Finding Time For Your Passions

Passions can turn into hobbies that can turn into ventures that can turn into something that you never dreamed could ever happen when it was a small little passion.

Finding time for your passion, when it’s new, untrustworthy, hard to figure out and fraught with so many unknowns can be even trickier.

So here’s the secret to making time for your passion.

Use your latest handheld device or old-school calendar.

And schedule the time.

Don’t worry about what you accomplish, just schedule the time to put time into your passion.

Start off small with 30 minutes a day and hit that target every day for a month before tweaking.  Don’t get worried about what you accomplish during that time, simply schedule the investment, once you’ve grown your passion to a hobby, then you can focus on inputs/outputs and results.

And that’s it.

Customers Don’t Always Know What They Want

And if they don’t know what they want, then how can they be right?

This is a dangerous assumption to make that your customers “know” what they want.

When you start to look for a new car, do you know everything and anything about the new features available to you in the current models?

And if you don’t know everything, how can you be “automatically” right in what you are asking for?

And conversely, because the customer isn’t sure of what they want because they don’t know what that “it” is, this is not an excuse for you to run over them with features and expenses they don’t need.

The best customer engagements occur when you listen to what the customer wants and then you propose to them what they really need.

That’s where the magic happens.

The Tractor vs Cadillac Delivery Trap

If you’re a developer, you’ve heard about the argument of delivering the Tractor vs the Cadillac.

If not, here it is in condensed form.

Tractor – rock solid, gets you from A to B with little fanfare, doesn’t look great, does the job, never falls over, stable as a rock.

Cadillac – it looks really pretty, it’ll give you the smoothest ride from A to B (when it works), it has all the bells and whistles (but doesn’t always work).

So the question becomes when debating the delivery of a new feature is whether you want it to be solid and simple or unstable but looking pretty.

However, there is an oft-used trap used to reduce delivery expectations and time by “hiding” behind the tractor and not delivering what is really needed by the customer because it goes into the “Bells” class.

For example, if it takes 4x as many clicks to start the tractor vs the Cadillac, it doesn’t mean that adding in this functionality will make it a Cadillac, it means that it will be a more usable tractor for the customer if you can reduce this to 1 or 2.

Adoption of any feature you build is key, no one wants to work on the functionality that no one will ever use.  Seriously, no one wants to hear that their work is never seen by the customer – what a complete waste of time to have worked on something no one uses it.

This is why, when designing your tractor in early iterations (good, focus on the tractor first) there is always room to ensure that the tractor runs better than the Cadillac.  It’s not a bell or whistle that you are adding, it’s an easier way for your customer to get from A to B to increase adoption and be ready to use the Cadillac when it comes around the corner.

Practice, Practice, Practice

At the time of this post, I have written over 750+ blog entries, another 40 – 50 articles on other sites (Medium, LinkedIn, others) and am still toiling away on endeavors elsewhere.

But it’s not enough.

I’m not there yet.

I’m in that valley of Craptivity, not yet out, still deep, still taking that swing for the fences every day.

Just like everyone else who shows up to put in the time, chip away at the beast and make something happen.

Don’t stop practicing.


A follow-up on the Gatekeeper

A quick follow-up to last week’s post on being Getting Past the Gatekeeper.

If you ARE the Gatekeeper, it’s not a free ride for you either.

In front of you, there is this candidate which probably can do a number of technical things you can’t do (or might even care to do).

And that’s okay (you’re not the developer).

But on top of identifying who they are and whether they are a good fit for your company, it’s on you to make sure that their interest never wanes and they are excited to join your little corner of the universe (yes, even Microsoft and Amazon are little corners of a much larger universe).

To do this, you must know what they are interviewing and what it relates to.  You won’t keep them interested in buzzword bingo alone so you must know the “what” of “what” they want;

  • the growth opportunities
  • the team culture
  • the projects
  • the development toolsets
  • other company benefits

If you can’t convey these “whats” when acting as a Gatekeeper, then you will lose the potentially amazing candidate sitting in front of you.

(and yes, that is the correct order for which they should be discussed)