learn

Don’t objectify me (on writing and writing style)

Sometimes people write to tell me that they like my writing style, that I’m good at explaining things. Other people write and say that if they wrote a book, they would have written it just like mine.

The truth is, when I first started working with Scala I fell in love with the language, so wanting to write about it was easy. After that, I’m not that smart, so I have to break complex things down so I can understand them myself. So I think that by breaking things down and looking for meaningful examples, people seem to appreciate what I’ve written (or I hope they do).

After I wrote the Scala Cookbook and people sent me notes like that, I struggled with writing for a little while. Then I decided to just try to write for a younger version of myself and ignore what other people were saying. I just ask myself, “Would this have helped Al two years ago?” Since then I’ve been fine.

If you could give one tip for reaching heights in tech today, what would it be?

When asked, “If you could give one tip for reaching heights in tech today, what would it be?”, this was the initial response from Jonas Bonér, creator of Akka:

  • Work hard at minimizing your ego & attachment to identity
  • Learn deliberately, seek out weaknesses & work hard at them
  • Eliminate bad habits, replace them with good, one at a time
  • Read a lot, foundational stuff, not just latest hyped thing

Warren Buffett has become a lot better investor since the day I met him

“Warren Buffett has become one hell of a lot better investor since the day I met him, and so have I. If we had been frozen at any given stage with the knowledge we had, the record would have been much worse than it is today. So the game is to keep learning, and I don’t think people are going to keep learning who don’t like the learning process. You need to like the learning process.”

This is another quote by Charlie Munger. It reminds me both of working on good programming teams, but also of learning from people that I haven’t enjoyed working with, but learned things from.

You process things a little better when you put pen to paper.

“You process things a little better when you put pen to paper.”

~ Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos QB on something he learned from Peyton Manning (and something a professor told me in college many years ago)

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

The two things I learned in college

“The discipline of Zen consists in upsetting this groundwork once and for all, and reconstructing the old frame on an entirely new basis.”

D.T. Suzuki

I was talking to a friend the other day about what I learned in college, and I came to the conclusion that I learned two major things.