Master of Your Own Making

Becoming a Master

You are your own master, you make your own future. Therefore discipline yourself as a horse-dealer trains a thoroughbred” - Buddha

Malcolm Gladwell argued in his book, Outliers, that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill is spending 10,000 hours working on it. However, this theory was debunked in a study with concert violinists, concluding that practice does not always make perfect. *Initiate deep universal breath.*

In an essay on the unavoidable problem of self improvement, Ramana Kumar discusses what's required for machine learning models to become masters of their domains:

In order for a dramatic improvement to occur — one that encompasses new skills, tools, or the creation of more advanced AI agents — current AI systems need a human to provide them with new code and a new training algorithm, among other things.

For us this week, we're finishing up hacking at ETHDenver, hoping to master the latest in the ethereum space by our own standards.

🤓 When it’s appropriate to “make a quick fix” on your prototype during a meeting, and maybe when you should hold back
 — A bunch of cheat codes for how to run various projects on Figma. Includes methodologies for not ONLY designers, but yes, you developers too who want to play with the API. Tips and tricks range from animation, to product design, project management, illustration, research, and branding. Most of the files shown in this video are available in Figma community to play with.

🧳 Opinion: `Post-COVID Silicon Valley` isn’t a place
Kim-Mai Cutler
 — Bottom line: Fully remote or distributed work is now possible at a level that’s never happened before, and so the benefits of recruiting from anywhere in the world may outweigh this.

💬 The Deno team provides an excellent retrospective on development in 2020. Month-by-month milestones showing a solid cadence toward a production-ready runtime. But should you use it yet?
 — Deno (an anagram for Node) is a runtime for Javascript with TypeScript support out of the box. It is built in Rust on V8, so it's super fast. Also, it boasts fantastic security by default -- there's no filesystem or network access unless your program explicitly allows it!

Sounds great, right? But it may not be time to convert an existing codebase. That's not a small undertaking, there are definite drawbacks: third party modules are not one-to-one with Node.js's ecosystem, Deno lacks webcrypto API support, and the Deno runtime isn't available on many hosting services.

That said, if you have a project in mind that could benefit from raw speed, Rust plugins, building a single-file executable, and the many benefits of TypeScript -- all without the awkward parts of Node; Deno should definitely be considered for greenfield projects.

😫 Following the Robinhood Saga, the Demand for Decentralization Has Never Been Higher
 — The WallStreetBets vs. hedge funds events have brought light to a great deal about finance in the US: how funds manipulate markets, brokerages' proximity to the interests of Wall Street, and the lengths The Crowd will go to in order to exert pressure on the powers that be.

But what would have happened if the financial institutions involved were decentralized? Completely transparent and immutable ledgers where trust in legacy establishments isn't required. This article explores ideas like "DeFi" -- Decentralized Finance. Definitely worth a read, even if you're only curious about the space.

💸. My freelancing workflow, from cold leads to paid invoices 
Sam Tanoak Sycamore 
— Many (established and aspiring) software developers experience the urge to strike out on their own. For some, like @tanoaksam, the transition comes whether you're ready or not.

Luckily for the rest of us, Sam documented his experience and tactics for generating new business, pitching a scope of work, signing a contract, delivering and getting paid.

🎻. The Path Toward Mastery — How To Become An Expert In Your Field
Iulian Gulea
 — Let's go back in time with some historical context around becoming a real master of one's craft. Bringing that forward, Iulian presents a compelling model for becoming an expert in something, breaking it down into Elements, Rules, Tools, Frameworks, and most importantly: Experience. He even has a follow-up piece about applying that model to software engineering.

As always, special shoutout to Taylor Beseda for helping curate this content.
Follow him on twitter @tbeseda.