Developing Perspective

#124: Fear and Learning.


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective, developing perspective is a podcast discussing

00:00:04   news of note and iOS development, Apple and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm

00:00:08   an independent iOS and Mac developer based in Heard, Virginia. This is show number 124

00:00:13   and today is Friday, May 10th, 2013. Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes,

00:00:18   so let's get started.

00:00:19   All right, so I'm going to, before I get into the main topic for today, I'm going to talk

00:00:23   a little bit about, I just wanted to remind you everybody about, especially if you're

00:00:26   going to WWDC in a couple weeks, or even if you're not, but you

00:00:30   have no people who are or so on, this is a great time to be

00:00:33   starting to think about things that you would have questions

00:00:35   for when you go to the labs, when you have access to Apple's

00:00:38   engineers, when you have those kinds of people around and

00:00:40   available. I always find that when I get to WWDC, and I go to

00:00:44   the lab, it's always difficult to actually think of all the

00:00:47   things that would have been useful, helpful to kind of walk

00:00:49   through with somebody to talk to someone about. And if I'm not

00:00:52   prepared for that ahead of time, so this is the kind of time that

00:00:54   it's good to sort of take a post-it note and stick it next to your computer. Every time

00:00:58   you think of something, you encounter something over the next couple of weeks, write it down

00:01:02   so that when you actually get there or when you know somebody who's going, you can take

00:01:06   your question with them. They can engage with that for you rather than showing up unprepared

00:01:11   and realizing that you don't really know what to ask, you don't really have anything to

00:01:14   say, you just kind of end up waffling around. So that's just a little tip or a hint that

00:01:18   I found very helpful in the past.

00:01:19   All right, so I'm going to get into the main topic for today.

00:01:23   And today, I'm going to--this is a far less technical talk.

00:01:27   I think it's much more, I guess, sort of emotional or relational or whatever.

00:01:33   And it's just--as a disclaimer, I figured I'd let you know that upfront.

00:01:36   But essentially, I'm going to be talking a little bit about fear.

00:01:40   And this is something that has, you know, been on my mind since launching TheaterAngler

00:01:44   a couple--this was last week, gosh, if it feels like it's been forever.

00:01:48   but just last week when I launched feed wrangler.

00:01:50   And it's something that happens,

00:01:51   it's a process that I feel like I go through

00:01:54   every time I watch something new.

00:01:56   And it's not a very productive process,

00:01:57   it's not a particularly helpful process,

00:02:00   but it happens enough that I don't,

00:02:03   and then when I talk to people about it,

00:02:04   it's a process that seems like it's fairly universal,

00:02:06   that a lot of people kind of struggle

00:02:07   with this kind of thing.

00:02:08   And so I figured it'd be worth kind of talking about,

00:02:11   putting out, putting out in the open,

00:02:12   and hopefully helping other people kind of navigate that.

00:02:15   And specifically kind of what I'm thinking about

00:02:17   is every time I build something,

00:02:19   every time I start something new,

00:02:21   every time I'm launching out on some new endeavor,

00:02:24   there's always this latent anxiety

00:02:26   that it won't meet up to expectations,

00:02:29   that it'll fall flat.

00:02:31   And really the core of the fear part of that

00:02:34   is that it's almost like I'll be discovered as a fraud,

00:02:37   that sort of the talk I do about development,

00:02:41   about the kind of things that I hold dearly,

00:02:44   the things that I strive towards,

00:02:46   those types of things.

00:02:46   find a form of fraud, turns out she's actually not that good,

00:02:49   turns out he really doesn't know what he's talking about. And

00:02:52   there'll be that. And that as a senior, this is the same thing

00:02:56   that happened when I want to check the weather, we're going

00:02:58   to launch feed wrangle launch a lot of products, there's always

00:03:01   this latent almost insecurity or anxiety about what how that's

00:03:05   going to be received. And that is really damaging and difficult

00:03:10   because I find that it really hard hurts my ability to be

00:03:15   excited and motivated for that last little bit of a project,

00:03:18   especially, and really to be excited about the launch and to

00:03:21   not just kind of have this, you know, this is almost like this,

00:03:25   but this sense of foreboding about putting something out

00:03:28   there, that should be an exciting moment. But there's

00:03:30   this fear about it, that there's this anxiety that, oh, my gosh,

00:03:33   you know, what if, what if people find out that I'm really

00:03:35   not as, you know, I don't live up to my marketing that I'm not

00:03:38   as good as I think I am. And as a result, it's kind of, you

00:03:42   know, a tricky thing. It's something that I've been doing

00:03:44   this for a long time. I've gone through this experience so many times. And thankfully,

00:03:48   at least I can see kind of almost the insanity of it having done it so many times, having

00:03:54   gone through and launched things and having things not be what your worst fear is, then

00:04:00   in typical reality, typically anytime you put something out, you're going to have,

00:04:05   there'll be a small group of people who love it, there'll be a large group of people

00:04:08   who don't care, and there'll be a small group of people who hate it. And the funny

00:04:11   thing is, no matter how successful something is, that is pretty much the case universally.

00:04:17   There's always those people fall into those two, three groups and probably in roughly

00:04:22   the same, roughly the same proportion, just, you know, the numbers may change. You know,

00:04:27   if you're very popular, if you're somebody who has a huge following or wants to think

00:04:32   very successful, you know, there'll be more people who love it, more people who hate it,

00:04:35   and more people who don't care at all. But the reality is, that's always going to change

00:04:39   and nobody has it all together. Nobody launches something without problems, without issues,

00:04:46   that isn't that perfect in some way. You know, it's easy, I think, to sometimes to look at

00:04:49   other people and say, if only I was so and so, if only I was a Lauren Brikter or somebody,

00:04:55   say, for someone like me, when I look at what they do, and I just really admire it, it's

00:04:58   like, if only I could be that person. And the reality is, I suspect they have the same

00:05:02   kind of anxieties and concerns and problems. And you know, I'm just in the group of people

00:05:08   who love what they do. And so I don't see any of the downsides of the failings or the

00:05:12   issues with it. And so it's easy to kind of, you know, you have this like selection bias,

00:05:17   or whatever you call it, where I because I'm looking for something positive about it, I

00:05:21   see all the positive things. And potentially with my own work, I'll see all of the negative

00:05:26   things. And I mean, this is always kind of a funny part. I want to do help desk or when

00:05:30   I do tech support on Twitter or those kinds of things. And you can have five people in

00:05:33   a row say, Oh, I love your product. I wish you did this. I love your product. I wish

00:05:37   I wish you did that.

00:05:38   I love your product, I wish you did this.

00:05:39   I love your product, I wish you did that.

00:05:41   And then the last person says,

00:05:42   I hate your product, I wish it didn't exist.

00:05:45   Right?

00:05:46   And if you've done any amount of help desk, you'll get that.

00:05:48   You just get this kind of,

00:05:49   this raw negativity from people.

00:05:51   And as soon as you get that,

00:05:52   you forget the five things that came before it,

00:05:55   and you start feeling really depressed and sad.

00:05:57   And honestly, that's part of why I have someone

00:05:59   who does help desk for me,

00:06:00   because it kind of shields you from that,

00:06:02   because if you get too much of that negativity,

00:06:03   and it's very hard, at least I find,

00:06:05   to stay motivated and engaged in what you're doing.

00:06:08   But it's the reality of understanding

00:06:10   that that's sort of a simple truth,

00:06:12   and understanding that you will never be ready.

00:06:14   You'll never have arrived or be skilled enough

00:06:16   or have enough Twitter followers,

00:06:17   or you'll have spent enough time on a product or anything

00:06:20   to have something launch that will be perfect.

00:06:22   There'll be a perfect--

00:06:24   what is it, the platonic ideal of what

00:06:26   your application should be.

00:06:28   The reality is you're going to launch something,

00:06:30   and then you're going to learn.

00:06:31   And then you're going to iterate,

00:06:33   and you're going to develop, and you're going to improve.

00:06:35   And often what I really mean there is you personally, not your product, not your, what

00:06:40   you're working on, not what you're sort of striving towards, that really the goal in

00:06:45   general, and the only this is me, this is how I kind of rationalize it to myself is

00:06:47   that my goal and whenever I'm building things is that I'm constantly learning that I'm getting

00:06:52   better at what I'm doing so that I can be more prepared for whatever the next thing

00:06:56   I do. And that may mean that, you know, sometimes I ship things that I wish were better. But

00:07:00   the reality is, if I don't get better, I'm never going to be able to make that best thing.

00:07:05   I'm never going to be able to do that next thing. And you learn much more by doing and

00:07:09   by learning from those mistakes, learning from the challenges or the issues that you

00:07:14   had, than you would by preparing to make those mistakes, that you would by preparing or thinking

00:07:18   about what that would be. It's kind of like you learn more by trying and failing than

00:07:24   you do about thinking of all the different ways that you could fail and focusing on the

00:07:28   failure itself and focusing on that issue and that that anxiety that you can have. And

00:07:34   So in some ways, it's one of those things that I wish there was like five easy ways

00:07:38   to avoid this.

00:07:39   But in my experience, this is something that I always experience, that every time I launch

00:07:43   something new, I'm going to have this fear, this anxiety, this insecurity about myself,

00:07:47   my skills, and my abilities.

00:07:49   And what I find is the reality is the most helpful part that I've ever found is to just

00:07:54   make sure that I understand that, yep, this is how I feel every time I launch something.

00:07:58   And it's not just me.

00:07:59   I've talked to many people who have the exact same experience.

00:08:01   And so I should probably not worry about it quite so much.

00:08:04   I should just embrace the fact that that's part of that insecurity is hopefully helping

00:08:09   motivate and drive you to do a better work. But as soon as it crosses over that line,

00:08:13   and instead makes you avoid doing work, avoid taking risks, avoid doing being ambitious,

00:08:19   it becomes very damaging and problematic instead. And so you just understand that, sort of saying

00:08:24   it out loud, like, Yep, I'm being silly, I need to just, you know, embrace the fact that

00:08:29   what I'm doing is interesting. I like it, other people I've showed it to like it, I

00:08:32   I think it's interesting. And I think I'm going to learn a lot

00:08:33   from this experience. And understand that that is really

00:08:36   all you can do. All right, it's gonna be a short show today.

00:08:39   That's all I have. But it was something that I wanted to talk

00:08:41   about. As we're getting ready for WWDC and heading in that

00:08:45   way, if you have questions or things related to things you're

00:08:48   looking forward to adapting to change in new iOS stacks, come

00:08:53   out, whatever it is, you have things like that, by all means,

00:08:54   let me know. The best place for questions for the show is David

00:08:57   at developing perspective.com. And always, if you have

00:09:00   questions, comments, concerns, or complaints, I'm on Twitter @_davidsmith, I'm on AppNet

00:09:04   @davidsmith, and otherwise I hope you have a great week, or I guess weekend now. Happy

00:09:08   coding and I will talk to you next week. Bye.