Ever notice that it’s much easier to give advice to others than to give advice to yourself?

I have a group of friends from my writing class, and every week we offer each other feedback on our essays. It’s easy to tell other people where their essays could be improved. Something will feel off. I’ll notice friction. It’ll be hard to read even if I’m not sure why. It’s hard to get that feeling when I read my own writing, I’m too close to it.

But as I read more of their essays, gradually those frictions turn into patterns: Oh, they’re doing that thing again. It becomes something I can recognize. Something I can name.

Once I know a pattern, it’s easier to spot myself falling into it. The friction becomes visible, and now I know how to fix it.

I can take my own advice.

What I’m writing

Keeping my side project alive

I wanted to build a camera to monitor my yard and let me know whenever deer or coyotes walked by. But there was a problem. I have a large pile of abandoned side projects, and this one had a high chance of joining them.

This is  a story about how I had to:

  • Be brutally honest with myself about my own motivations
  • Cut down the project to the bare minimum
  • Redesign it to also be useful for any future projects I take on

Read the full story here

What I’m reading

Below are all lessons from The Art of Doing Science and Engineering, a book on learning how to think, disguised as a book on science. It has the most gripping foreword I have ever read. (Never thought I'd use the word “gripping” to describe a foreword)

Sincere Leadership

“Having a vision is what tends to separate the leaders from the followers”

Wanting to be a Leader always felt egotistical to me. But seeing a vision and striving to make it happen?

That's living out your dreams

Developing a Vision

But how do you develop a vision? It requires time spent thinking:

  1. Identify: Think about what could happen in the future
  2. Predict: Narrow it down to what’s likely to happen
  3. Nudge reality towards the best outcome, your vision

Understandability is a feature

In the late 50’s, the language FORTRAN had a competitor specifically designed by mathematicians to be superior, called Algol.

It was superior on many dimensions, except one: people could barely understand it.

FORTRAN was much easier. The rest is history.

What I’m thinking

Why does Word Minting work?

Black Swan, Agile, Mental Models.

Being able to compress a complex idea into a few words makes it much easier to think about, play with, and share. The fewer words you need, the higher the chance someone else will take it and build something on top.

If you give a concept a name, you yourself are more likely to remember it later on.

So, how does Word Minting sound?

Till next week