Applies to employees as well. One of the better things about Google is that with most engineers, you can raise some concern or some alternative way of doing things, and they’ll just get it, understand all the implications, and be able to implement it with no further direction. (The ones that can’t are pretty infuriating to work with, because it takes you longer to hand-hold than it would to just do it yourself.) I had an intern last fall where I could just give him the name of a product or technology to look into, or a contact e-mail for the team in charge, and he’d go look into it and come up with a working implementation. He’s just been given an offer, so with any luck he’ll be a coworker next year.
The thing is – I’m not certain this is entirely a property of the person involved. Yes, there are certain skills that make it easier to find information on your own. But this is also a function of the problem domain and how well you know it. If you give me a credit card and a problem statement, chances are that I can come up with a working webapp that solves the problem. But if you give me the name of a VC and tell me to go raise money – where do I start? How do I approach him? What will burn bridges and what won’t?
So my question to PG and any other resourceful folks out there is: how do you approach a problem domain in which you know nothing, and manage to gain enough of a map of the territory so that you listen to someone’s one-word suggestions and instantly grasp the implications?
It bothers me to hear this, because I know that I tend to fall on the “hard to talk to” side. I used to be really bad at this kind of resourcefulness, and I would have a hard time “chasing down” those various implications. I like to think that I’m better now.
I think that, as with many areas, deliberate practice has helped.
Can you specify how you did deliberate practice to overcome that weakness?
Just sit down and think not just about what a person said, but why they are saying it.
If my dad says, “Son, never date girls who are hippies”, that probably means that he himself was burned from an experience like that. While reading it plain would have given me a catch-all theory that is not necessarily true, reading into the reasons told me two extra factoids: my dad doesn’t want me to get hurt, and he has dated a hippie girl and that ended badly.
Working on a project for several weeks or months has some advantages to doing a Kata and then deleting the code. For example, I have to live with the decisions I made earlier. I have to refactor as I learn, and I have to grow an architecture. I tried learning clojure just by doing the examples from the book. For weeks, I just didn’t get it. Then I decided to start a project using clojure. Now I see progress in my learning every day I work on the project.
This is also deliberate practice. Does doing ACM test count as deliberate practice?
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.