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    I’m also a writer who would like to optimize for quality over other things, though currently, I write in my articles in mad bursts, to get the ideas out of my head, most of the articles on https://junglecoder.com were written in single sittings.

    Reading this makes me want to actually get a less bursty writing process in place. Or rather, I’d like to figure out a less bursty creative process in general, because I have a tendency to do things in big bursts, except at work.

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      I’m not a writer, but my blog posts usually “just happen”. I feel like writing, I write something down. I revise minor editorial things once or two e (with feedback from friends and colleagues) and it’s done.

      The bad thing about this is when I need to write something and I don’t “feel like it”. That’s something I haven’t really solved yet. But I also don’t write enough to justify regular practice.. Maybe some day :-)

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        I still really struggle to write when it doesn’t feel right. It’s extremely painful. That’s also one of the reasons I’ve kept writing more as a hobby, instead of being super central to my everyday job.

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        Yeah, I think it depends on what you’re optimizing for! Sometimes writing bursty articles is good, especially when you have a stroke of inspiration.

        I’ve found a more lengthy process good for me to really ruminate on what I’m trying to say because often, I feel like my original concept will change if I have the opportunity to reflect.

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        I like the idea arbitrage part and will probably adopt it myself! One thing that surprised me: no “editing” step. For me the writing process is all about the editing. I have four or five pieces that are totally written that I could throw up right now, but they’re all first drafts. In the editing process I’ll carve them up again and again until they look nothing like they used to. I end up with much stronger writing that way.

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          Thank you! And interesting callout. I suppose I combine the editing step with the final writing step. I probably should have a dedicated editing session, but I tend to do them in tandem and even throughout some of the earlier stages.

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          Very, very well written.

          This excellently summarizes my own experience in the last few months, where an extremely challenging course forced me to develop a form of self-discipline that has made me a significantly happier person.

          Also, this reminds me of a quote by US President Calvin Coolidge:

          “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than the unsuccessful man with talent. Genius will not; un-rewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not – the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent.”

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            I found the history of that quote to be quite interesting: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/01/12/persist/

            The TL;DR summary:

            In conclusion, a family of closely related passages evolved from a text written in 1881 by Theodore Thornton Munger. The initial passage was focused on the importance of “purpose”. By 1902 Edward H. Hart employed a variant in a speech that stressed the primacy of “persistence”. By 1929 Calvin Coolidge was being credited with an instance about “persistence” that closely matched the words of Hart.

            (Coolidge is one of my favorite presidents, and is depressingly under-acknowledged. But I hadn’t seen this quote before!)

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              This is exactly what I needed to hear, thank you.

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                Thank you!

                I’ve had similar experiences where I feel much happier working towards a challenge and similarly, unfulfilled when I am not pushing myself in some way. The quote from Coolidge is excellent as well - particularly this segment: “nothing is more common than the unsuccessful man with talent”.

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                One of Amazon’s Leadership Principles is “Are Right a Lot” and I think that speaks to this article.

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                  I disagree with enshrining “Be right” as a leadership principle.

                  • Anyone who does important work knows that the only way to get it done is to be wrong. A lot.

                  • If you’re doing new work, nobody knows what they’re doing. If they seem like they do, then either they’re fooling themselves (or you) or the work isn’t new.

                  • Promoting “Be right” to a core principle encourages a culture of covering up mistakes.

                  • It’s dumb. I was going to be more articulate with this point, but it’s true: It’s like promoting “Don’t steal” to a leadership principle and then celebrating that none of the leaders steal anything.

                  The real point of the principle is to subconsciously make you feel like (a) what your boss tells you to do is right – both morally and technically – and (b) that your leaders should be followed. It’s basically propaganda.

                  EDIT: On reflection, I cut out the parts criticizing Amazon specifically. We can discuss general principles without talking about any specific company, and the critique is stronger for it.

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                    “Be Right, A Lot” is flexible enough to subsume all of your criticisms with one more iteration of thinking what “being right” means. If promoting “be right” encourages people to cover up mistakes (i.e. do something “wrong”–deceive), people are not being right, and they should do better.

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                      Well said. My interpretation of this has always been “be thoughtful and data driven in your decision making. Optimize for positive outcomes and put ego aside wherever possible when making decisions.”

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                        I like your explicit version much more

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                        Any simple maxim is flexible in this way, and if we interpret them all with such flexibility they’re all equally useless. Might it be more useful to judge them by the ways they’re most likely misinterpreted (at scale, in a large org like AMZN) than in the most generous and philosophical light?

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                          You’re right. This type of maxim says little enough to never be wrong, which means it exists not to clarify, but to affirm. To be more useful, it should be more specific.

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                        The real point of the principle is to subconsciously make you feel like (a) what your boss tells you to do is right – both morally and technically – and (b) that your leaders should be followed. It’s basically propaganda.

                        How does morality enter into it?

                        I take your point about the nature of working in technology leading to by necessity being wrong a lot, and I don’t actually think this LP precludes that, but are you saying that people who make good calls and smart decisions shouldn’t be rewarded and emulated?

                        EDIT: On reflection, I cut out the parts criticizing Amazon specifically. We can discuss general principles without talking about any specific company, and the critique is stronger for it.

                        Thank you for that. Amazon is not a monoculture. My office and the service I work for within AWS is a great place to work as far as I’m concerned. If it were a sweat shop with horrid working conditions devoid of any value to its employees, why would it be one of the larger employers of technology workers in the world? Are you saying that we’re all caught up in the bravado of working for an industry giant or that we don’t actually understand the situation we’re in?

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                        Wow, I’m somehow never stumbled upon these principles before, but I completely agree.

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                          Bryan Cantrill, the CTO of Joyent, thinks they’re pretty much horseshit: https://youtu.be/9QMGAtxUlAc?t=1593. (He also thinks they’re not even principles.)

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                            They’re great and one of the things I love about working here. So many companies frame “OUR CORPORATE VALUES” shove them on the wall and then forget about them. We use them all the time as a way of doing business.

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                              That’s awesome. Do they also integrate into performance evaluation, like who gets promoted, fired, etc.

                              I think it’s always disappointing when companies have a specific set of values, but then the key decisions in terms of who is rewarded don’t necessarily align with those values.

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                                Do they also integrate into performance evaluation, like who gets promoted, fired, etc

                                Not @feoh but also work at Amazon, and in my experience yes. All feedback for evaluations is tied to leadership principles and they also feature in any promo docs.

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                                  Absolutely. Huge part of our hiring process as well.