then they shared it on the within the platforms, you know, obviously, they saw a lot of big impact, because that’s one of the biggest, because of what he told me, like the biggest story that they covered, but also we mean, a lot of people could get more insight about what I was doing.
So there was a lot of competition and, and that also helped them to like projects, the career. And that got more impact. So I think these are one of the things that I see that the more confident that people within my society become, and to be able to take credit, that kind of like, effect, general open source, because they could now go out there and talk about your story, go to conferences and talk about, you know, tips and tricks or like, you know, ideas, and then that would also affect the global cyber understand that, okay, there’s this side of this world where we have not been optimizing for, and we need to start fixing our problems and making sure that, you know, there are more contributors coming in. They’re not just contributors, but becoming maintainers. And then, you know, they are maintainers also creating real feedback, bringing more people in. So I think those are one of the things I will kind of tie back to me not taking credit or not me, you know, we’ll just stop.
Share early, speak on other’s behalfs
Amanda Casari: Awesome. Yeah, and I, I’m so sorry, that we only actually have about a few minutes left. And so before we have to end, I first want to ask — Do you have any parting thoughts that you would want to put out into the world as a part of this discussion?
Samson Goddy: Share as early as you can actually. To be honest, I think I see the power of sharing — the power sharing also gives good powers of network, because the more you talk about what you do, because again, this is the Internet age, maybe would have been a little bit different if I was born pre-Internet age. Luckily, I didn’t. So that would have been much harder for me.
But I feel like you know, the internet age and the way people are using social media, like sharing your story would just be a really big impact on someone’s life. I’ve seen that happen.
That’s one of the things that does in this case is: making sure that people advocating for you behind doors, like a friend of mine wrote an article saying “Who is speaking on your behalf?” People can speak on your behalf when you’re not talking about yourself. Right. So I think that’s a really interesting one.
Amanda Casari: Awesome. Yeah. I love that idea of not just not just sharing your story, but also sharing other people’s stories when they’re not right in front of you. Yeah, yeah. Well, thank you, Samson, so much for joining the conversation today. It was awesome to hear you talk about so many things I we hadn’t talked about before. Yeah. Thanks for joining us.
Samson Goddy: Yeah, thank you. Thanks for having me. I’m really excited. I’m always happy to talk about, you know, Africa and open source. I mean, love the fact that I have always been in open source and looking forward to see more collaboration going forward. Thank you.