Nothing is more powerful than a community of talented people working on related problems.

Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age by Paul Graham, 2009

76.) “Always be the worst guy in every band you’re in.”

In his phenomenal book of career advice, The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development, Chad Fowler cites this nugget of wisdom from jazz guitarist Pat Metheny as a key principal for becoming a great programmer, adding “The people around you affect your own performance. Choose your crowd wisely.”  

Surrounding yourself with more experienced co-workers and collaborators, rather than insisting on always being the smartest person in the room, is the best way of setting yourself on a trajectory of life-long self-improvement. 

Rant

Texts: Awesome! Time to chat!  

Emails:  Wonder what they want?  Guess I’ll need to get to that sometime today.  

Phone calls: Oh God, who’s died?  I can’t take this today.

75.)  Science may not have all the answers, but it has all the best questions.

Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.

Bill Nye in a Reddit AMA, July 27, 2012. 

Rant

Everything I know about parenting, I learned from carrying overpriced Apple products on the city bus.

"Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t."
- Bill Nye in a Reddit AMA, July 27, 2012

"Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t."

- Bill Nye in a Reddit AMA, July 27, 2012

Rant

Outrage is far and away the best SEO.  You can slowly kindle a readership by spending hours each day lovingly crafting, then editing, meticulously-researched, carefully considered articles while waging social media warfare across multiple fronts to draw readers’ attention.  Or, you can spend a few seconds being a complete jackass and people will flock to your site, even if just to tell you why you’re wrong.  Sometimes, I think it’s the jackasses who’ve got things figured out.

Rant

Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.  And yet, those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.  I’m not really sure which is worse.

Rant

I was lucky enough to have known both my great grandmother (who died at 93) and my grandmother (still alive at age 89) very well. I only just missed knowing my great great grandmother, a full-blooded American Indian who was so old as to have no official documentation of her own birth, by a few years. Here’s some perspective I’ve gained from observing the generations of my family interacting:

My great, great grand mother grew up in a home without electricity, and eschewed modern technology until her dying day. Her idea of a “night in” was a rocker in front of a fire. My great grandmother loved listening to church sermons and gospel on the radio. She thought “record music” was the devil’s instrument.

My grandmother grew up listening to Elvis, in defiance of her conservative upbringing, but to this day, she bemoans the horrors of television. She thinks that television is what’s wrong with the world. My mother and aunt roll their eyes at this, having heard the same tired rant since the days when Howdy Doody and Zorro were the only programming on television. However, both my mother and my aunt have always held a hard-line censorship policy towards violent video games, and every time a mass shooting makes national news, the topic of video games is raised at the dinner table not long after.

My brother and I, of course, find this utterly ridiculous, but to my everlasting horror, during a conversation with my brother this past Christmas, I found myself vowing that I will never be the kind of father who lets his kids run loose on social networks. We both went quiet when it slipped out, struck by the implications of what I’d said. After an awkward laugh, though, we both agreed that social networks are what’s wrong with the world today.

The moral here is that people consider new technologies to be a threat to their way of life. Video games and the internet and just the latest in a long line of inventions dating back to the Luddite’s socking frames that have been considered a moral outrage. And they won’t be the last in that line. Expect new technologies to raise controversy.

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