I am Max Stoiber. Ask me anything.

Max is a speaker, sharing his knowledge on stages in front of thousands of people. He has talked about React and related topics at more than a dozen conferences all across the world!

Max works as an open source developer, maintaining a variety of popular open source projects. He created react-boilerplate, one of the biggest React starter kits with over 10,000 stars on GitHub. It's used by companies big and small all across the world to kickstart their new products.

Most recently he co-created styled-components, a new way to style your React applications, and Carte Blanche, a tool to help you rapidly build and test your React components.

Ask Max Stoiber about:

  • React
  • Code Reviews
  • styled-components
  • react-boilerplate
  • Testing in React
  • Public Speaking

Thanks for all of the lovely questions, I'll have to call it a night! I hope this was interesting, and if you have any unanswered questions you can always reach me on twitter (https://twitter.com/mxstbr) or ask me at my GitHub AMA! (https://github.com/mxstbr/ama)

Huge thanks to Hashnode for setting this up, it's been a pleasure. Have a good one!

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You are a speaker, work as an open source developer, maintaining a variety of popular open source projects.

You created react-boilerplate, one of the biggest React starter kits with over 10,000 stars on GitHub. It's used by companies all over the world to kickstart their new products.

Have you managed to monetize your developments?

Yes, I have, thanks to OpenCollective. (see https://opencollective.com/react-boilerplate)

Historically, donating money to open source projects has been hard for companies, as donations can be written off but only with a legal entity behind the receiver—and which open source project has a legal entity behind it except for the very biggest?

OpenCollective solves this exact problem. They have host companies all around the world, so both users and companies can donate to open source projects without problem, and they'll get their logo in the READMEs of popular project as a return for their help.

It's also fully transparent, meaning everybody can see exactly where the money goes, and contrary to Patreon works perfectly for teams. (whereas Patreon only works for a single person)

Sorry for the rambling answer, but I'm super excited about OpenCollective and how it finally enables us to create sustainable open source projects.

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What advice would you give to fellow 20 year olds starting their careers?

This does't only apply to 20 year olds, I guess, but it's important to remind oneself sometimes:

Nobody knows what the fuck they're doing.

It's just the way it is, our field is so big and there's so much happening nobody is keeping up with everything. Don't worry about it, do good work that you're passionate about and you'll probably be fine.

(also see this great picture https://twitter.com/dan_abramov/status/702649696683204608, and the related post: https://medium.com/@mxstbr/nobody-knows-what-the-fuck-they-re-doing-b62945f88b0d)

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Hi Max!

I recently quit my first job of 1 year, where I worked on a front end framework for a custom solution for AEM, where I learnt a lot. I recently had to quit, and so I decided to contribute to an open source react project Gatsby, but it's taking time to get my first pull request up. What suggestions/unsolicited advice would you like to give to people like me starting their careers trying to make open source contributions?

P.S : How should I approach contributing? Through picking up a bug, intimating the maintainer/creator that I'm interested to work on it, and then going forward, or some other way? I'm wary of communicating with the creator/maintainer for some reason (probably low confidence)

This is a great question, and something I struggled with a lot at the beginning!

The most important advice I can give you is to solve problems you care about and to share your solutions with the world.

Contributing to open source is something you need a motivation for. Without motivation, you'll give up before you've pushed your first commit. I've noticed over and over again that contributing for the sake of filling up your CV or becoming "famous" doesn't work.

The single biggest reason I do so much open source and enjoy it as much as I do is that I solve problems that I have. I solve these problems, no matter how small or big, and share my solutions with the world.

Sometimes, like in the case of react-boilerplate or styled-components, a lot of other people also have that problem and these solutions become big open source projects! On the other hand, very often my solutions are totally ignored by others, like my first npm module, scrolled. (https://github.com/mxstbr/scrolled)

That doesn't matter to me though! Both scrolled and styled-components do the same thing, they solve a problem I had in the way I needed it. Some of my solutions are helpful to other people, and that's great and motivating as hell now that that's the case! But it's not why I started open sourcing things.

To sum it up, solve problems you care about and then share your solutions with the world. That way, if others use your solution, great! If not, you've just solved your own problem. Win-win situation!

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What convinced you to become a ReactJS developer?

I wrote about this in my 2016 in review blog post (http://mxstbr.blog/2016/12/a-dream-come-true/) so I'll just quote from there:

I decided to become an employable front-end developer by taking a break from university and going to London for a three month internship at Animade.

After two months of working with the awesome folks there I was quite proficient in HTML, CSS and jQuery. In an effort to keep me learning for the last month of my internship, Simon and James encouraged me to learn and trial this new, hot JavaScript framework called React.

That's basically it, all of this only happened thanks to @simonneveu and @jameschambers!

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Why Thinkmill is interested to have a 100% open source developer in their company?

You'll have to ask Jed Watson (one of the owners of Thinkmill) for a specific answer to that! I can tell you what it looks like from my side:

Thinkmill, as a company, is much faster at producing value for clients due to open source. We use lots of OSS (React, Node, MongoDB,..) and without that we couldn't do what we do. Investing in a developer to work full time on open source is a way of giving back to something we've gotten a lot out of. (next to every employee working ~25% of their time on open source)

Also, I build tools that help Thinkmill do their job faster and easier. styled-components is a great example that'll help a lot when creating cross-platform applications, and allowing Keystone users (which includes our clients) to theme their applications!

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