work

Burning candle behind your head

That moment where you’ve been working on something really hard at your desk, you solve it, then lean back, swivel your chair to the side, put your feet up on the desk in celebration, and then realize there’s a burning candle behind your head.

=:o

IQ is not EQ

One of the things you have to remember when working with human beings is that IQ is not the same as EQ, and they’re rarely equal. Some people have a horrible temper. One guy I know is smart, but he remains the biggest jerk I’ve ever met.

I remember hearing one time that when people are hurt in their childhood or teen years they stop developing emotionally at that point. So if they are somehow hurt when they are twelve years old, they can be thirty years old physically but only twelve emotionally. I don’t know if that’s 100% true, but it seems like it in some cases I know. (And the hard thing is that these people don’t know that they have these problems.)

Do that thing that will charm you

“Do that thing that will charm you, that will make you say, ‘Yes, it’s the real me.’ Do that, and you’re alive.”

Accepting the “just this” of a situation

When I first started learning Zen I didn’t understand the quote shown in this image, and I truly was a carpet to walk on. Then I woke up and thought, “You need to run your business. You need to find the middle way between accepting ‘just this’ and what you need to do to be successful at work.”

It would have been helpful if I had seen this quote then, but I didn’t know of Zen Master Seung Sahn at that time. This quote comes from one his books, either Only Don’t Know, or Dropping Ashes on the Buddha.

My preferred writing environment

When working from home, my preferred writing environment is to use a huge fixed-width font on a large monitor with a matte finish, and nothing else on the screen. I write my text using either Markdown or LaTeX, depending on what the output format is going to be. (Yoda and Meditating Guy make me feel a little less crazy when I’m talking to myself.)

How to design products you’ll love

Introduction: Recently I was talking with some people recently about “design”, and as an effort to show how the design process works, I used the process of designing a coffee mug as a way of explaining the process. This article walks you through this process, though the actual designs are up to you.

Try, try again

The plan for Wednesday was to work on the Scala/FP book, but if you could see that I’m writing this entry at 12:15am on Thursday, you could guess that Wednesday was a bad health day (meaning that I slept most of Wednesday and I’m awake now).

The thing I’ve learned from this illness is that on the healthy days you have to do the things that make you happy. In an ideal world I would live next to the friends and family that make me happy, I would get to see my nieces grow up, and in my world we’d all live in Alaska, but this isn’t that world.

Back to my point about the Scala/FP book: the thing I have to do is try again tomorrow (today, actually). I may be too sick again then, who knows, but writing is something that makes me happy, so that’s what I’ll do, try again. And if there’s another setback, then I’ll try again after that. I know Yoda said “there is no try,” but in the end, he’s just a muppet, a character in a movie, and he was wrong. In the end, all there is is ‘try.’

You can tell when people love their work

You can tell when people love their work by seeing the quality of the products they produce. What I’m thinking about at this moment is that whoever controls MLB.tv does not love their work, because if they did they would certainly make better UI/UX decisions. If they really cared about the product, they would let you easily fast-forward and rewind; mobile navigation would let you go directly to a specific inning; and on all platforms it would be extremely helpful if you could skip from one at-bat to the next.

Beyond those basics, anyone who loves baseball would like an easy way to watch all of the at-bats of their favorite batters. For example, when I’m really pressed for personal time I’d like to be able to watch all of Kris Bryant’s at bats.

A terrific feature would be to be able to watch recorded games without all of the delays and downtime that is involved in a baseball game. A full game can easily take two and half hours (or more) to watch, but there’s actually only about 20-30 minutes of real action, so if you’re watching a recorded game, why not be able to skip all that wasted time?

Those are just a few obvious ideas, where again the point of this little post/rant is that whoever is creating the MLB.tv apps doesn’t love their work (IMHO).

I should add that another possibility in this specific case — because they have a monopoly — is that it may not be the product manager or developers who don’t love their work. It may be that their organization is holding them down. But personally, while I’ve worked with some organizations that make it hard to produce great work, there’s almost always a way of getting things done.