Make mistakes in public

Do some work in public if you're ever feeling slightly superior about your abilities.

How “senior” are you?

Or more to the point… how “senior” do you feel?

Do people look up to you for advice? Do get a lot of technical questions? Do you answer them?

Now for the puncher: Does it ever go to your head?

It does mine.

I enjoy helping people solve technical and organizational problems. I guess that’s a good thing, since that’s how I make a living!

But doing it enough, and getting enough “thank yous”, I’ve found, has the potential to make you… er, me anyway… start to forget how often I make mistakes.

I was reminded of my propensity to mistake making recently on my weekly YouTube live stream. I was doing some coding on an unfamiliar problem. My first attempt took about 45 minutes of dead-ends and second-guesses before I tried an alternate approach, and found a 1-line solution.

“So that’s how you spend 45 minutes writing one line of code!”

This experience, and a few others like it over the last few weeks of livestreaming, have given me a sense of humlity. I think it’s a good thing.

When I’m coding in private, I’m sure I make just as many mistakes. They just aren’t visible to others. And therefore, they’re easy for me to forget.

When I present a finalized piece of code, or a YouTube video, or one of these emails, I’ve already gone over it, and removed the 45-minutes-to-write-one-line bits.

So here’s me encouraging you to do some work in public, or in groups where others can watch. Especially if you’re ever feeling slightly superior about your abilities.

If you’re interested in watching me make some public mistakes, I’ll be live-streaming my attempts to learn Fuzz testing this coming Monday. Join me!

Share this