Last week I said that I'm taking an online writing class called Write of Passage. What made me sign up for it?

Well, I read a lot. I mean a LOT. Like, the-librarian-knows-me-by-name a lot. But often the fascinating stuff I'd learn would trickle out of my brain by the next day hour.

Then I discovered something which kept those ideas fresh: Writing them down

When I wrote them down, the ideas were not only easier to remember but I was also forced think about them more deeply: "I believe A because B is true....wait, am I sure B is actually true?"

As I wrote them down, it seemed a shame to keep 'em locked away to myself. So I'm expanding the scope of this newsletter

But isn't everything already on the internet? There's a funny thing about information:

"Most secrets about how the world works aren’t secrets, they’re just knowledge unevenly distributed." --Patrick McKenzie

Here's to playing a tiny part in distributing knowledge a little more evenly.

Each week I'll be sharing:

  • A personal update, usually related stuff I'm thinking about
  • What I'm writing
  • The best of what I'm reading and the key takeaways

Here are the tidbits of the week

What I'm Writing

What's it like as a Senior Engineer?

Lessons I've learnt over the past 11 years working at Google, Microsoft, and Stripe

When I started working at Microsoft, fresh out of college, coding was my life. Writing code was the easiest way to build any cool thing I imagined.  When I considered what I’d want to do for the rest of my life, I thought I'd just keep coding.

But soon writing code became a minor part of the job.

Ever built something no one used? I have. It sucked. At the senior levels most of your time goes into identifying what needs to be built and how to build it. You have to research what the problem looks like. You talk to others and get everyone to agree on what needs to be done...

Click here to read the full article

What I'm Reading

The Room Where it Happens

How do people get into the room where all the big decisions are made?To get in the room you need to:

  • Bring some unique expertise...
  • That people in the room don't already have
  • And a sponsor willing to risk their reputation on you

But staying in the room requires different skills

The Psychology of Gamification

This was a slide deck on making apps feel like games, but it contained fascinating insights on motivation:

  • People enjoy mastering new skills
  • Mastery is easiest when you learn just one thing at a time
  • Shorter term goals are more motivating
  • Rapid feedback loops are addictive

The Ultimate Guide for Becoming and Idea Machine

Want to become more creative? Try spending 10 minutes each day coming up with ten ideas on some prompt.

Don't worry about those being good ideas, just put something down. If it takes you more than 10 minutes to write ten ideas, then write down twenty ideas instead. Why? The goal is to stop your brain from filtering out ideas you think are "bad". This exercise unlocks the creativity we all had as kids. It's still there, somewhere deep inside us.

I've been doing this exercise for a few months now and have really noticed the difference.

What I'm thinking

It's useful to dissect just why something piqued your interest. Hone in on exactly what it was you liked about it. There's often a fascinating insight hiding there which you might have not noticed otherwise.

This insight helped get me unstuck on an article I'm writing right now. You'll see that one next week 🙂

So what about you? Did you start your own Covid project perhaps? Reply back and let me know, I'd love to hear what you're up to.

Till next week