The energy-polish-shipping triad

Philip Morgan

This is me using my daily publishing habit as a way to cultivate expertise:

My speed-chainsaw-carving way is not the only way to configure a 3-way tradeoff between energy, polish, and consistent shipping.

Here is another, which is a more impressive configuration of the energy-polish-shipping triad:

The author, Stephen Kuenzli, is an Expertise Incubator participant. Here is an excerpt:

I attribute much of my success in 2019 to the practices of:

  1. writing to develop my thoughts
  2. learning to focus

Here’s how it works…

Thinking through Writing

I wrote a lot in 2019, publishing three major bodies of work:

  1. Book: Docker in Action, 2ed (300 pages)
  2. Research: Application Secret Delivery and Audit Practices (+15 pages, 5,600 words)
  3. Blog: No Drama DevOps (+105 posts, ~750 words per post)

There were also many private documents describing designs, strategies, and implementations for clients.

And I feel like the clarity and value of this work is higher than it’s ever been.

This practice of writing resulted in a couple major changes:

First, I now use writing as a primary mechanism to develop my thoughts on a subject.

This is a big change from having conclusions set in some other context like a classroom or team discussion and then sitting down to “write the report.” Or the situation many people face where there are no conclusions set at all — just a hand-wavy slide deck or ephemeral conversation in group chat.

Developing your thoughts and a clear position in a written form that you are comfortable with people reading and using as the basis of a discussion is a terrific quality bar for those thoughts. It’s generally much higher than the aforementioned examples.

You will also quickly discover that the written form contains not “everything you know,” but more along the lines of “just what readers need to know” for that discussion or decision. And in these moments you will feel your own expertise growing.

I'm tempted to excerpt more, since what Stephen has written is so powerful.

Instead, I'll just link you again and admonish you to read the whole thing:

I often feel more pride about what TEI participants have done through this program than I do about my own work. I realize the contradiction there, since TEI is an outcome of my personal weirdness expressed through my work. I am proud of TEI, but I'm even more proud of what its participants have accomplished.

Join us, if this challenging, rewarding path is one you want to walk. The next cohort starts Jan 13.