Archive | December 2009

Just read “What matters now”

I was planning to spend this morning working on a talk I’m giving in January, but as I skimmed through my RSS reader, I saw that Seth Godin just put together a book containing the ideas of several dozen insightful thinkers, so I decided to read this instead. It’s a free e-book called “What Matters Now”. You can find it here.

As I was reading through this, I remembered coming across many of these people in other contexts. I bought Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art” at Powell’s Books in Portland. I first saw Hugh MacLeod’s work at changethis.com in an e-book called “How to Be Creative“. Some of their ideas are new (to me), a few summarize books or posts, some express what’s been learned over a career, others offer an opinion or a key insight.

One of the overarching themes of the project is that if you give something of value to the community or the world, you’ll get more back. If you’re someone like Seth Godin, this will come easily to you. For everyone else, I think it’s more of a challenge. I like Steven Pressfield’s comment here:

“I must confess that so far the only part I’ve mastered is giving it away.”

I haven’t really tried this yet. But I will now. I think I’ll start by putting my talk up on SlideShare. I’ll let you know where it is when I’m done.

BTW: If you’re in Silicon Valley on January 7, and would like to see my “value-based scheduling” talk, I’d be happy to meet you!

I decided not to work today

For some time, I’ve been working every day whenever I had the chance. Today, I decided that I wouldn’t work at all (well, I did work for 25 minutes this morning, but I committed to not working after that :-)).

The last time I had to take a break like this was the last time I had to go through this particular module in my app’s code. It’s the heart of our application and our differentiating technology–and every time I have to go back in, it makes my head hurt.

I’ve always had mixed feelings about this code. On the one hand, as I look through it, I’m reminded of how difficult it would be for someone to copy what we’ve done. It’s a deceptively simple problem that has gone unsolved until now. On the other hand, I’m disappointed in how difficult it’s been to code this up so it can be easily understood. I begin to suspect that this is one of those things that can’t be made simple.

In any case, I’ve decided to spend today without my laptop (I’m typing this up on my phone) and without looking at any code. I’m going to finish up this post, read some articles, and then head off early to bed.

Tomorrow, I’ll head into the code again. Hopefully, this will be the last time I have to do any significant coding here–after all, I still need to figure out how to sell this thing.

Maybe in my next post I’ll talk about my attempts at setting up meetings, getting product feedback, and getting people to give our product a try. If there’s anything you’re particularly interested in hearing about, feel free to leave a comment!