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Intellects Don’t Appreciate Intelligence

Filed Under Personal Improvement

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It is a sincere privilege to be in an occupation where I get to work with so many smart people. However, there are big downfalls, one of which I am growing impatient with – patronizing the intelligence of co-workers.

Too often people skirt around the core of this issue with generalizations that developers are egotistical, socially inept, and “too smart for their own good”. All though those may be both foundations for and symptoms of the core problem, the real issue is generally found in everyone and is much more selfish. Most intellectuals don’t appreciate other people’s intelligence.

It’s true…but why? Here is my hypothesis…

Let’s say someone spends a week running research and development on a particular sticky piece of code. The solution is well thought out, assumptions tested, and code spiked to ensure that out of all possible options this path was the most correct. Now that person shares the answer with the rest of the team – what do you think the most common answer would be? The most common answer most of the time comes out “Duh…obviously…”, and herein lies my heartburn.

People don’t appreciate other peoples’ knowledge. People don’t appreciate other peoples’ wisdom. Most importantly, people don’t appreciate the provided, immediate shortcut of the other person’s journey.

Just because you can grasp the answer does not mean you have the knowledge, wisdom, experience, or work ethic to come to that answer. Additionally, even if you do – praise the person for giving you a shortcut to higher knowledge! Rejoice in the fact you have a colleague or maybe even a mentor!

I could have simply preached, be humble and appreciative, but that is not enough because that is a topic intellects can understand and as a result undermine it. Truly being humble and appreciative is an act that is continually learned through continuous self realizations. The next time you respond to your co-worker, boss, or intern reflect on what you just said and how you said it…you just might catch yourself being a jerk who says “duh…”.

Be More Efficient And Don’t Read This

Filed Under Efficiency Tips

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Something that gets continually drilled into everyone’s head is that in order to become more efficient we need to eliminate all the noise in our personal and professional lives. Focus on what matters and keep a blind eye to everything else.

Before the birth of my first son, I will be the first to admit that I was an unfocused procrastinator with a pinch of twitteraholism. After his birth I found myself with only about 2-3 hours a day to accomplish all the extracurricular interests I had. And as a result, I found myself giving up many previous luxuries such as video games, leisure reading, and even cutting back on night caps.

Now after the birth of my second son (to put this into context, that is two under the age of 15 months of age), I have almost no time what so ever to do any of my interests let alone work on all the aspects of my business that I wish to grow. You know there is no hope of ever playing Xbox again when you can’t even find the time to mow the lawn in the last month. However, amidst all of the chaos, I have accomplished more in the last month than ever before.

I don’t know how many times I have heard people preach “Stop listening! Stop analyzing! Start doing!”…and now that I have been *forced* into practicing this I feel more focused, energized, and productive than I ever have in my entire life.

  • Email – Processed once a day…maybe…
  • RSS – Speed processed twice a month…maybe…
  • Phone – I will answer during work hours….maybe…
  • Twitter – Turn on then off 1-4 times a day (still a voyeuristic vice)

And that is just what I have done with my applications. Here is a longer list cross sectioning many aspects of my life:

  • Moved from dual monitors to single monitor to increase focus and decrease screen real estate for time sucking apps
  • Work in coffee shops to minimize distractions of co-workers and family
  • Hire out to a neighbor kid (or neglect for long periods of time) chores like the mowing the lawn or washing the cars
  • Make myself committed to time lines and promises that I can not easily break to increase prioritization of tasks

The list goes on and on….

Anywho, I am not going to keep rambling on as I need to get some other things done…and I suggest you do as well.

Quit reading this damn article and get something done today.

The Correct Process Guides Us (Tracer Architecture Cont.)

Filed Under Architecture, Software Process, Thought Stuff

Futurama God

Here is my big thought for the day:

The correct process implicitly guides people into correct behavior. The correct architecture forces code into the correct patterns.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how Tracer Bullet Architects show true leadership by creating clear and direct paths prior to the entire team coming aboard is probably the most important activity of a successful project.

However, I would like to take this one step further and suggest that if [as a team leader] you install the most correct process people will want to participate in correct and efficient behavior.

For example, when Napster was first introduced millions of people illegally downloaded music. Why? Not because they were bad people, but because they had no other mechanism for which to purchase (and own) digital copies of their favorite songs. Apple came along with iTunes giving people the first reasonably priced and easy to purchase model which included digital ownership – and the rest is history. People want to do the right thing and will given the correct means.

Building on this concept, it is possible to create project infrastructures that force developers to adhere to good practices such as SOLID. Seriously…I have done it. Some of these architectures would range from MVC/DI/IoC/Mock goodness to Tiered/Stubs/Statics/MockingIsEvil grossness, and each was a good fit given current company. It was the architectures that enforced clean lines of responsibility, increased testability, and [as a result] increased stability.

Of course people can break processes, of course they can break code, but if the correct solution is in place – they have to try really hard to do the wrong thing. If people continually are breaking process or code, then the answer is easy – you currently have the wrong solution in place.

Creating a zero friction environment is rarely rewarded by your peers; however, it is the most rewarding personal achievement one can accomplish.

If you do something correct, it is as if you did nothing at all. -God (as seen on Futurama)

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