In 2016, I wrote a technology series – 52-technologies-in-2016 in which I posted a new technical blog/tutorial every week for a year (I managed to write 43 posts). The series got quite popular, receiving more than 7000 stars on GitHub and close to a million page views. I created a page in the project GitHub repository covering the mentions it received from the community. I received thank you notes from software developers around the world. Though it involved a good amount of hard work, I thoroughly enjoyed doing it.
Back in 2017, I remember sharing with a friend of mine about this achievement and how it managed to reach thousands of developers around the world. After listening to me for a while, he said, “But, you did not make any money with it.” Well, he was right. I didn’t make any money with it. I politely answered him that money was not my ultimate goal of the series.
We all are looking for a quick way to earn money, lose weight, build relationships, get promotion in our job, or become successful in life. I have failed numerous times with my effort to achieve my goals. We all give up too quickly. Failing is not an issue if you failed after you have given your best. Most of the time we fail because we don’t try hard enough. We give up too soon.
Since last couple of years, writing has fascinated me. I became interested in writing as I started spending more time reading books. I have read more books in last couple of years than I have read in my entire life. Good books make you think, question, and become more self-aware.
Stephen King, an American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction and fantasy once said
If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write. Simple as that.
I think writing is the natural side effect of reading.
The fool’s life is empty of gratitude and full of fears; its course lies wholly toward the future – Epicurus
Most of us these days are obsessed with our future. In future we want to be our own boss, we want to run our own company, travel the world, become a millionaire, and so on. We are being sold the dream that life will become meaningful if we become our own boss. What this usually leads to is unsatisfied today. Our blind desires stop us from contributing to our current work in the most complete form. We make compromises in terms of quality and focus in our current jobs. This means we loose out on the training for the better future tomorrow. I think this trend is making us incompetent and we will never be better prepared to make a real difference in future. We should show gratitude and contentment in our existing job. This will give us internal peace and help us prepare for better future tomorrow.
I came across this quote while reading a random article on the web. Since then I am thinking what could it possibly mean. One meaning of the quote could be that all days are equal in terms of number of hours. So, in effect every day is equal in number of hours to every other day. But, this meaning does not satisfy my inner self. I believe the quote has much more profound meaning. The meaning that I derive from the quote is that the way we live one day of our life determines rest of our days as well. As I wrote in an earlier post, a single day is like a mini-life. Each day we are born (wake up in morning), live life (do daily job), and die (sleep). To understand the value system of a person, you don’t have to spend years with them. Their one day actions are enough to give you idea how they behave every other day. Most people don’t drastically change over time unless they do regular self-introspection.
A couple of weeks back I re-read Rework book by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. Following are the twenty lessons that I learned:
Meetings are toxic. Either schedule meeting for 15 mins or 2 hours. The default duration of 1 hour is not the right duration for most meetings.
Say no to feature requests. Keep your product minimal and coherent. This way you can build a product that is more useful for the client. Creativity is subtraction.
Look at by-products of your work. Blogging, books, other ideas form from your base work. Don’t miss this opportunity. When you make something , you always make something else
Hire a better writer. If you have to choose between two programmers then choose the one who is a better writer. Writing requires you to explain things clearly. A good writer knows the important of good communication.
Embrace laziness. Wait till the right appropriate moment before building a feature.
Learning from mistake is overrated. Build the smallest possible thing that is successful and then iterate on it. Success is the experience that actually counts.
Small is not just a stepping-stone. Small is a great destination in itself. The best way to build things is Do things that don’t scale. Sometime small is the right size.
Start making something. What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.
Embrace constraints. Constraints are advantages in disguise. Limited resources force you to make do with what you’ve got. There’s no room for waste. And that forces you to be creative.
Start at the epicentre.
Ignore the details early on. The reason: Detail just don’t buy you anything in the early stages. Besides, you often can’t recognise the details that matter most unit after you start building. That’s when you see what needs more attention. You feel what’s missing. And that’s when you need to pay attention, not sooner. This is the reason I feel discovery sprints are useless. They give an illusion to client that you can magically figure out everything in 2 week without building stuff. The real questions arise once you start building. This is when you can validate your assumptions, clarify doubts, reason along, and try different approaches.
Be a curator. There’s a lot of stuff off the walls than on the wall. The best is a sub-sub-subset of all the possibilities. Don’t be a hoarder. Be a collector. Creativity is subtraction.
Focus on what won’t change
Don’t get obsessed over tools. The content is what matters.
Sleep 8 hours daily
Say no by default. Customer is not always right.
Don’t confuse enthusiasm with priority.
Learn to say Sorry.
If everything is high priority then nothing is high priority.
A couple of weeks back during my weekend morning walk to the neighbourhood park, like most people, I had put on my headphones. I was walking, lost in my favorite playlist, when someone tapped on my shoulder and asked me a question that why people of my age have headphones plugged into their ears. I candidly answered, Because it is boring.Read More »