Remove the Ego: Start From the Ground Floor


I’ve been asked more than a handful of times where and how I teach myself a new coding language most recently being Obj-C and related pairing technologies and IDE of XCODE.

Time and time again I have disappointed my audience by telling them that I started with the very basics and that I did not do much more than just spend time diving deep into the existing material provided by Apple. Specifically I start with the Developer Documentation and went from there.

Why, then, is the answer that I give such a gross disappointment? Why do people look at me sideways and continue to ask as if my answer is not good and decent enough? They ask me for websites or online tutorials or paid curricula and I return their blank stare with my own. It’s as if they expected that being a seasoned software engineer excused me from having to learn the basics!

I encountered this question once more today and it was just another moment to reflect on this strange exchange and I have discovered the tragic truth that underscores their disappointment.

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Start, Stop, Continue

Start, Stop, Continue is a very well known feedback strategy that many businesses and individuals use to gauge workplace and relational effectiveness. You simply ask, in the context of business (or anything for that matter):

  • What can I start doing that will make you and the team more effective?
  • What can I stop doing that’s making you less effective?
  • What can I continue to do that’s providing value to you and the team?

I’ve used this in previous companies and I am thinking about starting to use it @ The Iron Yard as we begin to scale our staff.

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Normal Business Hours

The freedom to come and go as you please has been a love-hate relationship with me over the years as there have been times where I was “stuck” in certain roles that required me to keep somewhat “normal” business hours and times where I could do whatever I want.

And yet, at the very same time, “normal” business hours is oftentimes the thing that I need the most as my life can swing dangerously to the edge of overcommitment and burnout. As many of us know far too intimately I really like the idea of some normality when it’s unavailable to me and really dislike it when I have things under control (or relatively so).

As of this very moment I can safely and securely call the shots but that doesn’t mean that I’m twiddling my thumbs looking for things to do – my responsibilities are growing and the time required to ensure success is begging me to commit more than I have. It’s emotional to say the least.

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Two Reasons Why I Taught Myself Obj-C

About a year and a half ago (and some change) I started messing around with Obj-C, the coding language to build applications on the iPhone, iPad and the Macbook line of products (OSX).

As much as I’d like to think that I drummed up the motivation to learn something new as part of some great series of revelatory thoughts it was actually much more simple – two reasons to be exact and both of them are not too “deep” either.

Here they are:

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Evolve, Die?


We must change so that we might survive. This isn’t just so that we can be successful, mind you, but so that we might simply be able to put one more foot in front of the other.

Sometimes the quantitative amount of evolution and change required is minimal but more oftentimes the required amount is much, much bigger. And the larger the need the more is required of the person to change so that the need can be met.

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