Wrote, Read, Listened, Watched #005 Nov 2017
Habits are important. Some habits, few habits, are surprisingly easy to form. In these rare cases, akrasia is distant, repetition is effortless, and you can’t wait for the next time you can repeat the behavior to which you’re committed. You’re motivated by the satisfaction you receive by the doing of the behavior, less the having done it.
One such habit for me is meditation. Another is exercise. I look forward to both of them. At times, I crave them. And this feeling began long before the 28-day trial required to form a habit.
Other habits, most habits, are difficult to form.
This post marks the initiation of a difficult habit I’d like to earn: writing publicly, consistently.
Writing publicly is challenging for reasons unique from those that make writing consistently difficult. Together, the two qualities of writing – consistency and publicity – pose a formidable test for me. This initiation will surely be the easiest step.
For now, my weekly writing will follow a simple structure consisting of four sections:
Wrote: The first section, which will include at least one post I’ve written over the past week. For now, the name of the piece will replace the section header ‘Wrote.’
Read: The most interesting section for the foreseeable future, which will highlight select media I’ve read over the course of the previous week and include either a quote from the article or my question, comment, summary, or reply.
Watched: The most entertaining section for the lifespan of this project. It will include notable video I’ve watched over the course of the previous week.
Listened: My favorite section. I love music; I love to dance; and I’d love to make you a playlist (just ask). This section will include select songs I’ve felt over the last week.
You will find the remaining sections below.
Thanks for reading.
How Do Individual Contributors Get Stuck?
There are a common set of conditions within which people tend to get stuck, sidetracked, or sloppy. It’s helpful to know your sticking points and those of the people you rely on, and this article does a good job labeling them.
Stress Is Fear
Stress is a dangerous euphemism for fear. Describing oneself as stressed instead of afraid makes it more difficult to locate the cause of fear, allow the fear to be felt, and then put fear into perspective – our nervous system might respond to someone ignoring temporarily us in exactly the same way it would if a significant other were to walk out of our lives, despite the difference in significance.
Asking yourself, ‘what am I afraid of, and why?’ is very different from claiming, ‘I’m just stressed.’ The former is orienting and opens the door to a more productive set of answers.
The researchers then wondered what would happen if they manipulated the rankings. In a follow-up experiment, some sites displayed the true download counts and others showed inverted rankings, where the least-popular song was listed in the No. 1 spot. The inverted rankings changed everything: previously ignored songs soared in popularity, and previously popular songs were ignored. Simply believing, even wrongly, that a song was popular made participants more likely to download it.
Great Development Teams Have a Culture of Discipline
Discipline is a core feature of any great team and its people, and that’s worth repeating.
Filters vs. Facets: Definitions
‘What exactly is the difference between a filter and a facet?’ I wondered. Filters are broad dimensions used for narrowing search results. A music streaming site, might use top-level genres as filters: rock, classical, hip hop, and country. A DJ with more precise needs might expect facets within each top-level genre (filter) to find exactly what they’re looking for quickly: has female vocals; date: 1980-1985; record label: Nervous Records; genre: electronic > deep house.
The Bus Factor is an indicator of how scarce important information is on your team. The less shared the information, the lower your Bus Factor and the more likely a team departure will have a material impact on your organization’s operations.
For example, let’s imagine Alice is your designer and the only person with access to her work. If she were to get hit by a bus, the organization would lose all of its creative assets. This is a bus factor of one.
If, however, Alice had a shared repository of her work with three other team-members, the Bus Factor increases to 3 – meaning three people would need to be hit by a bus in order to lose all creative assets.
Escaping E-mail Hell
Brevity provides clarity. I like compendious communication.
Marcelo Garcia vs. Xande Ribeiro Brazilian Jiu Jitsu master Marcelo Garcia shows off a resilient rear mount against Xande Ribeiro in Abu Dhabi Combat Club’s 2003 Championship.
Small vs. Big User Studies — What’s Best?
The incremental return on adding tens and hundreds of users to any given study diminishes quickly. Better to run 30 tests with 3 users per test than 3 tests with 100 users per test.