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From Noah Slater <>
Subject Re: What's our Why?
Date Wed, 24 Jul 2013 12:15:41 GMT
I'm trying to imagine what our "I have a dream" speech would be like for
CouchDB. If we were the Wright brothers, we might stand up and say "I have
a dream that one day man will fly." We might say, "I have a dream that
distributed data will be easy." (I mean, that about covers it, right?
Doesn't have to be complex. The hard part is making sure we actually focus
in on the root dream we all have.)

Jan mentioned a few months ago that CouchDB almost wants to be the Git, for
databases. What is Git? What would Git's "dream" be? I can imagine Linus
saying "I have a dream that distributed version control will be easy." Same
sorta thing, right?

On 24 July 2013 13:06, Noah Slater <> wrote:

> Benoit,
> You should defo watch that video and see what you think. Note that it does
> not matter if we are a company. This insight applies to companies,
> products, loose groups of people working towards one thing (like the Wright
> brothers) and even individuals. (i.e. What is your personal "why" and how
> are the things you are doing working towards that.)
> I also want to put you at ease by saying that having a single shared "why"
> doesn't mean that anybody's vision, or personal goals have to be left by
> the wayside. People can still come to the project with their own goals, and
> their own perspective. But the project itself should have a clear sense of
> what we are trying to accomplish.
> I think the "why" we come up with can easily be something that inspires
> and is important to the Hoodie peeps, the Kanso peeps, the CouchApp peeps,
> the "big data" peeps, the mobile platform peeps. Think about a why that
> might evolve out of "your data, everywhere". Who (in our existing
> communities) wouldn't love that and want to rally behind that? (But this is
> just one idea.)
> Asking "what are the core features" misses the point. Why are these core
> features? Why did we add them in the first place? What are we working
> towards? See, you hit on it in your final sentence: "relax we take care
> about your data and the way you exchange and render them wherever they
> are". This! This is the kind of thing that I think we should hone, and
> figure out, and document.
> Once we have that, it can inform our "how". When we're talking about
> features, about product direction (i.e. what we add, what we subtract) we
> can say "well, how is this related to what we're trying to do here?" Do you
> see what I mean? :)
> "Painless distributed systems" is also a step in the right direction for
> answering the question "why?"
> So far we have:
>     * Relax
>     * Decentralised web
>     * Peer-to-peer replication of apps and datasets
>     * Your data, everywhere
>     * Put the data where you need it
>     * We handle your data / you handle display
>     * Painless distributed systems
> Somewhere in here ^ (and perhaps in a follow up reply) is a single shared
> value system. Something we all hold dear.
> On 24 July 2013 12:48, Benoit Chesneau <> wrote:
>> Anyway, CouchDB is not like apple or dell. This isn't a company. And we
>> don't have to share all the same vision, but only common values, a core.
>> I'm not sure it enter in the what you describe. What kind of vision are
>> you
>> speaking about?
>> Also I would remove any pro-tip from your mail if we want to start from a
>> neutral base.
>> Couchdb is known for the replication but not only. Couchapps and the way
>> people hack around is another (hoodie, kanso, erica/ couchapp all
>> differents visions of what is a couchapp but all are using couchdb the
>> same_.. Message hub is another (nodejistsu, hoodie are using couchdb as a
>> message hub somehow, not only but a lot of their arch is based on
>> changes).
>> And now we we can add some kind of big data handling. Not forgetting
>> people
>> that are using apache couchdb on their mobile, they exists and the patches
>> will be release.
>> All have different visions. But they share some common features. I don't
>> want to forget someone because of a vision of some. I only know that
>> couchdb has some strong features that could be improved.
>> All that to say that rather than thinking to a vision, maybe we could
>> collect all the usages around and see what emerges from it. What are the
>> core features, What couchdb should focus on and itterrate depending on the
>> new usage. I guess it's some kind of philosophy: "relax we take care about
>> your data and the way you exchange and render them wherever they are".
>> - benoit
>> On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 1:24 PM, Noah Slater <> wrote:
>> > Hi devs,
>> >
>> > I came across this video recently:
>> >
>> > Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action
>> >
>> >
>> > In it he sets out what he calls the Golden Circle:
>> >
>> > Why
>> >
>> >     - What's your purpose?
>> >     - What's your cause?
>> >     - What's your belief?
>> >
>> > How
>> >
>> >     - How do we do it?
>> >     - How does our product differentiate?
>> >     - How are we different?
>> >     - How are we better?
>> >
>> > What
>> >
>> >     - What do we do?
>> >     - What do we make?
>> >
>> > He points out that the difference between companies like Apple and
>> > companies like Dell.
>> >
>> > Dell tells you what they do, and how. "We make great computers. They're
>> > well designed and work well. Wanna buy a computer?" Most companies do it
>> > like this. But they often miss out the "why".
>> >
>> > But then you look at Apple, and they do it the other way around. Apple
>> tell
>> > you what their purpose is. The rest is almost an afterthought. "We
>> believe
>> > in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking different. We do
>> that
>> > with great design and a focus on the user experience. We just happen to
>> > make computers." He then joking quips: "Ready to buy one yet?"
>> >
>> > (His talk gives several other examples, with his thesis being that
>> telling
>> > your story from the outside in is what separates all the great companies
>> > and leaders. One of his main examples is the Wright brothers.)
>> >
>> > He comments that if you talk about what you believe, you will attract
>> those
>> > that believe what you believe. That when you talk about what you
>> believe,
>> > people will join you for their own reasons, for their own purpose. And
>> that
>> > what you do simply serves as proof of what you believe. Or as he quips:
>> > "Martin Luther King gave his 'I have a dream' speech, not his 'i have a
>> > plan' speech."
>> >
>> > Why am I bringing this to the dev list?
>> >
>> > Because our message stinks. "Apache CouchDB™ is a database that uses
>> > for documents, JavaScript for MapReduce queries, and regular HTTP for an
>> > API" is a terrible way to introduce who we are, what we stand for, and
>> why
>> > we build this thing. (And I'm allowed to say all that, because I'm the
>> one
>> > who wrote it, with lots of help from Jan.)
>> >
>> > So what am I proposing? I'm proposing that we figure out our why. That
>> we
>> > figure out what we stand for, what we believe in. And then we figure out
>> > how we're gonna do that (pro tip: replication is more important than the
>> > data format we use). Not only will this define a consistent internal
>> vision
>> > for the project (what *are* we working towards anyway?) but it will
>> help us
>> > to attract people who believe in what we believe.
>> >
>> > So, if you have any thoughts about this, speak up!
>> >
>> > Thanks,
>> >
>> > --
>> > NS
>> >
> --
> NS


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