An untapped sea of knowledge

About a week or so back while browsing Adam Knight’s website, reading his latest blog entry, I had a quick read of his Bio which lead me to his company website RainStor.  It turned out that RainStor do very similar things to our company MaidSafe.  So I spotted an opportunity to learn from someone who’s done what I’m trying to do, in building a small start-ups test effort from the ground up.

So I got in touch with Adam to see if he’d be interested in having a quick chat to answer some questions that I had in regards to his test approach at RainStor.  He replied back very quickly, letting me know that he’d be more than happy to chat with me, and even offering me to come down to RainStor to see how they do things.

To be honest, I’d expected a positive reply, and I’ll tell you why.  The testing community is still relatively small in terms of active participants online.  Those that do get involved in discussions, writing articles, or public speaking, are generally very giving.  Sure, you will get the odd troll, but to be honest I’ve personally never seen one yet.  So I guess what I’m saying is that if you give a little to the community, others with happily give a little back.  If you give a lot, you’ll get a lot back.  Sure, this might not always be the case, but most of the time members of our community are very kind and helpful.

So anyway, we’d talked over the phone for around ninety minutes, starting off with us talking a little about what our companies do, and then with me asking him a lot of questions.  My main goal of the chat, was to find out how Adam had approach performance testing, and scaling up to levels similar to customer environments.

I got a lot of useful information from him, in terms of scalability I’m still not 100% sure as how best to approach this for our company since our companies testing differs in terms of technology, they real with archive data, whilst we deal with live data and archive.  It’s something that has us all scratching our heads on how to do this in a cost effective manner.  None the less I’m sure we’ll think of something, and if not we can always go for our plan B which whilst inexpensive in terms of money spent, does at the same time impact potential revenue.  That being said though, this plan B could lead us to making more money in the long run, strangely enough, confused?  Yup, well sadly this is one of the rare occasions when I can’t disclose information.

So back to my chat with Adam and why this makes an interesting topic for me, that is of course if you weren’t already thinking this yourself.  The testing community is potentially huge!  The active community is much smaller.  The amount of people actively engaging other members of the community for information, is again much, much smaller!

Now, making use of other members of the community is something I’ve always done when I’ve spotted the potential to learn something new.  Do others though?  I makes me wonder why we don’t engage in discussions with companies doing similar things more often?  Sure, quite often they might be the direct competition, but perhaps we’ll have the chance to work together, to help push each other forward.

Me and Adam are now going to keep in touch, and perhaps set up a mailing list at some point between our teams if we see some potential for learning from each other, or even as a means to share ideas.  In the future we might even split the costs for in house training if it works out well for us.  The founder of our company, my boss David Irvine, being the forward thinking guy that he is, has said he’s happy for Adam’s team and others to make use of our resources in terms of test scripts, automation and so on.  That’s a rare thing, but hey what an opportunity right?  So it was certainly beneficial for me, and I’ve certainly got lots of things to think about.

So why don’t we all help each other more often?  I get that legality comes into the equation for some people, but hey, it doesn’t harm to ask!  I’ll certainly be looking in to expanding my network in the future.  Perhaps at some point even, this circle of similar companies exchanging ideas, might just get that edge over those who’d closed their doors from the outside world.  Thanks for reading.

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