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Jari Roomer

Jari Roomer

2 years ago

Successful people have this one skill.

More on Personal Growth

Darius Foroux

Darius Foroux

1 year ago

My financial life was changed by a single, straightforward mental model.

Prioritize big-ticket purchases

I've made several spending blunders. I get sick thinking about how much money I spent.

My financial mental model was poor back then.

Stoicism and mindfulness keep me from attaching to those feelings. It still hurts.

Until four or five years ago, I bought a new winter jacket every year.

Ten years ago, I spent twice as much. Now that I have a fantastic, warm winter parka, I don't even consider acquiring another one. No more spending. I'm not looking for jackets either.

Saving time and money by spending well is my thinking paradigm.

The philosophy is expressed in most languages. Cheap is expensive in the Netherlands. This applies beyond shopping.

In this essay, I will offer three examples of how this mental paradigm transformed my financial life.

Publishing books

In 2015, I presented and positioned my first book poorly.

I called the book Huge Life Success and made a funny Canva cover in 30 minutes. This:

That looks nothing like my present books. No logo or style. The book felt amateurish.

The book started bothering me a few weeks after publication. The advice was good, but it didn't appear professional. I studied the book business extensively.

I created a style for all my designs. Branding. Win Your Inner Wars was reissued a year later.

Title, cover, and description changed. Rearranging the chapters improved readability.

Seven years later, the book sells hundreds of copies a month. That taught me a lot.

Rushing to finish a project is enticing. Send it and move forward.

Avoid rushing everything. Relax. Develop your projects. Perform well. Perform the job well.

My first novel was underfunded and underworked. A bad book arrived. I then invested time and money in writing the greatest book I could.

That book still sells.

Traveling

I hate travel. Airports, flights, trains, and lines irritate me.

But, I enjoy traveling to beautiful areas.

I do it strangely. I make up travel rules. I never go to airports in summer. I hate being near airports on holidays. Unworthy.

No vacation packages for me. Those airline packages with a flight, shuttle, and hotel. I've had enough.

I try to avoid crowds and popular spots. July Paris? Nuts and bolts, please. Christmas in NYC? No, please keep me sane.

I fly business class behind. I accept upgrades upon check-in. I prefer driving. I drove from the Netherlands to southern Spain.

Thankfully, no lines. What if travel costs more? Thus? I enjoy it from the start. I start traveling then.

I rarely travel since I'm so difficult. One great excursion beats several average ones.

Personal effectiveness

New apps, tools, and strategies intrigue most productivity professionals.

No.

I researched years ago. I spent years investigating productivity in university.

I bought books, courses, applications, and tools. It was expensive and time-consuming.

Im finished. Productivity no longer costs me time or money. OK. I worked on it once and now follow my strategy.

I avoid new programs and systems. My stuff works. Why change winners?

Spending wisely saves time and money.

Spending wisely means spending once. Many people ignore productivity. It's understudied. No classes.

Some assume reading a few articles or a book is enough. Productivity is personal. You need a personal system.

Time invested is one-time. You can trust your system for life once you find it.

Concentrate on the expensive choices.

Life's short. Saving money quickly is enticing.

Spend less on groceries today. True. That won't fix your finances.

Adopt a lifestyle that makes you affluent over time. Consider major choices.

Are they causing long-term poverty? Are you richer?

Leasing cars comes to mind. The automobile costs a fortune today. The premium could accomplish a million nice things.

Focusing on important decisions makes life easier. Consider your future. You want to improve next year.

Samer Buna

Samer Buna

1 year ago

The Errors I Committed As a Novice Programmer

Learn to identify them, make habits to avoid them

First, a clarification. This article is aimed to make new programmers aware of their mistakes, train them to detect them, and remind them to prevent them.

I learned from all these blunders. I'm glad I have coding habits to avoid them. Do too.

These mistakes are not ordered.

1) Writing code haphazardly

Writing good content is hard. It takes planning and investigation. Quality programs don't differ.

Think. Research. Plan. Write. Validate. Modify. Unfortunately, no good acronym exists. Create a habit of doing the proper quantity of these activities.

As a newbie programmer, my biggest error was writing code without thinking or researching. This works for small stand-alone apps but hurts larger ones.

Like saying anything you might regret, you should think before coding something you could regret. Coding expresses your thoughts.

When angry, count to 10 before you speak. If very angry, a hundred. — Thomas Jefferson.

My quote:

When reviewing code, count to 10 before you refactor a line. If the code does not have tests, a hundred. — Samer Buna

Programming is primarily about reviewing prior code, investigating what is needed and how it fits into the current system, and developing small, testable features. Only 10% of the process involves writing code.

Programming is not writing code. Programming need nurturing.

2) Making excessive plans prior to writing code

Yes. Planning before writing code is good, but too much of it is bad. Water poisons.

Avoid perfect plans. Programming does not have that. Find a good starting plan. Your plan will change, but it helped you structure your code for clarity. Overplanning wastes time.

Only planning small features. All-feature planning should be illegal! The Waterfall Approach is a step-by-step system. That strategy requires extensive planning. This is not planning. Most software projects fail with waterfall. Implementing anything sophisticated requires agile changes to reality.

Programming requires responsiveness. You'll add waterfall plan-unthinkable features. You will eliminate functionality for reasons you never considered in a waterfall plan. Fix bugs and adjust. Be agile.

Plan your future features, though. Do it cautiously since too little or too much planning can affect code quality, which you must risk.

3) Underestimating the Value of Good Code

Readability should be your code's exclusive goal. Unintelligible code stinks. Non-recyclable.

Never undervalue code quality. Coding communicates implementations. Coders must explicitly communicate solution implementations.

Programming quote I like:

Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live. — John Woods

John, great advice!

Small things matter. If your indentation and capitalization are inconsistent, you should lose your coding license.

Long queues are also simple. Readability decreases after 80 characters. To highlight an if-statement block, you might put a long condition on the same line. No. Just never exceed 80 characters.

Linting and formatting tools fix many basic issues like this. ESLint and Prettier work great together in JavaScript. Use them.

Code quality errors:

Multiple lines in a function or file. Break long code into manageable bits. My rule of thumb is that any function with more than 10 lines is excessively long.

Double-negatives. Don't.

Using double negatives is just very not not wrong

Short, generic, or type-based variable names. Name variables clearly.

There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things. — Phil Karlton

Hard-coding primitive strings and numbers without descriptions. If your logic relies on a constant primitive string or numeric value, identify it.

Avoiding simple difficulties with sloppy shortcuts and workarounds. Avoid evasion. Take stock.

Considering lengthier code better. Shorter code is usually preferable. Only write lengthier versions if they improve code readability. For instance, don't utilize clever one-liners and nested ternary statements just to make the code shorter. In any application, removing unneeded code is better.

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight. — Bill Gates

Excessive conditional logic. Conditional logic is unnecessary for most tasks. Choose based on readability. Measure performance before optimizing. Avoid Yoda conditions and conditional assignments.

4) Selecting the First Approach

When I started programming, I would solve an issue and move on. I would apply my initial solution without considering its intricacies and probable shortcomings.

After questioning all the solutions, the best ones usually emerge. If you can't think of several answers, you don't grasp the problem.

Programmers do not solve problems. Find the easiest solution. The solution must work well and be easy to read, comprehend, and maintain.

There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. — C.A.R. Hoare

5) Not Giving Up

I generally stick with the original solution even though it may not be the best. The not-quitting mentality may explain this. This mindset is helpful for most things, but not programming. Program writers should fail early and often.

If you doubt a solution, toss it and rethink the situation. No matter how much you put in that solution. GIT lets you branch off and try various solutions. Use it.

Do not be attached to code because of how much effort you put into it. Bad code needs to be discarded.

6) Avoiding Google

I've wasted time solving problems when I should have researched them first.

Unless you're employing cutting-edge technology, someone else has probably solved your problem. Google It First.

Googling may discover that what you think is an issue isn't and that you should embrace it. Do not presume you know everything needed to choose a solution. Google surprises.

But Google carefully. Newbies also copy code without knowing it. Use only code you understand, even if it solves your problem.

Never assume you know how to code creatively.

The most dangerous thought that you can have as a creative person is to think that you know what you’re doing. — Bret Victor

7) Failing to Use Encapsulation

Not about object-oriented paradigm. Encapsulation is always useful. Unencapsulated systems are difficult to maintain.

An application should only handle a feature once. One object handles that. The application's other objects should only see what's essential. Reducing application dependencies is not about secrecy. Following these guidelines lets you safely update class, object, and function internals without breaking things.

Classify logic and state concepts. Class means blueprint template. Class or Function objects are possible. It could be a Module or Package.

Self-contained tasks need methods in a logic class. Methods should accomplish one thing well. Similar classes should share method names.

As a rookie programmer, I didn't always establish a new class for a conceptual unit or recognize self-contained units. Newbie code has a Util class full of unrelated code. Another symptom of novice code is when a small change cascades and requires numerous other adjustments.

Think before adding a method or new responsibilities to a method. Time's needed. Avoid skipping or refactoring. Start right.

High Cohesion and Low Coupling involves grouping relevant code in a class and reducing class dependencies.

8) Arranging for Uncertainty

Thinking beyond your solution is appealing. Every line of code will bring up what-ifs. This is excellent for edge cases but not for foreseeable needs.

Your what-ifs must fall into one of these two categories. Write only code you need today. Avoid future planning.

Writing a feature for future use is improper. No.

Write only the code you need today for your solution. Handle edge-cases, but don't introduce edge-features.

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. — Edward Abbey

9) Making the incorrect data structure choices

Beginner programmers often overemphasize algorithms when preparing for interviews. Good algorithms should be identified and used when needed, but memorizing them won't make you a programming genius.

However, learning your language's data structures' strengths and shortcomings will make you a better developer.

The improper data structure shouts "newbie coding" here.

Let me give you a few instances of data structures without teaching you:

Managing records with arrays instead of maps (objects).

Most data structure mistakes include using lists instead of maps to manage records. Use a map to organize a list of records.

This list of records has an identifier to look up each entry. Lists for scalar values are OK and frequently superior, especially if the focus is pushing values to the list.

Arrays and objects are the most common JavaScript list and map structures, respectively (there is also a map structure in modern JavaScript).

Lists over maps for record management often fail. I recommend always using this point, even though it only applies to huge collections. This is crucial because maps are faster than lists in looking up records by identifier.

Stackless

Simple recursive functions are often tempting when writing recursive programming. In single-threaded settings, optimizing recursive code is difficult.

Recursive function returns determine code optimization. Optimizing a recursive function that returns two or more calls to itself is harder than optimizing a single call.

Beginners overlook the alternative to recursive functions. Use Stack. Push function calls to a stack and start popping them out to traverse them back.

10) Worsening the current code

Imagine this:

Add an item to that room. You might want to store that object anywhere as it's a mess. You can finish in seconds.

Not with messy code. Do not worsen! Keep the code cleaner than when you started.

Clean the room above to place the new object. If the item is clothing, clear a route to the closet. That's proper execution.

The following bad habits frequently make code worse:

  • code duplication You are merely duplicating code and creating more chaos if you copy/paste a code block and then alter just the line after that. This would be equivalent to adding another chair with a lower base rather than purchasing a new chair with a height-adjustable seat in the context of the aforementioned dirty room example. Always keep abstraction in mind, and use it when appropriate.

  • utilizing configuration files not at all. A configuration file should contain the value you need to utilize if it may differ in certain circumstances or at different times. A configuration file should contain a value if you need to use it across numerous lines of code. Every time you add a new value to the code, simply ask yourself: "Does this value belong in a configuration file?" The most likely response is "yes."

  • using temporary variables and pointless conditional statements. Every if-statement represents a logic branch that should at the very least be tested twice. When avoiding conditionals doesn't compromise readability, it should be done. The main issue with this is that branch logic is being used to extend an existing function rather than creating a new function. Are you altering the code at the appropriate level, or should you go think about the issue at a higher level every time you feel you need an if-statement or a new function variable?

This code illustrates superfluous if-statements:

function isOdd(number) {
  if (number % 2 === 1) {
    return true;
  } else {
    return false;
  }
}

Can you spot the biggest issue with the isOdd function above?

Unnecessary if-statement. Similar code:

function isOdd(number) {
  return (number % 2 === 1);
};

11) Making remarks on things that are obvious

I've learnt to avoid comments. Most code comments can be renamed.

instead of:

// This function sums only odd numbers in an array
const sum = (val) => {
  return val.reduce((a, b) => {
    if (b % 2 === 1) { // If the current number is odd
      a+=b;            // Add current number to accumulator
    }
    return a;          // The accumulator
  }, 0);
};

Commentless code looks like this:

const sumOddValues = (array) => {
  return array.reduce((accumulator, currentNumber) => {
    if (isOdd(currentNumber)) { 
      return accumulator + currentNumber;
    }
    return accumulator;
  }, 0);
};

Better function and argument names eliminate most comments. Remember that before commenting.

Sometimes you have to use comments to clarify the code. This is when your comments should answer WHY this code rather than WHAT it does.

Do not write a WHAT remark to clarify the code. Here are some unnecessary comments that clutter code:

// create a variable and initialize it to 0
let sum = 0;
// Loop over array
array.forEach(
  // For each number in the array
  (number) => {
    // Add the current number to the sum variable
    sum += number;
  }
);

Avoid that programmer. Reject that code. Remove such comments if necessary. Most importantly, teach programmers how awful these remarks are. Tell programmers who publish remarks like this that they may lose their jobs. That terrible.

12) Skipping tests

I'll simplify. If you develop code without tests because you think you're an excellent programmer, you're a rookie.

If you're not writing tests in code, you're probably testing manually. Every few lines of code in a web application will be refreshed and interacted with. Also. Manual code testing is fine. To learn how to automatically test your code, manually test it. After testing your application, return to your code editor and write code to automatically perform the same interaction the next time you add code.

Human. After each code update, you will forget to test all successful validations. Automate it!

Before writing code to fulfill validations, guess or design them. TDD is real. It improves your feature design thinking.

If you can use TDD, even partially, do so.

13) Making the assumption that if something is working, it must be right.

See this sumOddValues function. Is it flawed?

const sumOddValues = (array) => {
  return array.reduce((accumulator, currentNumber) => {
    if (currentNumber % 2 === 1) { 
      return accumulator + currentNumber;
    }
    return accumulator;
  });
};
 
 
console.assert(
  sumOddValues([1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) === 9
);

Verified. Good life. Correct?

Code above is incomplete. It handles some scenarios correctly, including the assumption used, but it has many other issues. I'll list some:

#1: No empty input handling. What happens when the function is called without arguments? That results in an error revealing the function's implementation:

TypeError: Cannot read property 'reduce' of undefined.

Two main factors indicate faulty code.

  • Your function's users shouldn't come across implementation-related information.

  • The user cannot benefit from the error. Simply said, they were unable to use your function. They would be aware that they misused the function if the error was more obvious about the usage issue. You might decide to make the function throw a custom exception, for instance:

TypeError: Cannot execute function for empty list.

Instead of returning an error, your method should disregard empty input and return a sum of 0. This case requires action.

Problem #2: No input validation. What happens if the function is invoked with a text, integer, or object instead of an array?

The function now throws:

sumOddValues(42);
TypeError: array.reduce is not a function

Unfortunately, array. cut's a function!

The function labels anything you call it with (42 in the example above) as array because we named the argument array. The error says 42.reduce is not a function.

See how that error confuses? An mistake like:

TypeError: 42 is not an array, dude.

Edge-cases are #1 and #2. These edge-cases are typical, but you should also consider less obvious ones. Negative numbers—what happens?

sumOddValues([1, 2, 3, 4, 5, -13]) // => still 9

-13's unusual. Is this the desired function behavior? Error? Should it sum negative numbers? Should it keep ignoring negative numbers? You may notice the function should have been titled sumPositiveOddNumbers.

This decision is simple. The more essential point is that if you don't write a test case to document your decision, future function maintainers won't know if you ignored negative values intentionally or accidentally.

It’s not a bug. It’s a feature. — Someone who forgot a test case

#3: Valid cases are not tested. Forget edge-cases, this function mishandles a straightforward case:

sumOddValues([2, 1, 3, 4, 5]) // => 11

The 2 above was wrongly included in sum.

The solution is simple: reduce accepts a second input to initialize the accumulator. Reduce will use the first value in the collection as the accumulator if that argument is not provided, like in the code above. The sum included the test case's first even value.

This test case should have been included in the tests along with many others, such as all-even numbers, a list with 0 in it, and an empty list.

Newbie code also has rudimentary tests that disregard edge-cases.

14) Adhering to Current Law

Unless you're a lone supercoder, you'll encounter stupid code. Beginners don't identify it and assume it's decent code because it works and has been in the codebase for a while.

Worse, if the terrible code uses bad practices, the newbie may be enticed to use them elsewhere in the codebase since they learnt them from good code.

A unique condition may have pushed the developer to write faulty code. This is a nice spot for a thorough note that informs newbies about that condition and why the code is written that way.

Beginners should presume that undocumented code they don't understand is bad. Ask. Enquire. Blame it!

If the code's author is dead or can't remember it, research and understand it. Only after understanding the code can you judge its quality. Before that, presume nothing.

15) Being fixated on best practices

Best practices damage. It suggests no further research. Best practice ever. No doubts!

No best practices. Today's programming language may have good practices.

Programming best practices are now considered bad practices.

Time will reveal better methods. Focus on your strengths, not best practices.

Do not do anything because you read a quote, saw someone else do it, or heard it is a recommended practice. This contains all my article advice! Ask questions, challenge theories, know your options, and make informed decisions.

16) Being preoccupied with performance

Premature optimization is the root of all evil (or at least most of it) in programming — Donald Knuth (1974)

I think Donald Knuth's advice is still relevant today, even though programming has changed.

Do not optimize code if you cannot measure the suspected performance problem.

Optimizing before code execution is likely premature. You may possibly be wasting time optimizing.

There are obvious optimizations to consider when writing new code. You must not flood the event loop or block the call stack in Node.js. Remember this early optimization. Will this code block the call stack?

Avoid non-obvious code optimization without measurements. If done, your performance boost may cause new issues.

Stop optimizing unmeasured performance issues.

17) Missing the End-User Experience as a Goal

How can an app add a feature easily? Look at it from your perspective or in the existing User Interface. Right? Add it to the form if the feature captures user input. Add it to your nested menu of links if it adds a link to a page.

Avoid that developer. Be a professional who empathizes with customers. They imagine this feature's consumers' needs and behavior. They focus on making the feature easy to find and use, not just adding it to the software.

18) Choosing the incorrect tool for the task

Every programmer has their preferred tools. Most tools are good for one thing and bad for others.

The worst tool for screwing in a screw is a hammer. Do not use your favorite hammer on a screw. Don't use Amazon's most popular hammer on a screw.

A true beginner relies on tool popularity rather than problem fit.

You may not know the best tools for a project. You may know the best tool. However, it wouldn't rank high. You must learn your tools and be open to new ones.

Some coders shun new tools. They like their tools and don't want to learn new ones. I can relate, but it's wrong.

You can build a house slowly with basic tools or rapidly with superior tools. You must learn and use new tools.

19) Failing to recognize that data issues are caused by code issues

Programs commonly manage data. The software will add, delete, and change records.

Even the simplest programming errors can make data unpredictable. Especially if the same defective application validates all data.

Code-data relationships may be confusing for beginners. They may employ broken code in production since feature X is not critical. Buggy coding may cause hidden data integrity issues.

Worse, deploying code that corrected flaws without fixing minor data problems caused by these defects will only collect more data problems that take the situation into the unrecoverable-level category.

How do you avoid these issues? Simply employ numerous data integrity validation levels. Use several interfaces. Front-end, back-end, network, and database validations. If not, apply database constraints.

Use all database constraints when adding columns and tables:

  • If a column has a NOT NULL constraint, null values will be rejected for that column. If your application expects that field has a value, your database should designate its source as not null.

  • If a column has a UNIQUE constraint, the entire table cannot include duplicate values for that column. This is ideal for a username or email field on a Users table, for instance.

  • For the data to be accepted, a CHECK constraint, or custom expression, must evaluate to true. For instance, you can apply a check constraint to ensure that the values of a normal % column must fall within the range of 0 and 100.

  • With a PRIMARY KEY constraint, the values of the columns must be both distinct and not null. This one is presumably what you're utilizing. To distinguish the records in each table, the database needs have a primary key.

  • A FOREIGN KEY constraint requires that the values in one database column, typically a primary key, match those in another table column.

Transaction apathy is another data integrity issue for newbies. If numerous actions affect the same data source and depend on each other, they must be wrapped in a transaction that can be rolled back if one fails.

20) Reinventing the Wheel

Tricky. Some programming wheels need reinvention. Programming is undefined. New requirements and changes happen faster than any team can handle.

Instead of modifying the wheel we all adore, maybe we should rethink it if you need a wheel that spins at varied speeds depending on the time of day. If you don't require a non-standard wheel, don't reinvent it. Use the darn wheel.

Wheel brands can be hard to choose from. Research and test before buying! Most software wheels are free and transparent. Internal design quality lets you evaluate coding wheels. Try open-source wheels. Debug and fix open-source software simply. They're easily replaceable. In-house support is also easy.

If you need a wheel, don't buy a new automobile and put your maintained car on top. Do not include a library to use a few functions. Lodash in JavaScript is the finest example. Import shuffle to shuffle an array. Don't import lodash.

21) Adopting the incorrect perspective on code reviews

Beginners often see code reviews as criticism. Dislike them. Not appreciated. Even fear them.

Incorrect. If so, modify your mindset immediately. Learn from every code review. Salute them. Observe. Most crucial, thank reviewers who teach you.

Always learning code. Accept it. Most code reviews teach something new. Use these for learning.

You may need to correct the reviewer. If your code didn't make that evident, it may need to be changed. If you must teach your reviewer, remember that teaching is one of the most enjoyable things a programmer can do.

22) Not Using Source Control

Newbies often underestimate Git's capabilities.

Source control is more than sharing your modifications. It's much bigger. Clear history is source control. The history of coding will assist address complex problems. Commit messages matter. They are another way to communicate your implementations, and utilizing them with modest commits helps future maintainers understand how the code got where it is.

Commit early and often with present-tense verbs. Summarize your messages but be detailed. If you need more than a few lines, your commit is too long. Rebase!

Avoid needless commit messages. Commit summaries should not list new, changed, or deleted files. Git commands can display that list from the commit object. The summary message would be noise. I think a big commit has many summaries per file altered.

Source control involves discoverability. You can discover the commit that introduced a function and see its context if you doubt its need or design. Commits can even pinpoint which code caused a bug. Git has a binary search within commits (bisect) to find the bug-causing commit.

Source control can be used before commits to great effect. Staging changes, patching selectively, resetting, stashing, editing, applying, diffing, reversing, and others enrich your coding flow. Know, use, and enjoy them.

I consider a Git rookie someone who knows less functionalities.

23) Excessive Use of Shared State

Again, this is not about functional programming vs. other paradigms. That's another article.

Shared state is problematic and should be avoided if feasible. If not, use shared state as little as possible.

As a new programmer, I didn't know that all variables represent shared states. All variables in the same scope can change its data. Global scope reduces shared state span. Keep new states in limited scopes and avoid upward leakage.

When numerous resources modify common state in the same event loop tick, the situation becomes severe (in event-loop-based environments). Races happen.

This shared state race condition problem may encourage a rookie to utilize a timer, especially if they have a data lock issue. Red flag. No. Never accept it.

24) Adopting the Wrong Mentality Toward Errors

Errors are good. Progress. They indicate a simple way to improve.

Expert programmers enjoy errors. Newbies detest them.

If these lovely red error warnings irritate you, modify your mindset. Consider them helpers. Handle them. Use them to advance.

Some errors need exceptions. Plan for user-defined exceptions. Ignore some mistakes. Crash and exit the app.

25) Ignoring rest periods

Humans require mental breaks. Take breaks. In the zone, you'll forget breaks. Another symptom of beginners. No compromises. Make breaks mandatory in your process. Take frequent pauses. Take a little walk to plan your next move. Reread the code.

This has been a long post. You deserve a break.

Jari Roomer

Jari Roomer

2 years ago

After 240 articles and 2.5M views on Medium, 9 Raw Writing Tips

Late in 2018, I published my first Medium article, but I didn't start writing seriously until 2019. Since then, I've written more than 240 articles, earned over $50,000 through Medium's Partner Program, and had over 2.5 million page views.

Write A Lot

Most people don't have the patience and persistence for this simple writing secret:

Write + Write + Write = possible success

Writing more improves your skills.

The more articles you publish, the more likely one will go viral.

If you only publish once a month, you have no views. If you publish 10 or 20 articles a month, your success odds increase 10- or 20-fold.

Tim Denning, Ayodeji Awosika, Megan Holstein, and Zulie Rane. Medium is their jam. How are these authors alike? They're productive and consistent. They're prolific.

80% is publishable

Many writers battle perfectionism. 

To succeed as a writer, you must publish often. You'll never publish if you aim for perfection.

Adopt the 80 percent-is-good-enough mindset to publish more. It sounds terrible, but it'll boost your writing success.

Your work won't be perfect. Always improve. Waiting for perfection before publishing will take a long time.

Second, readers are your true critics, not you. What you consider "not perfect" may be life-changing for the reader. Don't let perfectionism hinder the reader.

Don't let perfectionism hinder the reader. ou don't want to publish mediocre articles. When the article is 80% done, publish it. Don't spend hours editing. Realize it. Get feedback. Only this will work.

Make Your Headline Irresistible

We all judge books by their covers, despite the saying. And headlines. Readers, including yourself, judge articles by their titles. We use it to decide if an article is worth reading.

Make your headlines irresistible. Want more article views? Then, whether you like it or not, write an attractive article title.

Many high-quality articles are collecting dust because of dull, vague headlines. It didn't make the reader click.

As a writer, you must do more than produce quality content. You must also make people click on your article. This is a writer's job. How to create irresistible headlines:

Curiosity makes readers click. Here's a tempting example...

  • Example: What Women Actually Look For in a Guy, According to a Huge Study by Luba Sigaud

Use Numbers: Click-bait lists. I mean, which article would you click first? ‘Some ways to improve your productivity’ or ’17 ways to improve your productivity.’ Which would I click?

  • Example: 9 Uncomfortable Truths You Should Accept Early in Life by Sinem Günel

Most headlines are dull. If you want clicks, get 'sexy'. Buzzword-ify. Invoke emotion. Trendy words.

  • Example: 20 Realistic Micro-Habits To Live Better Every Day by Amardeep Parmar

Concise paragraphs

Our culture lacks focus. If your headline gets a click, keep paragraphs short to keep readers' attention.

Some writers use 6–8 lines per paragraph, but I prefer 3–4. Longer paragraphs lose readers' interest.

A writer should help the reader finish an article, in my opinion. I consider it a job requirement. You can't force readers to finish an article, but you can make it 'snackable'

Help readers finish an article with concise paragraphs, interesting subheadings, exciting images, clever formatting, or bold attention grabbers.

Work And Move On

I've learned over the years not to get too attached to my articles. Many writers report a strange phenomenon:

The articles you're most excited about usually bomb, while the ones you're not tend to do well.

This isn't always true, but I've noticed it in my own writing. My hopes for an article usually make it worse. The more objective I am, the better an article does.

Let go of a finished article. 40 or 40,000 views, whatever. Now let the article do its job. Onward. Next story. Start another project.

Disregard Haters

Online content creators will encounter haters, whether on YouTube, Instagram, or Medium. More views equal more haters. Fun, right?

As a web content creator, I learned:

Don't debate haters. Never.

It's a mistake I've made several times. It's tempting to prove haters wrong, but they'll always find a way to be 'right'. Your response is their fuel.

I smile and ignore hateful comments. I'm indifferent. I won't enter a negative environment. I have goals, money, and a life to build. "I'm not paid to argue," Drake once said.

Use Grammarly

Grammarly saves me as a non-native English speaker. You know Grammarly. It shows writing errors and makes article suggestions.

As a writer, you need Grammarly. I have a paid plan, but their free version works. It improved my writing greatly.

Put The Reader First, Not Yourself

Many writers write for themselves. They focus on themselves rather than the reader.

Ask yourself:

This article teaches what? How can they be entertained or educated?

Personal examples and experiences improve writing quality. Don't focus on yourself.

It's not about you, the content creator. Reader-focused. Putting the reader first will change things.

Extreme ownership: Stop blaming others

I remember writing a lot on Medium but not getting many views. I blamed Medium first. Poor algorithm. Poor publishing. All sucked.

Instead of looking at what I could do better, I blamed others.

When you blame others, you lose power. Owning your results gives you power.

As a content creator, you must take full responsibility. Extreme ownership means 100% responsibility for work and results.

You don’t blame others. You don't blame the economy, president, platform, founders, or audience. Instead, you look for ways to improve. Few people can do this.

Blaming is useless. Zero. Taking ownership of your work and results will help you progress. It makes you smarter, better, and stronger.

Instead of blaming others, you'll learn writing, marketing, copywriting, content creation, productivity, and other skills. Game-changer.

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Ellane W

Ellane W

1 year ago

The Last To-Do List Template I'll Ever Need, Years in the Making

The holy grail of plain text task management is finally within reach

Walking away from productivity civilization to my house in the plain text jungle. Image used under licence from jumpstory.

Plain text task management? Are you serious?? Dedicated task managers exist for a reason, you know. Sheesh.

—Oh, I know. Believe me, I know! But hear me out.

I've managed projects and tasks in plain text for more than four years. Since reorganizing my to-do list, plain text task management is within reach.

Data completely yours? One billion percent. Beef it up with coding? Be my guest.

Enter: The List

The answer? A list. That’s it!

Write down tasks. Obsidian, Notenik, Drafts, or iA Writer are good plain text note-taking apps.

List too long? Of course, it is! A large list tells you what to do. Feel the itch and friction. Then fix it.

  • But I want to be able to distinguish between work and personal life! List two things.

  • However, I need to know what should be completed first. Put those items at the top.

  • However, some things keep coming up, and I need to be reminded of them! Put those in your calendar and make an alarm for them.

  • But since individual X hasn't completed task Y, I can't proceed with this. Create a Waiting section on your list by dividing it.

  • But I must know what I'm supposed to be doing right now! Read your list(s). Check your calendar. Think critically.

Before I begin a new one, I remind myself that "Listory Never Repeats."

There’s no such thing as too many lists if all are needed. There is such a thing as too many lists if you make them before they’re needed. Before they complain that their previous room was small or too crowded or needed a new light.

A list that feels too long has a voice; it’s telling you what to do next.

I use one Master List. It's a control panel that tells me what to focus on short-term. If something doesn't need semi-immediate attention, it goes on my Backlog list.

Todd Lewandowski's DWTS (Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon) performance deserves praise. His DWTS to-do list structure has transformed my plain-text task management. I didn't realize it was upside down.

This is my take on it:

D = Done

Move finished items here. If they pile up, clear them out every week or month. I have a Done Archive folder.

W = Waiting

Things seething in the background, awaiting action. Stir them occasionally so they don't burn.

T = Top 3

Three priorities. Personal comes first, then work. There will always be a top 3 (no more than 5) in every category. Projects, not chores, usually.

S = Soon

This part is action-oriented. It's for anything you can accomplish to finish one of the Top 3. This collection includes thoughts and project lists. The sole requirement is that they should be short-term goals.

Some of you have probably concluded this isn't for you. Please read Todd's piece before throwing out the baby. Often. You shouldn't miss a newborn.

As much as Dancing With The Stars helps me recall this method, I may try switching their order. TSWD; Drilling Tunnel Seismic? Serenity After Task?

Master List Showcase

To Do list screenshot by Author

My Master List lives alone in its own file, but sometimes appears in other places.  It's included in my Weekly List template. Here's a (soon-to-be-updated) demo vault of my Obsidian planning setup to download for free.

Here's the code behind my weekly screenshot:

## [[Master List - 2022|✓]]  TO DO

![[Master List - 2022]]

FYI, I use the Minimal Theme in Obsidian, with a few tweaks.

You may note I'm utilizing a checkmark as a link. For me, that's easier than locating the proper spot to click on the embed.

Blue headings for Done and Waiting are links. Done links to the Done Archive page and Waiting to a general waiting page.

Read my full article here.

Sanjay Priyadarshi

Sanjay Priyadarshi

1 year ago

A 19-year-old dropped out of college to build a $2,300,000,000 company in 2 years.

His success was unforeseeable.

2014 saw Facebook's $2.3 billion purchase of Oculus VR.

19-year-old Palmer Luckey founded Oculus. He quit journalism school. His parents worried about his college dropout.

Facebook bought Oculus VR in less than 2 years.

Palmer Luckey started Anduril Industries. Palmer has raised $385 million with Anduril.

The Oculus journey began in a trailer

Palmer Luckey, 19, owned the trailer.

Luckey had his trailer customized. The trailer had all six of Luckey's screens. In the trailer's remaining area, Luckey conducted hardware tests.

At 16, he became obsessed with virtual reality. Virtual reality was rare at the time.

Luckey didn't know about VR when he started.

Previously, he liked "portabilizing" mods. Hacking ancient game consoles into handhelds.

In his city, fewer portabilizers actively traded.

Luckey started "ModRetro" for other portabilizers. Luckey was exposed to VR headsets online.

Luckey:

“Man, ModRetro days were the best.”

Palmer Luckey used VR headsets for three years. His design had 50 prototypes.

Luckey used to work at the Long Beach Sailing Center for minimum salary, servicing diesel engines and cleaning boats.

Luckey worked in a USC Institute for Creative Technologies mixed reality lab in July 2011. (ICT).

Luckey cleaned the lab, did reports, and helped other students with VR projects.

Luckey's lab job was dull.

Luckey chose to work in the lab because he wanted to engage with like-minded folks.

By 2012, Luckey had a prototype he hoped to share globally. He made cheaper headsets than others.

Luckey wanted to sell an easy-to-assemble virtual reality kit on Kickstarter.

He realized he needed a corporation to do these sales legally. He started looking for names. "Virtuality," "virtual," and "VR" are all taken.

Hence, Oculus.

If Luckey sold a hundred prototypes, he would be thrilled since it would boost his future possibilities.

John Carmack, legendary game designer

Carmack has liked sci-fi and fantasy since infancy.

Carmack loved imagining intricate gaming worlds.

His interest in programming and computer science grew with age.

He liked graphics. He liked how mismatching 0 and 1 might create new colors and visuals.

Carmack played computer games as a teen. He created Shadowforge in high school.

He founded Id software in 1991. When Carmack created id software, console games were the best-sellers.

Old computer games have weak graphics. John Carmack and id software developed "adaptive tile refresh."

This technique smoothed PC game scrolling. id software launched 3-D, Quake, and Doom using "adaptive tile refresh."

These games made John Carmack a gaming star. Later, he sold Id software to ZeniMax Media.

How Palmer Luckey met Carmack

In 2011, Carmack was thinking a lot about 3-D space and virtual reality.

He was underwhelmed by the greatest HMD on the market. Because of their flimsiness and latency.

His disappointment was partly due to the view (FOV). Best HMD had 40-degree field of view.

Poor. The best VR headset is useless with a 40-degree FOV.

Carmack intended to show the press Doom 3 in VR. He explored VR headsets and internet groups for this reason.

Carmack identified a VR enthusiast in the comments section of "LEEP on the Cheap." "PalmerTech" was the name.

Carmack approached PalmerTech about his prototype. He told Luckey about his VR demos, so he wanted to see his prototype.

Carmack got a Rift prototype. Here's his May 17 tweet.

John Carmack tweeted an evaluation of the Luckey prototype.

Dan Newell, a Valve engineer, and Mick Hocking, a Sony senior director, pre-ordered Oculus Rift prototypes with Carmack's help.

Everyone praised Luckey after Carmack demoed Rift.

Palmer Luckey received a job offer from Sony.

  • It was a full-time position at Sony Computer Europe.

  • He would run Sony’s R&D lab.

  • The salary would be $70k.

Who is Brendan Iribe?

Brendan Iribe started early with Startups. In 2004, he and Mike Antonov founded Scaleform.

Scaleform created high-performance middleware. This package allows 3D Flash games.

In 2011, Iribe sold Scaleform to Autodesk for $36 million.

How Brendan Iribe discovered Palmer Luckey.

Brendan Iribe's friend Laurent Scallie.

Laurent told Iribe about a potential opportunity.

Laurent promised Iribe VR will work this time. Laurent introduced Iribe to Luckey.

Iribe was doubtful after hearing Laurent's statements. He doubted Laurent's VR claims.

But since Laurent took the name John Carmack, Iribe thought he should look at Luckey Innovation. Iribe was hooked on virtual reality after reading Palmer Luckey stories.

He asked Scallie about Palmer Luckey.

Iribe convinced Luckey to start Oculus with him

First meeting between Palmer Luckey and Iribe.

The Iribe team wanted Luckey to feel comfortable.

Iribe sought to convince Luckey that launching a company was easy. Iribe told Luckey anyone could start a business.

Luckey told Iribe's staff he was homeschooled from childhood. Luckey took self-study courses.

Luckey had planned to launch a Kickstarter campaign and sell kits for his prototype. Many companies offered him jobs, nevertheless.

He's considering Sony's offer.

Iribe advised Luckey to stay independent and not join a firm. Iribe asked Luckey how he could raise his child better. No one sees your baby like you do?

Iribe's team pushed Luckey to stay independent and establish a software ecosystem around his device.

After conversing with Iribe, Luckey rejected every job offer and merger option.

Iribe convinced Luckey to provide an SDK for Oculus developers.

After a few months. Brendan Iribe co-founded Oculus with Palmer Luckey. Luckey trusted Iribe and his crew, so he started a corporation with him.

Crowdfunding

Brendan Iribe and Palmer Luckey launched a Kickstarter.

Gabe Newell endorsed Palmer's Kickstarter video.

Gabe Newell wants folks to trust Palmer Luckey since he's doing something fascinating and answering tough questions.

Mark Bolas and David Helgason backed Palmer Luckey's VR Kickstarter video.

Luckey introduced Oculus Rift during the Kickstarter campaign. He introduced virtual reality during press conferences.

Oculus' Kickstarter effort was a success. Palmer Luckey felt he could raise $250,000.

Oculus raised $2.4 million through Kickstarter. Palmer Luckey's virtual reality vision was well-received.

Mark Zuckerberg's Oculus discovery

Brendan Iribe and Palmer Luckey hired the right personnel after a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Oculus needs a lot of money for engineers and hardware. They needed investors' money.

Series A raised $16M.

Next, Andreessen Horowitz partner Brain Cho approached Iribe.

Cho told Iribe that Andreessen Horowitz could invest in Oculus Series B if the company solved motion sickness.

Mark Andreessen was Iribe's dream client.

Marc Andreessen and his partners gave Oculus $75 million.

Andreessen introduced Iribe to Zukerberg. Iribe and Zukerberg discussed the future of games and virtual reality by phone.

Facebook's Oculus demo

Iribe showed Zuckerberg Oculus.

Mark was hooked after using Oculus. The headset impressed him.

The whole Facebook crew who saw the demo said only one thing.

“Holy Crap!”

This surprised them all.

Mark Zuckerberg was impressed by the team's response. Mark Zuckerberg met the Oculus team five days after the demo.

First meeting Palmer Luckey.

Palmer Luckey is one of Mark's biggest supporters and loves Facebook.

Oculus Acquisition

Zuckerberg wanted Oculus.

Brendan Iribe had requested for $4 billion, but Mark wasn't interested.

Facebook bought Oculus for $2.3 billion after months of drama.

After selling his company, how does Palmer view money?

Palmer loves the freedom money gives him. Money frees him from small worries.

Money has allowed him to pursue things he wouldn't have otherwise.

“If I didn’t have money I wouldn’t have a collection of vintage military vehicles…You can have nice hobbies that keep you relaxed when you have money.”

He didn't start Oculus to generate money. His virtual reality passion spanned years.

He didn't have to lie about how virtual reality will transform everything until he needed funding.

The company's success was an unexpected bonus. He was merely passionate about a good cause.

After Oculus' $2.3 billion exit, what changed?

Palmer didn't mind being rich. He did similar things.

After Facebook bought Oculus, he moved to Silicon Valley and lived in a 12-person shared house due to high rents.

Palmer might have afforded a big mansion, but he prefers stability and doing things because he wants to, not because he has to.

“Taco Bell is never tasted so good as when you know you could afford to never eat taco bell again.”

Palmer's leadership shifted.

Palmer changed his leadership after selling Oculus.

When he launched his second company, he couldn't work on his passions.

“When you start a tech company you do it because you want to work on a technology, that is why you are interested in that space in the first place. As the company has grown, he has realized that if he is still doing optical design in the company it’s because he is being negligent about the hiring process.”

Once his startup grows, the founder's responsibilities shift. He must recruit better firm managers.

Recruiting talented people becomes the top priority. The founder must convince others of their influence.

A book that helped me write this:

The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality — Blake Harris


*This post is a summary. Read the full article here.

Taher Batterywala

Taher Batterywala

1 year ago

Do You Have Focus Issues? Use These 5 Simple Habits

Many can't concentrate. The first 20% of the day isn't optimized.

Elon Musk, Tony Robbins, and Bill Gates share something:

Morning Routines.

A repeatable morning ritual saves time.

The result?

Time for hobbies.

I'll discuss 5 easy morning routines you can use.

1. Stop pressing snooze

Waking up starts the day. You disrupt your routine by hitting snooze.

One sleep becomes three. Your morning routine gets derailed.

Fix it:

Hide your phone. This disables snooze and wakes you up.

Once awake, staying awake is 10x easier. Simple trick, big results.

2. Drink water

Chronic dehydration is common. Mostly urban, air-conditioned workers/residents.

2% cerebral dehydration causes short-term memory loss.

Dehydration shrinks brain cells.

Drink 3-4 liters of water daily to avoid this.

3. Improve your focus

How to focus better?

Meditation.

  • Improve your mood

  • Enhance your memory

  • increase mental clarity

  • Reduce blood pressure and stress

Headspace helps with the habit.

Here's a meditation guide.

  1. Sit comfortably

  2. Shut your eyes.

  3. Concentrate on your breathing

  4. Breathe in through your nose

  5. Breathe out your mouth.

5 in, 5 out.

Repeat for 1 to 20 minutes.

Here's a beginner's video:

4. Workout

Exercise raises:

  • Mental Health

  • Effort levels

  • focus and memory

15-60 minutes of fun:

  • Exercise Lifting

  • Running

  • Walking

  • Stretching and yoga

This helps you now and later.

5. Keep a journal

You have countless thoughts daily. Many quietly steal your focus.

Here’s how to clear these:

Write for 5-10 minutes.

You'll gain 2x more mental clarity.

Recap

5 morning practices for 5x more productivity:

  1. Say no to snoozing

  2. Hydrate

  3. Improve your focus

  4. Exercise

  5. Journaling

Conclusion

One step starts a thousand-mile journey. Try these easy yet effective behaviors if you have trouble concentrating or have too many thoughts.

Start with one of these behaviors, then add the others. Its astonishing results are instant.