Scott Radcliff

I Want To Start Teaching Again

Teaching is fun and I miss it. When I taught, I had this great sense of helping people that is really hard to describe until you teach someone. There is this real sense of pride in knowing that you helped someone acquire some skill that they didn’t have before they met you.

Most of this happened in a classroom for me. I learned a ton about how to approach teaching, but honestly, our secondary education system is awful. It’s all driven by money. They teach what the dollars tell them to. That is why I left. I could see the program that I was part of head in a direction that I didn’t agree with.

I’d like to teach again.

How do I want to approach this

I have a few ideas of how to approach this. After all, I’ve been thinking about this for years. But I think for now I would just like to use the Internet as my platform to produce teaching material. Tutorials, both written and video, and both here and elsewhere. Maybe a downloadable PDF or two. I might even have an ebook of some sort in me.

The Internet is the perfect platform for teaching. We have barely scratched the surface of what we can use the Internet for as far as learning/teaching is concerned. I would like to experiment with this. There are plenty of bootcamps, code schools, and similar options. But where are some of the experimental things that venture into new ways of learning? It’s worth noting that Code School is the best of any code school that I’ve seen. The way their system integrates learning and repetition into their screencast system is awesome.

The best thing about teaching is the learning. I wonder if I could pick things to learn by teaching and just start writing tutorials based on that? The problem with this is that I am teaching something I don’t know much about. This might work if it’s in small portions. Maybe something like the old Railscasts site. That might be fun.

Another option is to start a new site of just tutorials/learning materials. The downside to that is that I would have another site to maintain.

And yet another option would be to use something like YouTube to host some videos of learning materials.

Maybe it’s just as simple as a new section on this site.

The common core of all of these is that it’s some sort of publishing platform. If that’s the case, I’d like to own it. Putting my work on someone else’s platform is scary. Considering I have the skills to build my own system, I’d be stupid not to own the entire system.

At any rate, I have no idea will this end up. I do know that I would like to start small, and start branching out into technologies that are currently not being used.

Hits And Misses

Last night Kobe Bryant, arguably one of the best basketball players of all time, set a new NBA record. For misses.

He has missed 13,418 times. Yet, he has 5 championships.

He has 5 championships because he doesn't know how to quit.

This was a great reminder that no matter how many times I fail or screw things up, I need to get up and try again.

Shipping Something

Ouch. Seth Godin nails it. Again.

On taking the plunge and shipping something.

It's easy to be afraid of taking a plunge, because, after all, plunging is dangerous. And the fear is a safe way to do nothing at all.

Source: Taking The Plunge

What Would You Do With The Skills You Have If Not Driven By Money

I posted this to facebook yesterday. Just something that has been floating around my head lately.

There is this question that's been floating around in my head for two days. What would you do with the skills you have if not driven by money, but driven by societal change. In other words, if you could forget about money and only concentrate on touching/changing lives everyday, what would your work look like?

It's especially interesting in my field (software), where we throw millions at useless companies that provide very little value to society. What if we threw just a fraction of that to a company that really puts a dent in something real. Off the top of my head, I can think of hunger, homelessness, retraining the unemployed, domestic violence, human trafficking, and the list goes on and on.

What if you/I only worked on projects that helped improve humanity? The first issue is money. I mean we have to eat I don't have no answer "yet", but I have the beginnings of a thought. If we can throw 55K at potato salad, surely we can crowd fund a developer to work on nothing but software that promotes social good for a year.

To be continued...

Continuous Improvement

It's funny. I think a back to where I was when I was a total newb. There was so much I wasn't good at. It was easy to spot weakness. Pick one weak point and improve. When I thought that was at a good point, pick another one. Repeat. Eventually, through the process of elimination, I got better.

It's easy to lose this skill of noticing weakness and improving. Well, losing isn't the right word. Ignore is more fitting. It's easy to ignore your weaknesses, especially when you work alone.

The minute you join a team, those weaknesses are exposed with a total disregard as to whether you want to address them right now or not. You have to. The choice has been made. Level up.

Noticing Weaknesses and Building on it

At first, it just crushes your ego. It's like being a newb all over again. It's really easy to get down on yourself when you have done what you swore you would never do. You failed to keep up. You fell behind. But not all is lost. It's actually pretty easy to get back on your feet.

Setting Some Measurable Goal Each Week

First, pick one thing your not very good at. Maybe it's code reviews. Maybe it's testing the right things. It could even be as simple as communicating better. Actually, if you suck at communicating, do that first.

Once you have this skill you want to level up, make it your goal for the next week. But it has to be measurable. You have to be able to look at this week and know that it's better than it was last week.

It's really all about shipping

For me, it's all about shipping. If I am shipping more, I am leveling up somewhere. If it's communication that I am working on, and I shipped more software this week than I did last week, I can look and see why. If communication was a big part of that, it will show.

Than I move on to the next thing. Get better every week.

Solving Problems

This is a great piece about what it means to build software. This is exactly where I am at. Programming for programming sake doesn't excite nearly as much as it used to. Solving problems is what gets me up in the morning and excited to build software.

I’m not coding. I’m not building a business. I’m not going to school.

Yep. But I'm not totally on board with not building businesses. I think that's a part of it for me, just not the main part.

I’m here to solve problems.

Solving problems is the main part. The most important.

via Throwing Fireballs

Paul Graham On How To Start A Startup

By far the best talk from How to Start a Startup so far. Entertaining, informative, interesting, and valuable.

Seven Day Startup

7 Day Startup

Dan Norris has written a free e-book on starting a business in 7 days based on his experience. How you feel about the book will probably vary based on your exposure to the startup world and/or bootstrapping businesses. There is nothing about VC or pitches. Just a game plan for worrying only about stuff that matters and how Dan approaches his business.

I had heard most of this stuff before. But I did enjoy the book and it has changed my thoughts on an upcoming project.

Hey! It's free. Go read it.

Take Your Time

This is a great reminder to slow down and think. Do your best work.

Definitely something I struggle with.

Writing Good Software Takes Time

Code Is Art

Programmers need to claim the extraordinary nature of what they do.

Is Computer Coding Art?