Posts Tagged With: Improvement

#1 on HN for Six Hours: Postmortem

On Saturday my post on how not to ask questions at a conference was the number one post on the site for a solid six hours, between four and ten PM. Here are some raw stats from the last day.

  • Since the post was submitted, I've gotten 31,787 pageviews to my site; 14,478 in the nine hours between post submission and midnight, and another 15k on Sunday. One post can bring in amazing amounts of traffic, and justify all of the effort you've put into creating quality blog content.

  • In just the last two days I've gotten 50% as much traffic as I did in the whole previous year.

Google Analytics Traffic
Can you tell which days I made the frontpage of Hacker News?

  • Of those pageviews, 30,807 were for the article itself. 414 people visited my homepage (1 in 72 people) and 253 people visited my about page (1 in every 130).

  • 8,142 visits (roughly 27%) came from mobile devices. I am really glad I added a mobile/responsive view for smaller screens earlier this year, as this makes the content much more consumable on a small screen.

  • 69% of mobile visits (18% of the total) came from an iOS device.

  • Roughly 10,000 clicks came from Hacker News and 8,700 came from the Programming subreddit, where my post is still on the frontpage a day and a half later. If your post is doing well on HN, it probably makes sense to submit it to Proggit as well, as there's a large contingent of people that use Proggit exclusively.

  • 1,479 people have clicked on the aggregate link and 97 people have Tweeted the post (roughly 1 in 300).

  • I added 18 Twitter followers (about 1 in every 1800 visitors), bumping my total to 418. I added one new Bitbucket follower and zero new newsletter subscribers.

  • 23 people left comments on the post (about 1 in every 1300). 156 people left comments on Hacker News, off about 10k clicks, and ~160 people left comments on Reddit, off of 9k clicks.

I've posted my "conversion rate" in all cases because I don't feel like it's amazingly high. This is probably the nature of this sort of traffic though; there to read an article and learn something and then move on to the next thing. I suppose if I can reach the frontpage a few times in short succession, people may start to recognize my name and there would be a snowball effect, in terms of the number of people signing up to follow me or posting comments.

I don't have the tools in place at the moment to be able to test my "conversion rates" and see whether they can be improved. All in all though, the low rates at which people are clicking through to other material on my site suggests that I should put any information you'd like readers to know about yourself on the post view page, or in the footer of the post itself.

Liked what you read? I am available for hire.

“The best recommendations have a lot of verbs”

Via Tyler Cowen, an author from the Wall Street Journal interviewed the head of admissions at the Harvard Business School. The whole article is good, but this particular line stood out:

The best recommendations have a lot of verbs. They say, "She did this," versus adjectives that simply describe you.

I remember in 5th grade that we had to write Show Not Tell stories. The idea was to get out of the habit of writing "Kyle is in 3rd grade and he is really kind" - style stories and instead writing "When Joey's mom couldn't pick him up, Kyle walked him all the way home, even though it was two miles in the wrong direction."

I don't know why later teachers dropped the Show Not Tell agenda from the curriculum, but apparently people still write in this style. Maybe recommenders are lazy and it's easier to write "Shannon is a hard worker" than it is to come up with a concrete example. Maybe the recommender doesn't know the student very well, which is discussed in the article, and a problem.

The other possibility is that the person being recommended hasn't done anything interesting. It's easy to tell, because if you have done things, people tend to mention them when they're introducing you to someone, like "This is Jeff. Jeff wrote the entire billing system." You can also tell because the bullet points on your resume will have really bland verbs in them that don't really say anything, like "Developed marketing skills" or "Monitored social analytics tools for Company X".

One day you are going to have to wake up and decide to be Someone that Does Things. The World of Doing can be scary at first because there are lots of things that need to be done and no one is there to tell you how to do them.

So: what verbs to people use to describe you? Which of the versions below would you rather someone used to describe you?

  • "He's really good at finding tips and tricks to save time."

  • "He built a replacement for the school's calendar system and got 550 people to sign up."

  • "She is a really fierce competitor."
  • "She won the regional finals for her team by making free throws and getting a key steal in the final minutes."

  • "She's a hard worker."
  • "She rewrote the website to make it 100% faster, which boosted signups by 50%."

  • "His code is always reliable."
  • "While he was in charge, the API was down for a total of three minutes in two years."

Related: See Be Specific at Less Wrong.

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How not to ask questions at a conference

I went to Pycon last month (my first conference ever!) The conference was totally awesome and I met a lot of cool people. But I was also pretty appalled at the question asking at the end of each talk. Here's some stuff you should keep in mind before you ask a question at a conference.

  • Ask questions that you believe would be relevant to at least a third of the people in the room. Otherwise, avoid the temptation to show off your specialized knowledge to the room and just ask the speaker afterwards. Most of them are approachable on Twitter, email, or just in the hallways.

  • Ask only one question. If you have more than one question, pick the best and ask the other one in private later. Or ask your first question and then go to the back of the line. Other people have questions to ask as well and may not get to ask one.

  • Avoid buzzword bingo. It feels like lots of people walk up to the microphone just so the room can hear them mention some buzzword that indicates they know something about the topic. If I am running a Scrum team should I use Soak testing? How does Node.js influence the development of the PyPy project? If you wouldn't ask the question without a room full of people present, then don't ask.

  • Ask a question, don't make a comment. Talk time is for the speaker to be the expert, not you. Write up your comment as a blog post and post it for everyone to read later.

  • Be brief. After a talk, time is precious and many people may have questions for the speaker, so don't ramble about how nice it is to finally see the speaker in person, or how enlightening the talk is, even if those things are true. It's a matter of courtesy to everyone else in the room.

There is an easy solution to bad questions that no one has bothered to implement yet. Have people submit questions anonymously and have the speaker or a moderator choose which ones to answer, or have the room vote using a tool like Google Moderator. This will solve the problem of the question asker-bragger asking a trivial question.

The other solution is to charge money to ask a question, which could go to whatever cause you want. If enough people in the room have the same question they can contribute to the fee to ask the question and have it asked.

Update: There's some good discussion on Hacker News. "If the question you're asking makes you look smart, there's a good chance you're being a douchebag."

Also my friend Alan Shreve wants to know if it's appropriate to push back if the speaker dodges your question.

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The consulting blog post series

Inspired by a great post on why college students choose consulting I decided to re-post my series of posts on consulting, written in 2008 when I was considering a career in consulting. I was also looking to write a more focused series of blog posts so a blog on consulting was a good fit. Not knowing anything about consulting at the time, I also thought it would help me get a consulting job. Ultimately I decided not to do consulting and doing the blog was part of the reason why.

I looked at why people hire consultants, whether consultants actually have value, why it's a good decision for you personally. Here's the full list of posts:

  • Why consulting?

    Information transfers slowly; despite what economists say, firms aren't efficient and lots of times they can do things better. Consultants have expertise about how to improve management and become more efficient, and when this knowledge is shared/diffused to companies, everyone is better off.
  • The evidence for evidence-based management

    The authors use evidence, and numerous case studies, to explain that financial incentive plans often don't work, developing a comprehensive long-term strategy isn't that important, most mergers only work under certain specific circumstances, and company culture can be more important than hiring the best workers. In each of these cases, studies have shown that the conventional wisdom is often wrong, and companies, schools or hospitals that implement evidence-based programs do better than those who don't.
  • A disastrous tale from a young BCG consultant

    I got the feeling that our clients were simply trying to mimic successful businesses, and that as consultants, our earnings came from having the luck of being included in an elaborate cargo-cult ritual.
  • What skills should you learn for a career in consulting?

    A lot of your job as a consultant is selling your services and acting knowledgeable. Many people are stuck in Dilbert-like situations and will look at you as a knight in shining armor. For this you’re going to need to be friendly, personable, and high status; you’re going to need to sell yourself as an Answer Guy.
  • Is it true that to do the best work, you need to hire the best people?

    As Bob Sutton and Jeffrey Pfeffer point out, it’s a myth that the best companies are best because they have the best people. Usually the best companies have great systems that bring out the best in people.
  • Save the planet by hiring better managers

    A one standard-deviation increase in management correlates with a 38 percent increase in sales per employee...smaller firms with better management out-grow other small firms with bad management...better management is associated with improved health care outcomes, employee satisfaction, and energy efficiency...Managers are not well informed about how good their own management practices are and which areas need improvement.

    Another experiment by the same group took a random group of textile firms in India and provided them with free management consulting. Not only did performance grow in the firms provided the consulting, but they also said the reason that they didn't implement the changes sooner was because they were not aware of good management practices.

  • Why firms don't experiment

    I've often tried to help companies do experiments, and usually I fail spectacularly. I remember one company that was having trouble getting its bonuses right. I suggested they do some experiments, or at least a survey. The HR staff said no, it was a miserable time in the company. Everyone was unhappy, and management didn't want to add to the trouble by messing with people’s bonuses merely for the sake of learning.

  • What's the downside to hiring a consulting firm?

    There’s a selection bias at’s likely that consultants provide firms with value in excess of the costs of hiring them. Smart firms realize this, and want to hire consultants. But because they’re smart firms, they’re probably ahead of the curve and consultants can only provide them with limited amounts of profitable advice. The firms that need consultants the most are unlikely to hire them.
  • Why do firms hire consultants?

    Consulting firms can reliably signal authority and intelligence; bosses may hire consultants to confirm that they’re correct. To cite one recent example, the US Postal Service hired two consulting firms so that they could go to Congress and implement a restructuring plan.
  • There's hope for consulting

    I have seen some serious analytical firepower (maybe not always with quite the rigor of an academic paper but for sure at several orders of magnitude the pace those are developed at) being thrown at what originally seemed like simple problems – generally things turn out to be neither simple nor elegant in the end. The art of the trade is to come up with a coherent story in light of that.

Liked what you read? I am available for hire.

Is it true that to do the best work, you need to hire the best people?

I’ve read a few posts by prominent Silicon Valley people that say this.

Here’s a quote about hiring from Slava Akhmechet at RethinkDB:

I look to Bell Labs for inspiration. At its peak, the folks at Bell Labs developed radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, information theory, the C programming language, and the UNIX operating system. These are the kinds of people you should be trying to hire. Think Dennis Ritchie before he developed the C language. Think Claude Shannon before he invented information theory. When in doubt, ask yourself: “would this person have been good enough to be hired for a junior position at Bell Labs during its peak?” If the answer isn’t a resounding yes, it’s a No Hire.

Joel Spolsky also stresses the importance of hiring good people. Similarly, HR consultants often stress the importance of hiring only the best. As the Boston Consulting Group puts it, A players hire other A players, B players hire C players and C players hire F’s. Are they right to focus so much attention on hiring only outstanding people?

It’s clear that if you are trying to sort through an applicant pool, you need to get the best possible sense of what an applicant will look like once they’re hired. It’s not good to make mistakes in your interviews, or fail to interview candidates thoroughly enough. Two, it’s possible that people will be biased toward hiring too low quality employees, and emphasizing hiring good people will help HR raise hiring standards.

It’s also true that in a startup, any one individual has a much greater effect on the final shape of the company than at Wells Fargo. So startups and small firms might be right to exercise lots of caution in hiring. Furthermore, the best programmers can be five times as productive as average programmers.

But as Bob Sutton and Jeffrey Pfeffer point out, it’s a myth that the best companies are best because they have the best people. Usually the best companies have great systems that bring out the best in people.

Take a look at urban poor schools that dramatically outperform their peers and even richer schools, like the KIPP schools, or Jaime Escalante’s calculus program, which brought a bunch of kids from inner city LA through Calc BC and sent many onto the nation’s most prestigious colleges. Where so many others have seen kids who were unwilling to learn, they have succeeded and turned ordinary street kids into superstars. Escalante and KIPP don’t have the luxury of hiring the best people, like Philips Exeter, Wharton, or RethinkDB. Instead they built a great system that brings out the best in their students, which is far more impressive than doing great things with people who are already great.

Another example is Toyota, which has such a great production system that the upper management’s role is largely to simply support the system. Sutton and Pfeffer write, “One study showed that Toyota was the only major automobile company where a change in CEO had no effect on performance. The system is so robust that changing CEOs at Toyota is a lot like changing lightbulbs; there is little noticeable effect between the old one and the new one.

The supply of talented people isn’t fixed. Furthermore, our ability to measure talent is limited at best; people have off days, or bloom late, like Kurt Warner, for example.

Furthermore, if you’re a firm that can’t afford to hire the top 10%, implying to your staff that their ability level is fixed would be disastrous. As Columbia University researcher Carol Dweck has shown, mindset is extremely important; people who believe intelligence is fixed become worried about hiding their true level of cleverness, where those who believe it’s malleable work on their skills and continuously improve. If your staff became too enamored of the first mindset, they wouldn’t be doing their best work.

In summary, bad systems are more damaging than bad people, and good systems can turn average workers into stars. Like anything else, hiring workers has tradeoffs; with the best staff come long periods of unfilled positions, increased search costs, and high salary, etc. The importance of hiring “only the best” is probably overstated; clearly hiring good staff is important but it may not be crucial.

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Can you skip work tomorrow?

Sometimes my friends ask this. I tell them "I can, but I probably won't."

The tech industry is an enlightened industry. Generally, employees are treated like adults and allowed to organize their days in a way that's productive for them. I usually wake up without an alarm, around 8:30 or 9, and I watch Liverpool games at the office if they're playing during the week. So if you ask me if I have to work tomorrow, the answer is No, I can take off work whenever I want. Another company that does this is Netflix, who lets its employees take as much vacation time as they want.

There's a flip side to this, of course, the reason that I usually show up for work instead of lounging around home in my PJ's watching Friday Night Lights. If I took enough days off work, eventually I'd develop a reputation as someone who didn't ship code. And maybe if someone else in the company wanted work done right, they'd turn to someone else instead. That's not a reputation that I want attached to my name.

It's not all stick, however. I also like showing up for work, making Twilio better and building an experience our users will be delighted with. And part of the reason I like it so much is because our company makes it a lot of fun.

So yes I watch soccer at work and have a beer at the end of the day and go on vacation a lot. But I also put in a lot of work; one day last week I showed up at ten, went home at seven and kept working until one. So I can take off work tomorrow if I want, but I probably won't.

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Why I quit Facebook

I've fought with Facebook for a long time. But I've quit for good now. Here are some reasons why I'm happy I don't have one:

  • I don't have to worry about embarrassing photos later becoming public. I also don't have to worry about accidentally setting the wrong privacy settings or sharing things with the world that I probably shouldn't.

  • I don't have to worry about Facebook selling my browser history. A short detour for the non-technical audience:

    • When you type in your username and password on a site, the site stores a small file on your computer, known as a cookie. 99% of sites on the Internet do this.
    • Then each time you load a new page on a site, your computer sends the cookie to the website as proof that you are you. This way you don't have to enter in your username and password every time you load a new page.

    Now here's what happens when you are logged in to Facebook, and you visit a page with a Like button:

    • Your computer requests the "Like" button content from Facebook. This means that your computer is sending your Facebook cookie to the Facebook servers.

    • Facebook reads your data from the cookie, and makes an entry in its database with your name, the time and the page you visited. It pulls up a list of your friends that have "Liked" the same page.

    • Over time, they can use this information to establish a comprehensive history of your browsing habits.

    Before, I used to only open Facebook in a single-site browser called Fluid, so it wouldn't be able to tie my browsing history to my account (I do the same for Google as well). As it turns out this isn't good enough; they log your IP address when you request a Like button and use it to build a profile of your activity. It's for this reason that and are blocked in my /etc/hosts file.

  • I have ten extra minutes every day.

  • I won't ever remark out loud about someone's funny status or comment. When you don't have an online social network, these comments sound inane.

  • I can avoid zeroes more effectively. I noticed that my Facebook social graph bore little resemblance to my real life social graph; even though I was Facebook friends with my real life friends, we barely interacted on the site. Instead I got a steady stream of updates from people I cared little about. Furthermore, most of the people who added me as a friend were people that I didn't want to hang out with.

    I tried to mitigate this by imposing a strict 150-friend limit. But people would get pissed off that I wouldn't accept their friend request. Because I wasn't interacting with my friends very much on Facebook to begin with, my social life hasn't suffered in its absence.

  • I don't get jealous any more. The number one reason guys have a Facebook is to look at pictures of girls. But every time I looked at pictures of girls I met I would get reminded of how much time I wasn't spending with them. I'd assume the worst in every scenario and talk myself out of pursuing people that were interested in me. In this case being oblivious is actually a benefit.

    The photos people post on Facebook are unrealistic versions of their real lives. As an example, here are my last four Facebook photo albums:

    • Me in South Africa
    • Me in India
    • Me in Scotland
    • Me in China

    Generally you don't see albums titled "The night I was too anxious about social interaction to get off my couch" or "The night Ted got so blasted he peed in someone's laundry, then cheated on his girlfriend". This means that unless you're really careful you are going to wonder why your life is so messed up when everyone else is doing great.

  • When you want to share a message with someone you could send them a private message. When you post on their Wall, it's no longer a message for that person - it's a signal to everyone else. To me, this is insincere and I always felt posts to my Wall were a little fake. By canceling my account I'm telling people about the signals I'd rather send and receive - private messages from the sender to the recipient.

That said, there is one feature of Facebook I miss - apparently people like using it to organize events. But that's not enough of a reason to keep my account.

Liked what you read? I am available for hire.

Ten tips to help you stop worrying about shit that doesn’t matter

There's a pretty short list of things that I like doing: learning new tricks, reading, hanging out with friends, and making beautiful things. On top of that, I've been trying lately to actually follow through on everything I say I am going to do, a sort of five nines for my personal life, that's extraordinarily difficult to stay on top of. I work pretty hard to keep everything else out of the way. Here are a few of the tricks I use to avoid things that I don't want to do.

  • Depositing checks: I mail my checks directly to Ally Bank. Total time: about two minutes, plus the cost of a stamp. This is way cheaper than driving to a bank and waiting in line.

  • Finding my bank's ATM: I can go to any ATM and Ally Bank will reimburse me for the fees at the end of the month. This is especially handy in Vegas :).

  • Waiting on hold with customer service: The ideal solution is to use products that don't require customer service, but for those that do I use LucyPhone. Then I can hang up the call, and they'll dial me when someone's on the line. I use GetHuman to try and get to a human being as fast as possible.

  • Finding answers to my random questions: The StackExchange series of sites are wonderful. Most of the time my question already has an answer, but when it doesn't I can usually get one, as long as I take time to ask the question in a coherent way. Failing that, I use Quora, but my results there have been mixed.

  • Keeping my devices charged: I keep chargers everywhere - in the car, at work, at home, in my laptop bag. I never have to think about remembering to bring my charger, because I always have one. Same goes with monitor adapters and toiletries.

  • Finding new music: I have two really good friends that find good music and mooch off of them. I mostly download remixes from Youtube; they aren't listed in Spotify or iTunes or anywhere. If there was a good easy solution to buy I would consider it. When I'm out I use Shazam to get song names.

  • Focusing on the people around me, when I'm on the town: I have a $10 phone I got from Ebay, and another one in my drawer in case it breaks. You may recognize it - a lot of people tell me it was the first cell phone they ever had. I like it because I know how to use it, and it doesn't come loaded with a whole bunch of Verizon junk. I buy minutes from Page Plus; I get 1,000 minutes for $50 and this lasts me about three months.

    I also have an iPod Touch that I use as a smartphone when I'm on a wireless network, which practically speaking is every place that's not a bar or a club.

  • Figuring out what I'm going to do on the weekend: My friends are great planners, so I usually go out with them. I'm lucky too that I have different groups of friends from middle school, high school, college and work, so I can choose what I'm going to do on a given night.

  • Commuting: My commute is 25 minutes door-to-door, which is about as short as it's going to get on public transit in SF. Driving in the city is extraordinarily stressful, so I don't do it. The public transit is generally great.

  • Finding information when I'm out, making restaurant reservations, other assorted tasks: I call Visa Concierge for things that are synchronous, like finding nearby restaurants, movie times or bus routes. I use Timesvr to automate some of the tedious things that have to get done.

  • Doing laundry: I don't really have a good solution for this yet, but I'd gladly pay to avoid having to drag clothes to a laundromat. I keep about a month's worth of underwear, undershirts and socks.

  • Buying clothes: As a rule of thumb, I don't.

  • Window management, and other repetitive computer tasks: I gladly pay for software and hardware that saves me time. Examples: Divvy, Witch, Skitch, TextExpander, 1Password, external monitors, and Peepcode tutorials.

A lot of this stuff is somewhat expensive; I'm lucky I have a job where I can afford to offload a lot of this stuff.

I would pay even more if good solutions existed for other problems in my life. I need to find a new dentist, and someone to get my eyes checked, but don't want to spend time finding someone good. I'd also like someone to manage some finance, healthcare, and server administration things - submit expense reports, transfer money between bank accounts according to certain rules, move all my domains to the same host and domain registrar, but it's hard finding someone I trust to do that at a reasonable price.

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Your company needs a URL shortener

tl;dr Every company needs an internal URL shortener. Your new employees will thank you later.

You just started your new job, and you've got a million things to learn about, but never enough time to do them all. You want to sign up for a massage to take some of the stress off. But where do you sign up for massages? You can bug a coworker for the URL but they're busy too, and you're already bugging them 20 times a day about more important stuff. Alternately, you could search through the poorly documented company wiki. The page you find is probably out of date, but no one will tell you that the massage page moved 6 months ago.

The third option, and by far the best, is to punch massage into your company's URL shortener and get taken straight to the massage page. Once you've done this a few times and gotten success, you'll realize the power of it. And if you try the shortener and don't get any results, you get a form asking you to add the URL you do find, for the next new person who might come along. This is so helpful; you don't have to bookmark useful pages when you find them, or search through your history to find that really useful Perforce setup tutorial you only got halfway through.

Instead the URL shortener takes care of all of it. At Google you just type go/ followed by the name of whatever you're looking for, like go/massage or go/coffeescript. Curious about what the Google+ team is working on? Type in go/emeraldsea. If you don't get what you're looking for, you add it for the next person. This way Google's spaghetti mess of internal wiki software becomes manageable, and good resources never go missing. Another benefit is people can share links on ads and in talks very easily - just tell people the shortcut URL, which they're much more likely to remember than a full URL.

So stop worrying about keeping your website organized and get a URL shortener. If your documentation becomes deprecated, just make a new page and update the shortlink. It's not very hard to set up and it will help your new employees get up to speed faster.

To ensure you have no excuse, I wrote a minimum viable URL shortener over the last two nights. Check it out and contribute features. I hope your company will experience enlightenment soon.

Liked what you read? I am available for hire.

Taking pride in the things you do

  • For the third time in ten minutes, I was jolted forward in my car seat. "Mom, stop braking so hard," I said. She didn't take it well. "Kevin, I've been driving for thirty years. I know how to drive."
  • Jason and I were wiping down the whiteboard at work. It's an old white board, so markers leave a dirty trail. After ten minutes of wiping, my side had streak marks and smudges I couldn't get rid of. Jason's half of the board was a perfect, flawless white. I'd just gotten my butt kicked in wiping a dry erase board. Humbled, I asked Jason for his secret. He showed me: you take two sheets of paper towel and fold that into quarters. Spray the board liberally, wipe one time all the way across horizontally, then flip it over to get a good grip. Then wipe down in hard, straight lines (not circular).
  • "Wow, this is much easier," I thought. I was carrying a heavy box over my shoulder. For the last twenty-two years I'd been lugging around heavy things below my waist, awkwardly holding it against my leg as I walked. Then the other day I thought, "Wouldn't this be so much easier if I could walk properly?" So I began lifting things higher, holding them near my chest or on my shoulders. I'm sure this has been "discovered" over and over again, but it was a revelation for me. I saw the method behind the madness of Indian railway porters.

The thread running through these vignettes is the idea that everything you do has technique involved. Even tasks that people think of as being really easy, tasks that take seven seconds, like tying your shoes, or jobs that command seven dollars an hour.

Marissa Mayer, who's now a top executive at Google, worked as a grocery clerk in high school. No one expects greatness from high school grocery baggers. But Mayer was determined to do a good job. Listen to her description of the art of grocery bagging:

"I learned a lot about work ethic from people who had been there for 20 years," she said. "They could do 40 items a minute over an eight-hour shift. I was pretty routinely in the 38-to-41 range. I was pretty happy about that. I have a good memory for numbers. At the grocery store, you have to remember to charge $4.99 a pound for grapes and 99 cents a pound for cantaloupe by typing in a number code. The more numbers you could memorize, the better off you are. If you had to stop to look up a price in a book, it totally killed your average."

We do basketball drills at camp, but a lot of the value comes from teaching kids to start pride in what they do, and focus on the technique underlying a successful shot, or a particularly tough dribbling drill. A lot of kids are content to just go through the motions; they aren't thinking about what they're doing and whether they could be doing it better. I don't blame them for going through the motions; it's likely no one taught them how to think about technique and continual improvement.

Other kids hit a plateau trap - they reach some level of skill, say "I'm good enough at this skill" and they stop trying to get better. This one is particularly deadly. Because there are a lot of hungry people out there that are focusing on their technique, improving it, and it might not happen today, but eventually they'll eat your lunch.

I'm never going to compete with any one in a "who can tie their shoes better" competition, or a box lifting technique competition. But I take pride in the things I do and in giving everything my best effort. Even on simple tasks I can derive satisfaction from a job well done and hopefully time and stress saved versus doing it badly. And that has to be enough.

Liked what you read? I am available for hire.