If you take-away one thing from this newsletter, let it be this!
Plant seeds strategically.
Figure out your long-term goals and move in baby steps towards them. Diversifying your skills compounds your dividends in the long run. Try out a lot of things and see which ones stick!
Here is my garden:
I participated in NaNoWriMo the last 3 years and failed every single time. The seed is there but I have put it on hold for now. This year, I started this newsletter to plant another seed for my writing habit, setting myself up for writing a book soon. Public accountability ftw!
I planted this 2 years back, but it’s yet to sprout! I will come back to water this soon enough.
Facemash planted product seeds in me, teaching me that all pillars (tech, marketing, design, etc.) are equally important. I was quite pleased with myself after the execution. I liked it so much that I started doing more side-projects where I could take a lead from the product side (e.g. designing devSwag’s website in 10 days). I finally ended up switching professionally from a backend developer role to the product manager role in my day-job, and it was thanks to the seeds planted before!
Well, if you haven’t been living under a rock, you must have heard of the “Developer Relations” role. Also known as evangelists, advocates, community managers, etc. If you’ve been following my journey, you know that I love building communities. Note that this is a very different path from the product role; for now, this is a seed that I’m watering and I don’t know which one will bloom more. Just keeping my options open!
I have been pitching a product to startups in the last couple of months just to learn this skill.
I did a UX course this year. Going to classes after a long time was exciting but waking up early-morning on weekends, not so much!
I also took projects to learn DevOps (~1 month) and Technical Writing (~3 months) when I was in Amazon, dabbled with frontend and marketing for VueBLR (~2 years), etc. You get the point.
If you look closely, many of the above seeds are in turn a seed for making me confident enough to start something of my own in 2020. That’s also the reason I read 25+ books this year, mostly related to startups.
Until We Meet Again…