February 5th, 2015
Brad Frost tells you to get excited.
I’ve always been a huge fan of C. I have no doubt that my C skills aren’t what the used to be, but speed aside there’s something fantastic about how much C lets you get your hands dirty and forces you to know how every little thing works. Sure it’s just another abstraction, but I like to think it’s the perfect amount of abstraction.
Fantastic interview with Loren Brichter. Really love his advice for developers starting out...
Remember that nothing is magic. Even though it seems like you’re working at the top of a stack of impenetrable abstractions, they’re made by people (who were probably rushed, or drunk, or both). Learn how they work, then figure out how to minimize your dependence on them.
One of the things I wanted to do better in 2015 was write in my journal. I’ve been following this excellent list of prompts from the Art of Manliness. Yesterday’s challenge was to write a personal manifesto and it’s something that really resonated with me.
There are so many things in life pulling us in a million directions. If you aren’t intentional about what matters to you and what you’re striving to make of your life every day, you can get lost in the sea of crap. Writing a personal manifesto can give you a rubric for spending time and making decisions.
The word manifesto traces its roots to the Latin manifestum, which means clear or conspicuous. A manifesto is defined as a declaration of one’s beliefs, opinions, motives, and intentions. It is simply a document that an organization or person writes that declares what is important to them.
A manifesto functions as both a statement of principles and a bold, sometimes rebellious, call to action. By causing people to evaluate the gap between those principles and their current reality, the manifesto challenges assumptions, fosters commitment, and provokes change.
I’m still working out the details, and will be for some time, but I wanted to start by just laying out the areas of my life I want to address in my manifesto
I’m still sussing out what each of these means. A couple of them are related, so I might try to fold them into each other for simplicity. But these are the areas I landed on that are important to me. That I want to be conscious of every day. One aspect that’s missing is my work. Not because it isn’t important, but because I’m still trying to thoughtfully address it. I want to nail the essence of why my work matters to me and where I pull the meaning from.
We’ve started using Agile in our team at ESPN, and the experience has made me see just how discombobulated my strategy for working on side projects is. Starting this week, I’m taking some Agile-ish concepts and getting them into my workflow.
One of the problems I have is I’ve got two (well, three, but one has been way on the back burner) projects going on at once and I’m constantly going back and forth on this and that. This context switching from day to day even makes it almost impossible to make real progress.
Each week I’m doing a little sprint. Each sprint will focus on one project. For now I’m just going to cycle through all three projects week by week. Taking away my ability to just hack on the little thing I want to hack on will help me get shit done. If the nature of deadlines or tasks that need to be done requires it, I will adjust my plan a bit. But I want to make sure I’ve got my weeks’ planned well in advance.
I’m pulling my projects and tasks into Omnifocus and doing my planning there. I really want to love Omnifocus, but it feels like the learning curve is so steep. So if you have any tips or workflows for Omnifocus, I’d love to hear them. If it ends up creating too much friction I’ll just move back to Things, which has been my old standby for years now.
Maintaining discipline with a project you work on alone is tough. It’s time to get proactive about my planning.
It’s ok to fail. It’s ok to lose. It’s ok to be depressed.
I’ve had this one queued up for a while to share. Too long really. If you’re struggling with depression, talk to someone.
I’ve come up with something I’m calling ”The Universal Sandwich Theory". Follow along with me here: A sandwich made with bad ingredients and poorly made bread will be a horrible sandwich. A sandwich made with good ingredients but poorly made bread will be a bad sandwich. A sandwich made with great ingredients but poorly made bread will be a mediocre sandwich. Conversely, a sandwich made with bad ingredients and great bread will be a mediocre sandwich. A sandwich made with good ingredients and great bread will be a great sandwich. A sandwich made with great ingredients and great bread will be a fantastic sandwich. Bread is the most important ingredient of any sandwich. When making a sandwich, focus on getting the best bread you can. It makes whatever is happening in the middle better. (This also applies to way more than sandwiches.)
Completely agree. This is why I don’t like standard whole wheat bread. It’s dryness just completely ruins any sandwich for me.
Also definitely applies to burgers. I’ve had a lot of really good burgers (medium rare, with some mayo in case you need to know), but what separates the great ones is the buns.
I think this is a fantastic shift. Open vacation policies can be difficult to navigate and leave you feeling guilty even when you take a minimum time off. It’s hard to track how much time your coworkers are off, but you always tend to fear looking like you aren’t working. Butts in seats != work. I’m a fan of open vacation policies and shorter work weeks. Not just because it makes life a little easier, but I think at the very least, it doesn’t reduce productivity.