becoming an influencer

put the camera down

pick something you want to learn about

spend the next 10 years mastering your craft

pick the camera back up

tell people what you have learned

kill it

small, sharp tools.


Rule of modularity: write simple parts connected by clean interfaces.

Rule of composition: design programs to be connected to other programs.

Rule of Parsimony: write a big program only when it is clear by

demonstration that nothing else will do.

Build as simple as possible, but no simple. Do not allow the composition of

these parts to assemble a tightly integrated system.

Working Effectively


  • Problem: staying 'in the zone' is just not healthy or effective for a programmer! However, long periods of concentration are vital for a programmer to better understand their code and succeed. This crazy dedication helps develop unhealthy habits and can prevent you from properly focusing.
  • Concentration periods are the most important part of programming. Losing concentration means losing all context, and losing all context means that you'll spend lots of time reorienting yourself and entering a stronger period of focus.
  • It's difficult to adjust, and this leads to substantially decreased productivity. To improve:

1. Embrace interruptions. Learn to accept interruptions and avoid giving up through them.

2. Maintain context outside of your head at all times. Always explicitly comment and track what you're doing, teh decisions you're making. etc. Externalizing thoughts can help you clarify them! Every so often, make sure to record these (the author does this at 30 minute intervals).

3. Ignore tangental issues. Focus on the singular current task and don't worry about things that could get you sidetracked! Write those down with a ticket system that's fast, lightweight and agnostic to the amount of detail put into these thoughts. The most important thing to do is to put this idea away until it can be summoned in a future context.

4. Always know of the one thing you will do next.

5. Prioritize negatively :: assume baseline that you will not do any of the tasks, then assess the negative outcomes of not doing each one. Perform the task that will have the most negative outcome first.

6. Recognize the benefits of breaks. Breaks have great benefits, encourage better health, and can offer a new context from which the problem can be tackled!

50 ideas that changed my life


inversion :: avoiding stupidity is easier and better than being brilliant

doublespeak :: saying the opposite of what one means

theory of constraints :: focus on the bottleneck, the weakest point of the system, always.

preference falsification :: lying to conform to the most socially acceptable opinion at the time

mimetic teory of desire: rather than having our own desires, we imitate the desires of others and pursue their ideas

mimetic theory of conflict :: similar = fight left off on 10!

[on automating out of work]

The best work is done when you do it for yourself.

you sign your brains away when you go to work for a big company, and these people will likely be B players -- no matter how many great people they hire.

most A players have more important things to do with their own time. without ownership, there is a high chance that you will not be at your best.

non-technical business :: sometimes daily tasks do not end up driving revenue! the others are driving the revenue, you are maintaining thigns for them. their capacity to define tasks for you may not ever outpace your ability to deliver.

automating yourself out of a job could be a goal, but this doesn't work:

  • system complexity means something can always break!
  • markets rapidly evolve and parts cease to work in the future!

[is self-automation ethical?]

  • automation and the 15 hour work week from keynes
  • though automation continues, humans find ourselves working longer and longer hours -- even though we enjoy benefits from those who use automation and those who owned automated products.
  • Automation still has the power to reduce the amount of boring work we do.
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