Who the best engineer/sales/product on your team will be?
Who will make the right decisions to change the face of the product?
Who will act with a precise & steady hand in moments of danger?
Who will make the greatest impact on your life and the life other others around you?
Who will turn out to grow into a great leader?
I conclude you canon predict these things, nor can any amount of “deep learning”.
I think you must, at all costs, focus on identifying and building quality relationships among team members. This development of quality relationships in human endeavors does not happen as a lightning strike. You must build a contract behind how we handle ourselves in the best of times or the worst of times.
You must build and communicate your team’s Constitution.
@sessionm we have P.A.C.T.
Does your team have a Constitution?
Starting tomorrow, pick the top 3 - 5 character traits you find to be the most important and make sure you communicate them with your team.
Make sure everyone is on board for this contract, ready to put that contract into action.
Then, you have the starting foundation for take over the world.
There comes a time when talk, strategy and discussion are just words and thoughts filtered through ideas, opinion, experience and individual bias.
In the end it comes down to what is real — The touch, the tinkering, the building. Bringing something to life that did not exist, feeling the constraints, challenges and molding them into the finished product.
As teams and organizations grow it becomes really easy to fall into the mindset of excessive pre planning, strategy, resource / time estimates, etc.
And for new teams and individuals there is sometimes hesitation around the right “approach”, “fit” or “path”.
Sometimes you just need to start building, experimenting — toe in the water, boots on the ground, pick your analogy, but the moment you start building all the most important product strategy questions become apparent and all of the irrelevant ones melt away instantaneously. The focus instead is on the mission of producing something awesome. Iterating, crafting, delivering.
As software engineers, we are in a unique position in history. At a convergence of imagination and thought. We can take an idea that is purely imaginary and then create a way for humans to interface with imagination through electronic devices. Anyone with an idea who does not have this ability is currently very frustrated. Seriously — right now there are thousands of founders of startups desperately seeking their technical cofounders. There are hundreds of CEOs looking for their technical heads of product.
That is why you must stop reading this blog post and start building something you want to see in the world. And for those frustrated? You need to understand your business and part of that is understanding software development.
Learn it. Get started. No more talking, start building.
One of my earliest memories as a kid is one that is hard for anyone to forget. Because it was so long ago, it essentially is stitched together in a patchwork of images and feelings.
On the farm, we had an old crab apple tree behind the house. As kids, we would often climb this tree because it was smaller than most trees and accessible. I remember it being very craggy yet strong. The limbs twisted around in such a way that made for good hand and food holds. I am sure if you were to see it today, it was no more than a short simple tree, but to us as kids, it offered a leg up on the word, where you could climb to the top of something and see out over the vast expanse of the fields.
The tree had a bunch of knots and holes to grab onto on the climb to the top.
One day, I was climbing the tree. I was between 4 and 5 years old at the time. As I was nearing the top, I noticed a hole that looked to be a good place to steady my climb. I remember grabbing the edge of the hole and then being hit with an instant onslaught of pain, like a strike of lightning to the head. There was buzzing all around and I fell out of the tree onto the ground.
The strangest thing is that most of my memories following this event are entirely as if I was a witness to the unfolding activities.
I witness myself lying at the base of the tree and I remember our babysitter, Midge, running up to me very quickly and grabbing me. My head felt like a balloon, I could hardly lift it. It’s odd that I would see this from the the 3rd person. The only thing I can think of is that the retelling of the events made me remember visuals that actually did not happen. I stitched them together after and stored as if they were actual memories to the situation.
The next thing I remember is sitting at a doctors office, crying. This I remember in the first person.
I remember getting some sort of shot – I didn’t like it at the time, but it didn’t hurt as much as the throbbing in my head.
I then remember waking up in the back of our Chevrolet Station Wagon, moaning and crying. My head felt like it weighted 1000 pounds. Everything was in slow motion and there was a constant throbbing.
It turns out that that knot in the tree – the rotted out hole I grabbed onto for balance, was chock full of wasps. As soon as I invaded their hive, the swarm attacked me. I was stung in the head and face too many times to count and the swelling made me feel like I was carrying around a bowling ball on top of my head for at least 24 hours.
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At the end of every work day, before my head hits the pillow, I document all major objectives and accomplishments by day in a file called ~/sweller.plan. Any mission yet to be accomplished makes its way into the plan for the next day.
It makes me feel good, no matter how challenging the day was. I find it very calming and a good way to decompress.
Religiously, my .plan is the first thing I look at every morning when I’m sipping my cup of coffee. With this I assemble my “not until” list.
My “not until” list is a list of duties and tasks that must be done before I take on what I perceive to be less important things. Before I scan Twitter, before I start responding to email, before I pull up that interesting article everyone in the office is sharing, I focus on the big impact items first — the ones that drive the most value when accomplished.
This routine has kept a bunch of things in check for me.
1. It helps me to avoid falling into the trap of using email as a productivity tool.
2. It keeps be focused on the most important tasks at hand.
3. It creates a sense of history, revealing to me the missions that are truly driving momentum and making an impact.
While I originally got the name “.plan” from John Carmack, my approach is different in execution.
If you are starting a company or are working for a startup, I highly recommend adopting a regiment like this.
It’s extremely helpful in keeping you focused on the mission.