Inspiration #2

Some more links that focus on a few topic areas. What does it mean to be an expert and how can you become one? Then, Hacker Culture, and how it means and is something totally different then what you think it means. Coupled with that is really the idea of stereotypes and making uneducated assumptions… leading to asking better questions and self-motivation. One last one at the end is just a recent standout I came across. Phew, that was a mouthful. Now on to the links:

★ Are You An Expert? – Coding Horror – Jeff Atwood – Jeff nails it right on the head and with some really awesome examples to illustrate the point. Quote: “Being an expert isn’t telling other people what you know. It’s understanding what questions to ask, and flexibly applying your knowledge to the specific situation at hand. Being an expert means providing sensible, highly contextual direction.” The comments are also pretty great.

Again on the Theme of Experts – James Bach – This talk masks itself on the subject of Software Testing but I believe that any person can benefit from what Bach is talking about. His focus is how someone becomes an expert and what an expert really is. There are some really valuable slides on just this subject. You just have to be sure to make it to the end of the video where it gets good. Question everything.

General Advice – Bill Gates – Straightforward and to the point. Life is unfair and you have to work in order to earn things. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you change your views on laziness and take responsibility for your life the better.

The Conscience of a Hacker – The Mentor – Short and sweet. I thought this was a brilliant depiction of the hacker self-motivation principle and the resistance and stereotypes encountered in doing so.

Hacker Culture and More – Eric Raymond – My definitive source to point people to when I need to educate them on Hacker Culture. Equally as important is his essay on “How to Ask Questions the Smart Way.” I’m an avid fan of encouraging people to ask smarter questions, now I have a place where I can point them to and demand they take initiative.

★ Your Shit Does Stink — Good Friends Are Hard to Find – Steven Bristol – When you really care about a subject or a project of your own and you share it with others you don’t just want a nod and the words “thats cool.” You want a critique… you want to prove its worth… you want a contrasting point of view! This short article sums it up barbarically. But its true.

The last article reminded me of a House episode, where House fires the one doctor who thinks exactly like him and “seemed” to help in some of the medical cases. Why? Because without friction the two didn’t feed off each other. By always agreeing and thinking the same the sum of the two doctors was no greater then either individually. Lesson learned.

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