Developing Perspective

#13 - Perspective


00:00:00   Hello, and welcome to Developing Perspective.

00:00:03   Developing Perspective is a near-daily podcast discussing the news of Note and iOS, Apple,

00:00:07   and the like.

00:00:08   I'm your host, David Smith.

00:00:09   I'm an independent iOS developer based in Herndon, Virginia.

00:00:12   This is show number 13, and today is Monday, August 22, 2011.

00:00:18   The format of Developing Perspective is that I'll cover a handful of links, articles, things

00:00:21   I found interesting since the last show, and then move over to a more general discussion

00:00:26   towards the end.

00:00:27   The show will never be more than 15 minutes.

00:00:29   Let's get started.

00:00:30   As I was on vacation last week, I'll

00:00:32   have a fewer links than normal this episode.

00:00:35   However, next episode tomorrow should be back to normal.

00:00:39   All right, first I have a link to a Git workflow video

00:00:43   put together by the guys at CodeSherpas.

00:00:45   These are actually a local development shop

00:00:47   to me who I've done some work with in the past.

00:00:49   It's a great little overview video

00:00:51   of just what an actual workflow looks like in Git.

00:00:55   So worth checking out if you're a newbie

00:00:57   just trying to kind of wrap your head around it.

00:01:00   Next, which is a really interesting article that I saw on the Fog Creek software blog,

00:01:08   talking a little bit about how the guy who recently wrote a translation of Zed Shaw's

00:01:15   Learn Python the Hard Way and Learn Ruby the Hard Way, who is Rob Sobers, was talking about

00:01:22   how he wrote that.

00:01:23   And I just thought that was kind of interesting.

00:01:24   So it's basically the story is that Fog Creek gives fairly generous paternity leave.

00:01:31   And recently, Rob had a child, a daughter, and he got six weeks off to take care of her.

00:01:39   And basically, him and his wife decided that the way they had handled it is he took a little

00:01:42   bit of time when she was first born.

00:01:44   And then his wife went on maternity leave.

00:01:47   When her maternity leave ran up, he went on paternity leave.

00:01:52   And then, so for, he was a primary caregiver for six weeks of his daughter, and he found

00:01:56   that while being a caregiver for an infant is a tremendous amount of work, he had a lot

00:02:01   of extra time when his baby was sleeping, that he could do something.

00:02:05   And so he sort of thought he was, "Hey, maybe I'll do something practical, maybe I'll make

00:02:10   some good use of this time."

00:02:11   And what he did is he wrote that book.

00:02:13   Now, the thing that I find most interesting about that is just how interesting, you know,

00:02:20   The way that he made use of that time, it was just very impressive and something that

00:02:24   is certainly admirable as a developer, is he had all this free time.

00:02:29   He was away from work.

00:02:30   He probably wasn't able to contribute to teamwork because his time wasn't specific.

00:02:36   He couldn't be in meetings every day.

00:02:38   He couldn't be as part of things that they needed for a dependable release cycle.

00:02:43   And so this is what he did.

00:02:44   And that's certainly admirable and something worth thinking about for...

00:02:48   You don't have to take a vacation.

00:02:51   It doesn't have to be a total break from work work,

00:02:54   though it's important for your vacations to be restful.

00:02:58   All right, and lastly, I've kind of

00:03:00   been interested-- this week's Macalope Weekly over on

00:03:04   macworld.com is very interesting for me,

00:03:07   especially because I was out most of the week

00:03:09   and intentionally was trying to avoid news

00:03:12   about what's going on.

00:03:13   But it sounds like it was quite a week in kind of a strange way.

00:03:16   So it sounds like Google bought Motorola.

00:03:19   HP is spinning off its hardware business

00:03:22   and killing the touchpad.

00:03:24   And there are a variety of other more minor adjustments

00:03:30   being made in the non-iOS mobile development space.

00:03:36   All of it sounds essentially, in summary--

00:03:39   and this is certainly coming from someone who makes

00:03:42   his living primarily from iOS-- but it

00:03:44   sounds like everyone else is kind of having a bit of a mess.

00:03:48   Here's Apple getting ready.

00:03:51   Beta 6 of iOS 5 was released last Friday.

00:03:55   Here's Apple getting full steam ahead towards what's arguably

00:03:59   going to be one of the most interesting and significant

00:04:03   adjustments to iOS, probably since 2.0, I'd say.

00:04:06   Maybe 4.0 was big, but 5.0 with iCloud

00:04:10   and some of the things that are going to be happening with that.

00:04:13   It's huge.

00:04:14   And here it is, all this jumping around, everyone trying to work out what to do, how to make

00:04:19   money, how to come anywhere close to catching up with Apple.

00:04:22   It's kind of a mess.

00:04:24   And I'm glad that at this point in my career I can just focus on iOS and just sort of have

00:04:29   that be fine.

00:04:32   And that is it for today's links.

00:04:34   Like I said, tomorrow we'll probably have a more typical link count and so on as I kind

00:04:39   of get used to what's been going on, what's happening.

00:04:43   and just sort of get back into a normal routine.

00:04:46   My discussion today, which will be fairly brief, is just sort of a follow-up to last

00:04:51   episode's discussion on the importance of taking vacation.

00:04:54   And this is something that obviously I just got back from one.

00:04:56   And the thing that I was struck by, and I was obviously giving a fair bit of thought

00:04:59   to it after my sort of having the last episode be about that, was sort of what is the purpose

00:05:05   of going on vacation?

00:05:06   Because there's a couple of different reasons for that.

00:05:10   And I'm going to be talking specifically coming from someone who's an independent, someone

00:05:14   who has a lot of control over their time and what they do.

00:05:20   And specifically, what I thought was interesting for me is, okay, so I can go on vacation that's

00:05:24   good for physical rest, which is an important thing.

00:05:27   Working consistently every day, 40 hours a week, et cetera, week after week after week,

00:05:33   is very physically draining.

00:05:35   And by physically, I mean primarily sort of the intellectual energy and cognitive load

00:05:42   that that brings on you.

00:05:43   That if you're always thinking about something, eventually it just tires on you and you're

00:05:46   not as effective as you could be otherwise.

00:05:48   But really, what I was thinking about this week while I was away was I think the really

00:05:54   important thing is that it gives you perspective.

00:05:57   It gives you that ability to take a step back and not just be reacting one thing after another.

00:06:03   Because often what I find happens in my development, sort of style and the business development

00:06:09   and all those things, is I'm constantly sort of jumping from one fire to the next.

00:06:15   And at any point in time, I'm really just thinking, "Okay, I've just done X.

00:06:19   What's the next Y?

00:06:21   What should I be doing next?

00:06:22   What should I be doing next?

00:06:23   What should I be doing next?"

00:06:24   And those decisions, though, are rarely sort of made with a broad strategic value in mind.

00:06:32   It's not something that I'm often being like, "Okay, what is the best decision for me to

00:06:38   make here that will benefit my business over the course of the next 12 months?"

00:06:43   It's often, "Okay, which fire is burning brightest?

00:06:48   What's the most thing that absolutely has to be done right now or everything will fall

00:06:54   apart?"

00:06:55   And while that's important to take care of those fires, you end up in a very dangerous

00:07:00   place where I've often found it myself. You sort of go along for a week or two and you're

00:07:05   like, "Wait, what am I doing? Why would I do this?" Or taking a step back and seeing

00:07:09   like rather than solving these 27 things in a manual way, it's like, "Maybe I need a better

00:07:15   system for this. Maybe that's something that I need to automate this and I need to outsource.

00:07:18   Maybe that's something I need to do in another way." Whereas I just get stuck into, "Okay,

00:07:22   I just have to do it. I got to write these tax, file my taxes, do all these kinds of

00:07:27   things and you get so used to just like oh rather than taking a step back and

00:07:31   you're like oh what should I do with it it's like oh gosh I just need to do it

00:07:34   it needs to be done right now. So I think an interesting thing about going on

00:07:38   vacation is you break that cycle you kind of that crazy cycle of being like

00:07:43   okay I can take a step back and I can say all right I'm gonna think about this

00:07:48   I'm gonna think about okay so what's important what could benefit my

00:07:51   business most broadly. It's also something I think I'd recommend it's

00:07:55   That's always the best thing of talking to a peer, having someone who doesn't work with

00:07:58   you or for you, who you can talk to.

00:08:01   So I have a couple of people I talk to about business and things, local developers, local

00:08:05   independence.

00:08:06   And it's incredibly helpful to me because then you get someone else's opinion who doesn't

00:08:11   have a horse in the race, who's not motivated by the individual success or failure of whatever

00:08:18   it is you're talking about.

00:08:20   They're motivated just by a desire to help out.

00:08:23   So that's really helpful.

00:08:25   And also, it's important, I think, to just kind of--

00:08:28   another important thing about having that perspective

00:08:31   is that it allows you to make sure you're not

00:08:34   falling into very bad habits, which

00:08:36   is similar to what I was saying before, but I think

00:08:38   it's a slightly different take.

00:08:40   And it's the importance of saying,

00:08:42   if you take a step back and say, OK,

00:08:45   this is what's important to me.

00:08:48   How am I doing?

00:08:49   You can be much more introspective

00:08:50   after taking a break from doing it,

00:08:52   where you can kind of step outside and be like, "Why was I doing that?

00:08:56   Why was that important to me?

00:08:59   When I left, it felt like, 'Oh goodness, this is so urgent.

00:09:01   This is so pressing.'"

00:09:03   Then I come back and I'm like, "What?

00:09:04   I didn't do it for a week, so clearly it's not as urgent as it felt."

00:09:09   This allows you to kind of break those habits.

00:09:11   Anyway, that's just some thoughts.

00:09:13   As I said, I'm digging out a vacation, which I'm sure we've all done, where you come back

00:09:16   and you've got hundreds of things in your inbox and all your cues and everything's full

00:09:22   to the brim.

00:09:23   But as I'm digging out, they so far so good.

00:09:25   It doesn't seem like too much happened while I was gone.

00:09:28   And like I said, tomorrow should be a more normal show and I look forward to it.

00:09:31   All right, happy coding.

00:09:32   Bye.

00:09:33   [