I had my second interview on the excellent Developer Tea Podcast (here's the first). It was a blast and I had a great time chatting with Jonathan Cutrell. There were many lively Aha! moments, hope you enjoy it.

Developer Tea Interview (Part 1, 43 mins)

Download (40MB)

Developer Tea Interview (Part 2, 1h 2m)

Download (57MB)

Developer Tea Interview (Part 3, 1h 13m)

Download (70MB)


General Themes

Part 1

  • Developer Tea podcast / creating content regardless of "motivation"
  • Shower time / unfocused thinking - where does your mind wander, what interests you?
  • Creator mindset
    • "Output" is not solely determined by willpower. Hidden variable of emotional state, not controlled directly
    • Being gentle with yourself
    • Exploring the role of fear
    • Find values by working backwards from what's previously brought joy. "Feel good list" or "Jar of Awesome"
    • Culture is what you celebrate
    • Not taking feedback/criticism personally
    • Goal: avoiding burnout or permanent demotivation
    • Looking at absolute contribution (not relative)
    • Separating worthy/unworthy from skilled/not yet skilled, creation from identity
    • The unwinnable situation of seeking external validation
    • Getting feedback without applying extra emotional weight

Part 2

  • Sharing 3 epiphanies
  • 1: Role of "evergreen"
    • Evergreen content (10 year old articles still popular)
    • Evergreen motivation - being motivated for a day not as important as being motivated for a year, or lifetime.
  • 2: Value of empathy
    • Acknowledging when a concept is difficult
    • Writing for a younger version of myself, share what I struggled with
  • Confusion like finding holes in your roof to patch up. Inspector vs. repairman.
  • Learning languages like Spanish, role of memorization vs. thinking
    • Incorporate vocabuluary like a game of taboo
  • Getting to the concepts behind math: "circle has these properties" just like the color "red" has certain properties
  • Intuition behind e and logarithms. Seeing the theme behind the concept.
    • Logs as a count of digits (6 figures, 7 figures...)
    • Asymptotic progression (losing weight, baseball batting average)
  • 3: Highway numbering system - encoding information

Part 3

  • "Learning to code" -> really about learning to think in a structured way
  • How BetterExplained started
  • Acknowleding your limitations - look for sources of evergreen motivation, warmth to returning
  • Philosphy that anything can be understood intuitively eventually
  • Learning from someone in your shoes vs. the world expert
  • Building small things
  • Being gentle with yourself so you can return to the material
  • What would I do differently
  • Intuition dictionary idea