DeveloPassion's Newsletter - Don't fit in

DeveloPassion's Newsletter - Don't fit in
Hello everyone! I’m Sébastien Dubois, your host. You’re receiving this email because you signed up for DeveloPassion’s Newsletter or the Dev Concepts project. Thank you for being here with me ✨
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Welcome to the 42nd edition
Another week, another newsletter! I hope that you all had a great one 🤩
This week, I’ve resumed writing my Dev Concepts collection. I won’t lie, it was REALLY tough. For one, just motivating myself and succeeding to wake up earlier took a lot of mental energy. I haven’t been very consistent with my sleep cycles (I should really read Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker). Second, it took me ages just to restore my last context of work. There was dust all over the place, so to speak. The biggest effort was the first step. Now it’s “just” a question of coming back, day after day, in order to restore the habit as part of my morning routine. That’s a big goal of mine for the coming weeks!
The biggest news of the week is that my son Raphaël has learned to laugh out loud. And that’s crazy cool; my heart melts every time I look at him ❤️
And there’s so much more of course.
Alright, let’s goooooo! 🚀

Things I've learned
A few of the things I've captured this week
This week I’ve made good progress on The Mom Test (~40%), but I haven’t digitized my notes yet. I’m actually far behind and now have 200+ pages of notes (for multiple books!) to get back to. Ouch!
I’ve spent an unreasonable amount of time diving into audio and video hardware for my upcoming YouTube channel. It all started with the negative feedback I received about the audio quality of the showcase video of focusd. It got me thinking about getting a better microphone.
And here I am, 10+ hours of YouTube videos later, having ordered $500+ worth of audio gear 😂. Following the awesome recommendations of Ali Abdaal, I’ve chosen to get a Rode NTG4+ shotgun microphone as well as a Zoom H5 portable recorder that I’ll mainly use as an audio interface.
As my wife says, I’m never reasonable 😂. I justify this choice to myself as a means to later create motivation thanks to loss aversion. This should help me to actually record content for my YouTube channel. I’ll let you know if that actually works 😂
Regarding the video hardware, I currently own a Canon EOS 70D, which I’ll probably try and use to record my first videos, together with SparkoCam. If that fails, then I’ll probably try using my phone as a recording device before thinking about upgrading to a Canon EOS R, RP, or R6. I could use the upgrade as it would be one more excuse for me to resume photography ;-)
For now, that’s all I plan on investing in. I’ll think about lighting, painting, decoration, and other fun stuff later on.
focusd productivity app progress
This week, I’ve spent a bit of time reaching out to people and gathering feedback about focusd. The video demo has proved to be really worth the effort we put into it. The feedback we’ve received so far has been quite enthusiastic. Still, we need to stay careful because it doesn’t mean that people will actually want to pay for what we build (which is why we need to do some more customer research!). As Rob Fitzpatrick says, we have to avoid fishing for compliments.
André and I have also worked on a first draft of the copy. I’ve also created the first draft of our landing page using Carrd. I had read positive reviews about Carrd and wanted to give it a go. I wasn’t disappointed!
While building Websites, I’ve always wanted to do everything by myself, with minimal copy/pasting. Because of that, I almost never used ready-made templates, apart from html5-boilerplate. As a result, creating Websites has always taken me ages. On the other hand, it has helped me better learn my craft.
This time around, I’ve decided to take the no-code route to gain time. And it took me less than a day to get a decent result with mobile support. The landing page of focusd isn’t ready for prime time yet as André and I need to review it together, but it’s a great first step. Next week, we should start sharing it with more people.
Once I receive my audio recording gear, I’ll probably re-record the intro video.
Personal Knowledge Management Library 📖
I keep adding resources to my Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) Library. This week I’ve passed the 20 sales bar, so I’ve raised the price for the next batch.
When I launched this experiment, I didn’t expect it to interest so many people. This is really motivating me to continue.
Since last week I’ve added:
  • 5 articles
  • 5 tools
  • 5 books
  • 18 sites & blogs
  • 5 Youtube channels
  • 5 courses
  • 5 newsletters
It’s not only a numbers game. Once I reach a large enough content base, I plan on diving a level deeper. I’ll start extracting useful information from the various sources and sharing the learnings with you all.
Recent articles
As promised, I have published a new article this week. It’s a short piece extracted from the first volume of my Dev Concepts collection.
How to think logically
How cool is that?!
Tips of the week
Try not to fit it. At least not all the time. Don’t act a certain way because you think you have to. It’s not okay to become someone else just to fit in.
A few years ago, I witnessed a young team manager alienate her whole team. She was ~25, fresh out of an engineering school. As soon as she joined, she acted as a mindless corporate drone. She seemed to think that giving orders to her teammates and being bossy was the way to go. She was in charge, and people needed to follow along. Needless to say, that story didn’t end well. Especially considering that some of her teammates had 30+ years of experience… She tried to correspond to the vision she had of her role, and that was a huge mistake. She was actually a likable person who made a silly mistake.
In practice though, there were real expectations. She had to prove herself to her own bosses, like other newly appointed team leaders/project managers. Higher-level management expected results and told her so… Company culture and certain managers push people to fit into a certain mold. Some people do and are happy to. But most are easy to replace, as Tim Denning argued recently.
For most of my career, I’ve tried to remain true to myself: serious, reliable, but simple and kind. Of course, I had to adapt from to time; that’s okay. But I have clear limits. I know who I am, and what my values are.
That’s why I became the first team manager wearing a hoodie at my organization a few years back. People expected me to start wearing ties and costumes, but I almost never did… apart during the last days before leaving to become a freelancer because I thought it would be fun 😂
I even appeared on the organization’s journal wearing my hoodie (can you guess who’s the boss on that picture? 😂):
Ain't I the coolest boss? 😂
This is a picture that was taken when I managed to convince our management to let us contribute to Open Source.
Today I don’t fit into the corporate mold anymore. I just can’t picture myself going back into an office. At some point, I might have to, but I won’t try to fit in. I’ll be myself.
Not fitting in helped me stand out. And that’s the idea that I want to leave you with today. Don’t act special just for the sake of acting special. But don’t hesitate to be 100% yourself, even if just from time to time. We can’t expect mentalities, environments, and cultures to change if we just keep acting the way the “established order” expects us to.
Don’t always follow the rails. Ask dumb questions. Throw the puzzle pieces in the air. Share your bold ideas. Challenge the status quo. Have fun. Stay human. Don’t be a soulless machine. The world has enough of those already!
Books corner
Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy
Board game of the week
Quotes of the week
  • “Winners who come from behind, are winners nonetheless”
  • “To measure yourself, compare where you are versus where you started”
Links of the week
Here are a few links that I found interesting this week:
Phosphor Icons
The Definitive OpenSource Icons Library