Be a Boat Lifter! A Rising Tide that Lifts Everyone Around You

By Mike Dorman

Elevator Pitch

Helping others get better is how we make ourselves better. I like the “a rising tide lifts all boats” analogy. The path to career success is being that rising tide and lifting everyone else’s boats. In this talk, I’ll share some ideas for impacting the people around you for good.


Want to be successful in your career? Help others be successful, and so will you. “Teach a man to fish”, “you reap what you sow”, “be a fountain, not a drain” – choose your favorite metaphor. I prefer to think of myself as “boat lifter”, helping everyone around me get better. And as a result, I get better, too.

This is critical for our success as individuals, and also for our teams, organizations, and projects. None of those can reach its full potential unless we’re helping each other learn and grow. Anyone at any level can do this.

I’ll share some ideas I’ve picked up during my 15-year career in the service provider and SaaS industry to help you be a boat lifter. Both technical and cultural, you’ll leave with tips for impacting those around you for good.


Everyone wants to be successful in their career, and we can’t do it without the help of others. Especially in OSS communities and events like DevOpsDays, there’s a huge willingness for people to provide support and mentoring to others. But few people know how to effectively do that. This talk will give really practical steps anyone at any level can take to help those around them get better. I’ll focus on ideas specific to the tech industry, but many can be extrapolated to other fields and everyday life.