Hello, World!

Today is a leap day - at least it's the day I started building this blog and writing this inaugural post. I decided to take the leap and start this blog because I wanted an outlet to reflect and consolidate my thoughts and insights. I've had blogs before, but for purposes other than personal meditation. So, you may ask, why start this blog now?

Anecdotally, you've probably heard that one of the best ways to understand a subject in depth is to teach it to someone else. I've personally experienced this when teaching a workshop or explaining the basics of programming languages, libraries, and frameworks. In these cases, I remember Edgar Dale's Cone of Experience. Although unscientific, it illustrates the idea that the more deeply you engage with a topic, the more experience you gain.

I've often thought I knew something, only to find out that I didn't. At least not enough to explain it in simple terms with original analogies, also known as the Feynman Technique. Whenever I have encountered such situations, it has helped me to write down my explanations.

In a sense, writing becomes equivalent to thinking, at least for me. Refining my thinking means rewriting what I have written. Many iterations later, I often arrive at something that I think is concise and interesting. As my wife never tires of telling me, writing is rewriting. The key to good writing is iteration - going over each draft, questioning the structure of paragraphs, tweaking individual sentences, looking up meanings and alternatives for single words, gradually inching toward something worth publishing. Writing well is a craft. Like any craft, it comes down to acquiring and honing skills. Writing is a skill, and it gets better with practice.

By prioritising writing, you prioritise thinking.

Personal goals and motivations aside, good writing is about communicating clearly. I prefer to work asynchronously with distributed teams. Clear communication is paramount. Even more so at every rung of the leadership ladder. The higher you climb that ladder, the more important clear communication becomes. But also how you frame the narrative. The stories we tell ourselves and others shape how we perceive the world. In a corporate environment, storytelling helps communicate the company's vision and mission, which in turn creates alignment around key goals. Alignment on goals enables autonomy, a key factor for high performing teams, but absolutely essential when working asynchronously. Storytelling is a creative act. And any form of creativity requires practice.

However, storytelling here does not mean writing prose. Instead, it means leveraging ancient cultural traditions to influence through inspiration. In Simon Sinek's book Start with Why, he puts people's motives and purposes at the center of his golden circle. I find that intuitive: why you do something is more important than how you do something or what the outcome will be. Of course, outcomes matter a lot in a business context, but focusing on results or processes and methods will not yield the same driving force to a shared vision of why you are pursuing certain goals. Inspiring purpose means using storytelling to clearly communicate why an endeavor is relevant.

As I mentioned earlier, the stories we tell ourselves matter. Here's a story I tell myself: I'm a bad storyteller. The roots of this self-defeating narrative go back to school, where I had some experiences that introduced this way of thinking. After school, when I applied to film schools to become a director, I made some infuriatingly bad movies to apply with. In hindsight it is not surprising that I was rejected. Inexperience aside, looking back on that experience, I have to admit that the stories I was telling were naive and unrefined. I still have to muster the courage to go back and watch the movies. And find a VHS player. One challenge of writing this blog will be to overcome myself. It's a therapeutic challenge to myself.

That's why I write this blog. It's my personal challenge to practice my writing and grow professionally. So some posts will be mostly a time capsule for me to see how my thinking and writing evolve over time. Other posts will document in detail how I arrived at technical solutions. I hope you find some thoughts, ideas, and stories that inspire you.