Come migliorare come developer, designer, marketer, (o qualsiasi altra cosa tu voglia) – Talk Notes

Queste sono le note per il talk che ho tenuto a WordCamp Milano 2018. Qui potete trovare le slide.

Il Talk

Voglio iniziare questo talk con una storia.


Si dice che un giornalista andò ad intervistare Joe Dimaggio, uno dei più famosi giocatori di baseball della storia, a casa sua.
Durante l’intervista gli fece la domanda: “Cosa si prova ad essere un talento naturale?”

Senza dire una parola, Dimaggio si alzò e lo portò giù in cantina.
Nella penombra, prese una mazza da baseball e cominciò a chiamare diversi lanci, eseguendo di rimando la battuta corrispondente. Cutter! Slider! …

Al termine dell’allenamento, dopo venti minuti, Dimaggio prese un pezzo di gesso e tracciò un segno vicino al muro.

Accendendo la luce il giornalista vide migliaia di segni che ricoprivano le pareti della cantina.

Si dice che, risalendo, Dimaggio disse “Il talento non c’entra nulla”

Anonymous

Sono sempre stato molto curioso e da che ho memoria sono stato interessato a sapere come imparare meglio e quello che vedremo in questo talk è il risultato di tanti anni di studio e prove.

Continue reading “Come migliorare come developer, designer, marketer, (o qualsiasi altra cosa tu voglia) – Talk Notes”

Your improvement is your responsibility

I really liked the introduction from the book Exercises for Programmers, by Brian P. Hogan:

Practice makes permanent.

A concert pianist practices many hours a day, learning music, practicing drills, and honing her skills. She practices the same piece of music over and over, learning every little detail to get it just right. Because when she performs, she wants to deliver a performance she is proud of for the people who spent their time and money to hear it.

A pro football player spends hours in the gym lifting, running, jumping, and doing drills over and over until he masters them. And then he practices the sport. He’ll study plays and watch old game videos. And, of course, he’ll play scrimmage and exhibition games to make sure he’s ready to perform during the real contest.

A practitioner of karate spends a lifetime doing kata, a series of movements that imitate a fight or battle sequence, learning how to breathe and flex the right muscles at the right time. She may do the same series of movements thousands of times, getting better and better with each repetition.

The best software developers I’ve ever met approach their craft the same way. They don’t go to work every day and practice on the employer’s dime. They invest personal time in learning new languages and perfecting techniques in others. Of course, they learn new things on the job, but because they’re getting paid, there’s an expectation that they are there to perform, not practice.

Brian P. Hogan

Pay me and teach me

Too often software developers complains that their employer should be held responsible for their formation. 

That’s so far from the truth! Your employer is paying you to perform, not to learn.

Of course, a learning-friendly environment is something desirable, but that not a strict requirement to continue learning and improve on your craft.

Back from the holidays: hiking around Monte Bianco

When I was younger, I usually went hiking with my dad.

He had one of those hiking guides that lists all the walks in a certain region; I still remember the name: “Il Cammina Campania. Guida WWF”.

I have wonderful memories of those walks: the early wake-up, me sleeping in the car, the 4+ hours of walking, collecting dead branches to create our very walking sticks…

Since then, though, I didn’t hike so much. Just some random walks in nearby parks, or something like that.

So when I and Valeria were planning our holidays I asked her if she’d like spending a week walking around the mountains. And she said yes!

It was great! 

I feel so refreshed and full of energy, that I’m asking myself how I’ve survived without this for all of these years.

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How to Pick a Career by Tim Urban

We all have been there. That feeling of being pushed by something on our path. The idea that something else could be right for us. 

If you find yourself in the middle of a career that doesn’t fit you, do yourself a favor, set aside a few hours, and read this article:

How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)

You will thank me later.

My 2017 reading challenge

Last year I decided that I wanted to read more. So I set myself a goal to read 53 books in one year. I failed (That’s a recurring theme).

During the challenge, that started the 31st of October 2016, I managed to read ~25 books. Here they are:

  1. Intercom on Product Management Great book
  2. Docker for Developers meh
  3. Liminal Thinking: Create the Change You Want by Changing the Way You Think I need to read this again
  4. 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know: Collective Wisdom from the Experts Lot of insights
  5. Modernizing Legacy Applications in PHP Really well written
  6. Digital Marketing For Dummies I don’t usually read marketing books, but this is good
  7. La luna e i falò A Masterpiece
  8. Alice in Wonderland A classic
  9. Contagious: Why Things Catch On You need to read this!
  10. Warren Buffett Style: Regola n.1 non perdere mai denaro What was I thinking? Awful
  11. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Maybe I need to re-read this. I didn’t like it
  12. The Time Machine Wow!
  13. The War of the Worlds Slow, but good
  14. Demystifying Public Speaking A good piece on the topic
  15. The Digital Photography Book 1 Sometime you need to move on
  16. Blockchain Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction in 25 Steps To understand what was it all about
  17. The Principles of Successful Freelancing I had the idea to start freelancing
  18. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC Book for Digital Photographers I like retouching photos
  19. The Minimalist Photographer And also travel light
  20. The Best of The Digital Photography Book Series Same as above
  21. Travel and Street Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots And travel
  22. Beyond Legacy Code A nice read
  23. Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests If you’re into testing, you should read this book
  24. A Common-Sense Guide to Data Structures and Algorithms: Level Up Your Core Programming Skills Very basic, but if you need an introduction, it’s perfect
  25. The Little Black Book of Decision Making: Making Complex Decisions with Confidence in a Fast-Moving World I really loved this book: it’s packed with knowledge

So I’ve read less than half my goal but, jokes aside, I don’t consider it a failure. I’ve read more in 2017 than in the previous two years!

Tips to read more

Social media has taken a toll on everyone. I discovered myself more than I like to admit browsing endlessly streams of jokes, links, articles (I’ll just save it and read it later…yeah sure), tweets, photos and so on. But I also discovered that I could just stop. I trained myself to stop being a social media zombie and read instead.

Everyone imagines that to read you have to be sitting on your favorite couch, beside a fireplace, drinking hot chocolate while outside the snow falls covering the ground. How romantic. Yes, there are situations like this and they happen in the movies. We live in the harsh reality, we should be guerrilla readers.

No, that’s not how we read everyday

The trick is: read everywhere, even if a single page or paragraph. In a queue? Read. Waiting for the doctor? Read. Stuck in traffic? Listen to an audiobook. To the dentist? Run! 😀

My friends know that I swear by Safari Books Online: the thing that I like the most is that it enables me to access and download all the books on my smartphone, so that I don’t need to bring with me yet another device (I’m looking at you, Kindle. It was nice, but you know that it never worked between us)

2018 edition

So have I stopped? Of course not. But only stupids don’t learn from their mistakes.

So for this year I’ve decided to start from January to December (so that I can track my results in Goodreads better). And since I don’t think that I’ll be able to read a book a week, I’ve decreased the target to 40 books. That’s a bit more than last year.

So, are you up to a challenge? Connect with me on Goodreads

The Design of Everyday Things

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Even if I’m not a designer by trade, I’ve been always curious about the processes behind it. And this book helped me understand a lot about how things are designed and how the design is dependent on the interaction with people using an object.

I liked the first and the last chapters the most: the first because it showed common examples of good and bad design, the latter because it explained how to apply all the concepts from the book in a real context.

Anyway, if you’re involved in product making at any level, you should definitely read this book, even if you skip some paragraphs in the middle chapters.