Synthesis : Scott Becker


I’ve been heads down working on a small, simple software app that is super simple but potentially pretty useful to individuals working within companies with more than a handful of employees. I’m finally getting close to finishing the first release.

I mentioned the idea to a friend one day last fall and he said “Yes! You should do it!” so I suspended work on the other side project I was working on and jumped right on it, since it would be super quick. I’d get it out there and be back to work on my other side project. Funny how that works.

The initial proof of concept was done in a couple days – you could get the idea of how it would work, but it was just a fake out. All that was left was to make it real. Simple, right? I kept at it for two weeks, then left for a three week trip, which brought progress to a halt. Once I got back from the trip, it was the holiday season and I needed to focus on billable work in December to make up for being gone. Finally in January I picked it back up. What initially seemed like something that could be done in a month has stretched into a few, but it’s so close.

Game Mechanics

The app is actually a game, which is my first foray into building something intended to be “played” – to be fun and challenging. Designing a game is super interesting, it’s almost like playing a game in itself, and eventually once you’ve built enough of it, you are indeed playing the game. Implementing game mechanics like scoring points, playing rounds, and thinking about how to make something fun and challenging vs. efficient and useful is super enlightening. The best part is that this app sits in the middle – it’s fun, but also useful and repeated play gives you real value in your actual life.

1 Comment

Deliberate Practice

I read the book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport. It’s a quick read and I recommend it. A little repetitive (before this book the guy wrote books on how to study, he repeats things so you’ll remember it). The key ideas are – blindly following your passion is bad advice – especially if you don’t know what your doing and are going to make a big switch to something you fantasize about but know little, and instead you should focus on the hard work of building the marketable / valuable skills in your field, aka “Career Capital”.

There were two other key takeaways for me. 1 – “deliberate practice” – putting in time getting better at the basics in whatever field you are in. Professional musicians and athletes are awesome at this. Knowledge workers not so much. 2 – the “adjacent possible” – which is what is waiting around the corner to be discovered once you’ve gotten to the edge of existing knowledge in your field. Once you get to that point, making the jump to that next discovery is easier. I’ve been trying to put in more time doing deliberate practice, building out my ideas and reading.

Comments Off on Deliberate Practice