Only 24 hours

Like most technical people who scour the web for information, I've come across some really smart people who write their thoughts, offer help, write tutorials, and also somehow manage to hold down a day job AND manage to (presumably) have a life outside of work. One of the most impressive people has got to be Scott Guthrie. I of course like many people struggle with the juggling act of work, self-improvement, home chores, family life and I have often wondered how do people like Scott do it?

And so I came across this old interview of Scott from 2007 in which he responds to this as follows (I've added the bolding on the bits I find inspirational):

It's hard, especially in the development space. When I think of the pace of innovation that's going on right now and the rate of information flow, I certainly can't remember a time when it was going this fast. I think back to a time, the Internet battles of the '90s, when Internet Explorer was competing with Netscape. At the time, it felt as if we were shipping constantly, and there was a lot going on.

From the development perspective, I think we're in a phase right now where the pace is even more accelerated than it was then. It is certainly very hard to stay up-to-date. You have to find time to do it. You have to spend focused time keeping an eye on what is happening. I think blogs are a great mechanism for doing that. I subscribe to Bloglines, which is a great free service. I probably subscribe to 300 or 400 blogs, and I try to spend 20 to 30 minutes a day in the morning and the evening reading through what everyone posts. It gives you a good sense of what the hot topics and the interesting ideas are. Part of keeping up means spending an hour a day of focused time doing prototyping; trying things out, either with your own product or other technologies; getting a good grasp on what pieces are out there and how you can use them. The other important task, when you're looking at any new technology, API, methodology, or programming approach, is to look hard not just at the interesting thing itself, but also try to extrapolate its useful principles so you can apply them elsewhere.

So, if it's a Java refactoring book, great. There are some specific Java refactorings there, but what are the broader refactoring concepts you can internalize and apply to VB or C#? If it's an AJAX JavaScript framework that's very good at doing one specific task, great. Now, step back and try to recognize which of its aspects could be applied on another JavaScript framework. An architect should be good at looking at something and extrapolating the interesting aspect in and of itself, as opposed to the individual element of the technology.

So now I know.

Comments are closed