Well, going back like an archaeologist through old reader questions, I see that these two posts prompted a bunch of questions. So, in today’s video, I tackled four such inquiries. Always interesting fodder for me, personally, so thanks for asking.
By the way, if you have questions, please ask them. I’m letting this drive a lot of content for the blog these days. And, I’ve also settled on a more canonical way of asking people to submit them: a simple “ask” page.
So if you’d like to hear my take on something, head on over and submit a question.
This Week’s Picks
I spent some time visiting family over the weekend, and stayed in a hotel in my childhood hometown. Specifically, it was a Courtyard Marriott, and it was a stand-out in terms of the service, even among the countless Marriotts I’ve occupied over the last 6 years. If you’re ever in the vicinity-ish of O’Hare and run across this place in your search, it’s a gem.
Last Thursday, I did something that I now wish I’d done years ago. I un-synced all email from my phone. I can still get the emails on the device if I want them, but I have to actively pull them from the server, instead of having this pushed at me. I can’t tell you how great this is, both for avoiding distractions and for minimizing my hour-to-hour cognitive burden.
This Week’s Content Digest
Here’s one last live blog that I did on the Sonatype site, this one about table stakes for DevOps.
My belief in picking a niche for yourself becomes obvious to anyone who reads more than a post or two here. I’ve written too many posts about it to list, and I talk about it on my Youtube channel these days.
But today, I’d like to reference a couple of specific posts where I talk about this in order to flesh out a concept. Here are those posts.
Earlier this year, I wrote a post about picking a niche. And, in that post, I distinguished between generalizing, specializing, and niching. Specializing involves looking at your own skill set, picking something you like, and hoping people want to pay for it. Niching involves looking at needs that others have and filling those needs.
Here’s the gist of what I want to talk about today. 2 years ago, I gave advice that would indeed help you pick a specialty.
But, I actually think that it’s, at best, locally maximizing advice to help you pick a niche. So I’d like to course correct a bit with my advice to the countless people that ask me for help finding a niche.
As you may recall, a few weeks back, I offered the hypothesis that software is a business tactic, rather than a profession. My main purpose in writing that post was to level set a bit with my desired direction for the blog, leaning toward an increase emphasis on reader questions. And, you all immediately obliged, so thanks for that!
So, I’ll start by responding to people’s questions/reactions to that post, both in comments and through other media. The follow-up questions/thoughts that I’ll address fall largely into 2 buckets:
How do you reconcile “software as a business tactic” with “software as an end,” particularly an aesthetic one, such as with video games?
Maybe software is a business tactic and isn’t currently a profession, but why shouldn’t it be?
Number (1) is easier and chronologically first, so let’s do that.
After my hiatus, I’m back with my fourth consecutive week of content. This time, it’s another reader question round-up, video edition.
I’m going to continue with the theme from last time, which is to use round-up posts to do picks and the digests that I’d been doing historically. I’d also like to encourage anyone to ask me questions because, as I’ve mentioned a few times now, I’m going to let your questions drive the majority of my content going forward.
They can be questions about anything you’d like, really. But my main focus is going to be on topics related to software careers and helping you understand the business of automation.
You can fire questions at me in the comments on the blog, Twitter, comments on Youtube, or really wherever you want. Though, if anyone’s interested in proposing sort of a more effective or efficient way for me to get questions, I’m interested to hear it.
If you’ve never had occasion to check it out, I’d give the Tropical MBA podcast a listen. The name gives a different impression of it than what it really is, with a kind of “too good to be true vibe.” It’s actually a lot of practical advice for digital entrepreneurs, with a bit of a location-independent flavoring.
My wife and I have been watching this series of Youtube videos called “Pitch Meeting.” If you like snarky humor pointing out plot holes, you’ll like these.
We spent the weekend in Cincinnati, and one of the things we did there was pop in for a little casual axe throwing. Yes, there’s a place called Urban Axes where you learn to throw axes at targets and then have a lot of fun doing that for an hour or two. They have locations in various US cities, and it’s a LOT of fun, so check it out if there’s one near you.
Here’s a live blog that I did a while back for Sonatype’s Nexus User Conference.
I have a vision for what I want DaedTech (and myself) never to be. I never want to have the “I made it, and so can you by following these [N] easy steps!” vibe, in any way. If you ever catch me doing that, please gather with your pitchforks and storm my gate.
Here’s the thing. Success is hard, specific, and custom to your own context. But a lot of people don’t let that stop them from hawking it in $99 info products.
Fake It ’til You Make It… as an Expert?
I’m about to describe what I think of as an anti-pattern in the knowledge economy. You’ve probably experienced this at least subconsciously, if you haven’t yet learned to actively recognize it.
This crystallized in my head recently when I signed up for something called “The Dynamite Circle” (it’s a community for established digital nomad-leaning entrepreneurs). I was poking around and noticed this blog post, with a couple of great turns of phrase.
In describing a pre-quit-your-job, would-be lifestyle designer, they said:
You are buying products from blogs that make a little money on how to make a little money with your blog.
That produced almost a spit take from me, because I can picture this exact thing. And so, probably, can you. It has:
An oversize photo of the site proprietor smiling maniacally
Some polished-but-somehow-budget graphics
The typical “hero journey” landing page layout
And assurances that you, too, can make money through affiliate marketing, quit your job, and earn passively on a beach in Bali.
But, if you dig into any of the public metrics around the site, you see that it’s getting very little traffic. What you’ve really got here is someone writing blog posts from a cubicle on their lunch break about how you can follow their lead to a beach in Bali.