I often have people newer to the tech industry ask me for secrets
to success. There aren’t many, really, but this secret — being
willing to do something so terrifically tedious that it appears to
be magic — works in tech too.
We’re an industry obsessed with automation, with streamlining,
with efficiency. One of the foundational texts of our engineering
culture, Larry Wall’s virtues of the programmer, includes
Laziness: The quality that makes you go to great effort to
reduce overall energy expenditure. It makes you write
labor-saving programs that other people will find useful and
document what you wrote so you don’t have to answer so many
questions about it.
I don’t disagree: being able to offload repetitive tasks to a
program is one of the best things about knowing how to code.
However, sometimes problems can’t be solved by automation. If
you’re willing to embrace the grind you’ll look like a magician.
I greatly enjoyed this piece on its own, but I think it ties in particularly well with the aforelinked item about Ben Thompson’s column on Taylor Swift’s re-recording of an entire hit album just to have a version she owned the rights to. Who would do that? Painstakingly re-create an entire work of art? Someone willing to embrace the grind.