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Podcast Episode 50 – The Year(s) in Review

MissedI figured with the year coming to a close that I would take a look back at the goals that I made on this podcast at the beginning of the year. As I went to pull up that episode to find out what I had promised “exactly”, I found out a sad fact…. I made that episode in 2015! Soldiering on, I take a look at *those* goals and talk about what my goals are in 2017 and even if it is worthwhile to make goals if they are going to change. It all culminates in a little Wes Bos lovefest 😉


Links Mentioned in this Show:
Episode 31
Social Network Movie
Episode 33
Wes Bos’ React for Beginners Course
2 Keto Dudes Podcast
Wes Bos’ Site

Listen Here:

You can also subscribe to the podcast at any of these places:
iTunes Link RSS Feed Listen on Stitcher
In addition, my podcast is available on DoubleTwist and the Windows Marketplace.
Thanks to all the people who listen, and a special thanks to those who have rated me. I really appreciate it.

Believe in Yourself

Believe in YourselfI often have no shortage of belief in myself and my abilities. When in doubt, I will always “bet on myself” when the chips are down to get things done. That confidence has allowed me to be very fortunate in professional settings. At times it can be misconstrued and at times I know that people can think that I don’t have any right to be as confident as I am. However, earlier this year, I read Ball Four by Jim Bouton and was really struck by this passage.

I’ve had some thoughts on what separates a professional athlete from other mortals. In a tight situation the amateur says, “I’ve failed in this situation many times. I’ll probably do so again.” In a tight situation the professional says (and means it), “I’ve failed in this situation and I’ve succeeded. Since each situation is a separate test of my abilities, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t succeed this time.”

Then there is also the case of the professional player who is not professional enough. He goes on a fifteen-game hitting streak and says, “Nobody can keep this up.” And as the streak progresses, his belief in his ability to keep it alive decreases to the point where it’s almost impossible for him to get a hit.

The real professional – and by that I suppose I mean the exceptional professional – can convince himself that each time at bat is an individual performance and that there is no reason he can’t go on hitting forever.

He is 100% saying how I feel about my potential for success in any given situation. Why not me? Why not now? Why can’t I do this thing? Why can’t I continue to succeed, or rally to success after a failure?

More importantly, why not you? Why not now? Why can’t *YOU* do the thing you want to do? Why can’t you continue to succeed, or snatch victory from the jaws of defeat?

You can.

Go do it!

Starting a Podcast – Phase 0

PodcastI’ve toyed around with the idea to start a podcast for quite some time. I think the time for me to get started has arrived. I’ve created a survey to try to do a little market research that you can find here. If you would please take a minute to take the survey (it is only 6 quick questions), I would really appreciate it.

My goal is to narrow down a format and get 4-5 shows in the can and then publish them at whatever pace gets decided (one of the survey questions!) while making more.

I’m not looking to be “Hansel-famous”, I just want to put myself out there in the community another way and try to continue to grow as a technologist, a communicator, and a person. I’m taking Scott Hanselman’s advice (found here) and going to give this a go.

I would really appreciate if you would take the survey and help me make a podcast that people might want to tune in to. Thanks!

750 Words

Recently, I started using a site called 750 words. Its name basically sums up what it is. Basically, you sign up for the site and you just type in daily writings. It does analysis of your words and tells you all kinds of stats about what you’ve written, how long it takes you to write, how many interruptions you typically have, etc. According to the site, 750 words is about 3 printed pages of work, so you are making good-sized chunks of writing each day. Each entry is private, so you don’t have to worry about grammar or spelling (though you’d obviously want that to be improving as you went). Another neat feature is that the creator has made it very easy to export your writings. You own it, you shouldn’t have to worry about being locked in. I definitely appreciate that aspect of the site.

I started 37 days ago and I’ve completed 37 days. I’m a bit of a compulsive person, so once I build up a habit like this, it actually stresses me out to break it. I’m probably the poster child that the site’s founder had in mind when he created the site. Each month, there are also “challenges” that you can participate in. You sign up and commit to write something every day for that month. I’m 13 for 13 in December so far (obviously since I’ve written every day for the last 37). The site even lets you define a reward and a penalty for completing or not completing the challenge. There is no way to enforce it, it is just for fun.

The site is such a simple concept (the best ones are), but I’ve found it really helpful to get into a writing habit. At first, I would just write about my day. I haven’t had a private “general purpose” blog in a while, so I did that. However, that only lasted about 4 or 5 days before I grew tired of it. 3 pages of good stuff doesn’t happen to me EVERY DAY! My original goal was that I’d be able to free write and take notes and use those notes as primers for blog posts. I changed that goal a few weeks ago.

During TekPub‘s Black Friday Sale, I signed up for my own personal annual TekPub Subscription. Two years ago, my employer bought me one, but I work for myself now and I needed to invest a little more in my education. What I started doing was “live blogging” the videos as I watched them. This served three purposes.

  1. Complete my Daily 750 Words
  2. Watch a New TekPub Video Every Day
  3. Create Lots of Very Useful Notes For Future Blog Posts

To date, I’ve watched the entire TekPub Speed Series with Sam Saffron, the Node Series, and all of the Jon Skeet Stack Overflow Question of the Day TekPub TV videos, “live blogging” them all. Along the day, I have paused to journal some incredible days that I’ve had or some interesting projects that I was working on, but I always fall back to the TekPub videos as a great source of content. The bonus is that I’ve learned a great deal so far.

Today’s blog post is a little meta. This post itself is today’s 750 Words. No need to write 1500 words today when a little reuse can do. I’m a programmer, after all, appropriate reuse is the goal.

Why might 750Words.com be appropriate for you? Maybe you don’t have a blog, technical or personal. Perhaps you don’t see the use of writing all of these daily words with no intention of anyone ever reading it. I think for someone like that, the site still has merit. First, one of many developers’ greatest weaknesses is communication. I’ve seen it over and again that clients aren’t happy with the level of communication (particularly written communication) from their developers. And we all know that the best way to build a muscle is to work that muscle, so daily writing will help.

Secondly, you may discover that you have a love of writing. Maybe your words won’t ever get beyond the 750Words.com vault, but maybe you’ll write and find that you enjoy it. If 750 words really is about 3 printed pages, in 3 months, you could have about 270 pages of material. Assuming you kept a consistent theme or themes, you are actually a good deal of the way to having written a book. You could export your posts, edit them into a more coherent theme, and publish them to the world on the Kindle store.

Since book writing is something that I’ve always wanted to do at least once, I’ve certainly considered that route, but for now I’m just trying to build blog posts. Maybe one day soon, I’ll build that into a book. I don’t know now if it would be fiction or non-fiction, technical or not, for now I’m just enjoying the writing process.

So, if you can see any value in daily writing at all, head on over to 750 words and create an account and start writing. At the risk of being a cliché, the journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step. Do 750 Words today, take the first step.

Speaking at Pittsburgh Code Camp 2011.1

Last Saturday, I got the news that I’ll be speaking at the Pittsburgh Code Camp at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, PA. Being from the area, it is kind of exciting to have the first place that I get to present be my hometown.

My talk is called “Git for .Net Developers” and my preparation is already well underway. I’m really excited about sharing this topic with others. At first, I was a little nervous about filling up the entire hour and fifteen minutes, but now I’m wondering if I’ll need to cut some things :). I plan on running through this about a million times before April 30, so I’m sure I’ll figure it out!

Here is a copy of the schedule as it is laid out at the time of this post (click for larger version):
2011 Pittsburgh Code Camp Schedule

I’d really like to get into presenting to the community in a big way, so I’m definitely excited for both this opportunity and for the opportunity to get feedback so that I can be the best speaker that I can be. If you are anywhere near Pittsburgh and are free on Saturday, April 30th, you should definitely come out to the Code Camp. Use this link and sign up. It is free, but they want your registration so that they are sure to have enough space and enough lunch! I hope to see you there.

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