42 first principles

The 20 percent trick to continuously keep learning

The video below makes for a great addition to my 42 first principle series, because it describes one thing that I have been doing basically my entire career to keep up to date with the IT industry.

This was a great question I got in a virtual interview with Dream Developer Kris Corbus.

Watch on YouTube


How do I stay current in the IT industry?

Well, Twitter.

Following new interesting people that work on new technology, maybe even just for a while, for a few months, see what they were working on, what they think is interesting, what they share, gives me a bit of an insight.

And then there's this one trick that i use: basically in my entire career I started to experiment on a small thing.

I had this big project which I needed to implement and from the past projects I knew exactly what to do.

But this doesn't bring you anywhere.

Like you don't learn anything then anymore.

Doing the same thing twice; it's more or less an exercise.

You get a bit better, but there's no leap forward.

I take maybe one component, one part of that solution, could be how I store data, and instead of using what I used before in the project, MySQL and an ORM, for this project I'm going to use the document database: MongoDB.

But I only make this is an experiment.

I don't know how it's going to work, so I try to keep this in a way that the blast radius is limited.

If I actually fail in doing that, or this technology doesn't actually work, I still can quickly go back to what was working before, and I can still finish the project.

So I try to maybe have a 20% risk in that project.

And usually that actually works.

You get a solution that's quite okay.

And then you have learned something.

So I try always to have this one wild card in my projects.

This post is part of the 42 first principles series.