Monday, December 17, 2012

Learning from mistakes

Jeff Atwood says that every programmer should learn at least the basics of marketing.  We can do brilliant things but if we can't (or won't) convince anyone to look at them, the net result is zero.  He provides three points to what marketing is:
  1. people understand what you're doing
  2. people become interested in what you're doing
  3. people get excited about what you're doing
In a way, this blog is a way for me to practice these three items.  Sadly, my last post failed at the very first step - it was clear from the comments that people didn't understand my purpose behind writing.  I tried to spell it out in the end but it was too late.  My ADD-esqe post had gone off the rabbit trail one too many times.

The post was not about how GRUB and Win7 don't get along well.  The post was supposed to be about flexibility and interacting with customers.  Where did I go wrong?

I'm a storyteller by nature, and find that I can get too wrapped up in the details of a story and miss the main point.  One of the things I've been trying to do with this blog is practice my summarizing skills.  The trick is not to eliminate 90% of the details and call it a day.  Instead, eliminate all of the details that are irrelevant to the story at hand.  As Albert Einstein says:

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler. 
Instead of launching right into my Windows tragedy, I should have listened to all the writing teachers who told me to start with a thesis sentence.  There's a parallel in the startup world: elevator pitches.  I hate these.  I love working through all the intricacies of my ideas in a Q&A lasting half an hour.  I don't want to talk for 3 minutes and leave.  My idea is excellent!  I can't sum up all of it in three minutes!

Sadly, I don't have all the time in the world to convince investors to give me money.  Not only do I have to accomplish the three things above, but I need to do it in a short period of time.  I know what I'll be practicing.

Still think I'm a terrible blogger?  Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

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