Things I love

Ryan James Spencer

It has taken me awhile to summarise 2022. I intended to finish writing my book, "Just Perf", but family took precedence, as it always should. Instead, I drastically improved my curation skills, and did get a lot of writing practice in, while also honing my craft at work.

Admittedly, I was feeling a bit burnt-out, as one does from time to time working in tech, and I decided at the start of 2022 that I would commit to making the things I love explicit. Every time I found something I loved, into a note it went. Bear has this neat functionality on mobile I use a lot, where the share functionality can be chosen to append to the end of a note. This is handy for general link dumping, but in this case it it allowed me to focus media to a particular bucket, as you can edit the text before dumping if you want. Doing this sharpened my sensibilities, and I've since taken the practice for other things in my life that I want to be sure of what is uniquely me and not simply me copying others templates. I also had read The Practice by Seth Godin in which he has a small section dedicated to adopting an abundance mindset; I love the idea of holding onto an abundance mindset now, and I think hoarding a treasure trove of what I love is the wrong thing to do, hence I am here sharing it with you, dear reader.

It is now nearing the end of of the first month of 2023, and I felt it appropriate to get on with it and share this list. Things will inevitably change, and this list may contian things I will fall out of love with, but that's ok; I'm human and I'm growing. I will gradually refine this list to more than a link dump as a I revisit the content and reflect. I will be repeating this process again, and, indeed, there are some links at the tail end of this list that were thrown in this January. Hopefully you can mind a bit of my mess as I clean things up in public, but feel free to come back and see how things have changed. This foreword will likely adapt as time goes on, too. We need more living documents.

NB. With the inevitable collapse of twitter on its way, many of these twitter links will be converted into screenshots for posterity. I also am keen on the idea that if it doesn't fit in a screenshot or two, I don't think it's small enough to love.

Without further ado:


The isle of twitter


We’re only as strong as the people around us let us be. Which is why it matters that we can now shape our power, by shaping our community and context. Where is it you can be you? Who does that for you? When you realize identity is fluid, contextual and shapes what you can do, you can also put yourself into a context that enables all of you. - Nilofer Merchant

yeh, also we're blind to abuse from people we admire -Max Rozen

A key engineering skill is noticing what’s blocked, and figuring out why, following a thread of hints from person to person until you can see what’s not moving. You might end up asking the same question again and again. You might get handwavy responses that seem like answers but don’t actually give you extra information. That’s how these games go.
-from Surviving the Organisational Side Quest — No Idea Blog

Base your priorities on company priorities and be relentless about revisiting them. A clear understanding of priority will help clarify which projects to start, stop, abandon or finish. And it’ll help avoid the worst scenario where your team does great work on an ultimately meaningless task.
-from Understanding Project Management Will Improve Your Developer Job |

At Google, one of our favorite mottos is that “Failure is an option.” It’s widely recognized that if you’re not failing now and then, you’re not being innovative enough or taking enough risks. Failure is viewed as a golden opportunity to learn and improve for the next go-around. 7 In fact, Thomas Edison is often quoted as saying, “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” - SWE At Google (Book)

So one effective thing you can do if you want to think better is to become better at probing other people’s thinking. Ask questions. Simple ones are better. “Why” is the best. If you ask that three or four times you get to a place where you’re going to understand more and you’ll be able to tell who really knows what they are talking about. Shortcuts in thinking are easy, and this is how you tease them out. Not to make the other person look bad – don’t do this maliciously – but to avoid mistakes, air assumptions, and discuss conclusions. from here

To create the strategic framework, start with the company vision—where is it you want to go? Then, identify the obstacles standing in the way of getting there, and experiment around ways of tackling them. Keep doing this until the vision is reached. A mission explains why the company exists; a vision explains where the company is going, based on that mission. from here

  • Will the customer buy It? — proof value
  • Will users figure out how to use it? — check usability
  • Will we be able to build it? — ask about the feasibility
  • Will our business benefit from it and will we cover the costs? — verify viability from here

It’s easy for imposter syndrome to kick in at this point. One technique for fighting the feeling that you don’t know what you’re doing is to simply pretend that some expert out there knows exactly what to do, and that they’re simply on vacation and you’re temporarily subbing in for them. It’s a great way to remove the personal stakes and give yourself permission to fail and learn. -Google's SWE book

“All models are wrong, but some are useful” is a famous quote often attributed to the British statistician George E. P. Box.

It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life. -Jean-Luc Picard

A concept is a structure that is invented to give a coherent account of the immediate consequences of actions in a complex system. Thus concepts are rarely ends in themselves, but are means to other ends. - Daniel Jackson's paper on concepts?

A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come. -julius ceaser, shakespeare

Notable links

This is currently only a fraction of what is stored in the larger document. It will take a bit of time to narrow down to what's chaff and what's of value.