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Topic: An Entirely Other Day - Wide vs. Deep

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Author: Seth Dillingham


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# 6096

An Entirely Other Day - Wide vs. Deep

An Entirely Other Day - Wide vs. Deep

So here’s my theory: Managers must work shallow and wide, while programmers must work narrow and deep. People who are naturally tuned to one particular method of work will not only enjoy their jobs a lot more, but be better at them. I’m a deep guy, I should be doing deep work.

This article and his theory remind me of something (er, someone) which seems to be completely unrelated: Michael Jordan. When he retired from the Bulls for the first time (shortly after his Dad died) to see if he could play Major League Baseball, he found it very difficult to hit those legendary pitches.

What's the connection? The pitching coach (of either the White Sox or the AA team where he played... the Barons?) said his problem was one of focus. When you play basketball, you have to be aware of everything going on around you all the time. Peripheral vision is key. When you're trying to hit a 90-mile-per-hour baseball, you need absolute tunnel vision, total focus on that one task.

That's the difference between managing and programming.

Like the author of "Wide vs. Deep," I've done both and I prefer programming. (Managing my crew at Macrobyte during its heyday was fine, but I'm referring to my time at RR Donnelley in the mid-90's.)

(Thanks to DF for the original link.)


Author: Sean McMains


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# 6097

RE: An Entirely Other Day - Wide vs. Deep

This makes a lot of sense. I'm doing both in my current job, and it's difficult to do the mental switching necessary. If I've spent a morning dealing with HR paperwork, answering questions from users, and coaching other programmers, it's nigh-impossible to get into a good round of programming right away. Thanks for the language to help describe that phenomena!


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