May 5, 2018

Reader replies to Intermediate Men

Some interesting replies sent in by readers to my “Intermediate Men” message from April 9th (shared with permission):

Hi Jonathan, Oh man, that was an awesome insight. Thank you. It really hit home. I think about a similar thing a lot. My kid likes magic. He has gotten pretty good at sleight-of-hand tricks. Though he does not want to perform in front of an audience. It is the performance, though that counts. Just like stand-up comedians. Just like bands on stage. Just like karate masters. Just like software developers - it’s all a magic show. We want to be amazed, surprised, delighted. It’s a let-down when we feel either “I could do that” or “ I could do better”. I feel it is similar to a religious experience. To feel that there is something happening that is bigger than us, that defies, as you said, the rational. Because it is a huge relief. That something bigger is in control. Because we feel inadequate most of the time, and if it all were really up to us and our faculties, we would be in big trouble. So, when a company hires a software developer, they want to be amazed, transcended. They are paying for the feeling that everything is going to be ok. Congratulations! -Roger Williams

Hey Jonathan, yeay for your trophies. I can of relate about “winning without battle”. There is this saying from Corneille in Le Cid: à vaincre sans péril, on triomphe sans gloire. (translation “for victory without risk is triumph without glory.” ) Having been sail racing a big part of my life, I would have been very disappointed if no other boat was on the departure line. -- Aleth Envoyé de mon ASUS

Hey Jonathan, Great story! For some reason your thought process made me think about how I would feel in this situation and how this scenario would play out in the business world. My personal thoughts are that winning by “default” is not a win. People not showing up for a contest, no competition in the market place… for both scenarios I personally would feel a bit of imposter syndrome. I would feel as if I am not truly good enough because I have nothing to measure myself against. I just signed a contract for 12 months with my whale client, this is my 11th year there. I have had years where I could bring on 5 contractors under me, now I am going solo but with a premium price tag. My client has immense trust in me and the expertise that I provide. Because of this I keep winning by “default”. I do not win on price, I win on trust and expertise. So now I think… if there is no other competition in my clients eyes did I truly win at all? Thanks for listening. —Jeff Marino

I think there’s a very fitting and meaningful business lesson here! In a lot of areas of business, most people are too lazy to put in the work. So by virtue of showing up, you win. Like how I started the only JavaScript meetup in my town. It ended up being really popular. I got to be the organizer because, until that point, no one else had the ambition or initiative or whatever to start it. Same with how when I reached out to training companies, many were super eager to talk with me and work with me. Since so few developers are apparently willing to do that kind of work, I “won”. Same with how I wrote my Angular + Rails ebook which is currently one of two Angular + Rails books in the world, and the only up-to-date Angular + Rails book in the world (AFAIK). So I won. -- Jason Swett Creator, Author, Angular for Rails Developers

This reminds me of a friend of mine who won a contract and, when she asked why she’d won it, was told “because you sounded like you wanted it.” Enthusiasm is clearly a worthy trait! Regards Malcolm

Thanks everyone!



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