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From Weakness to Strength

On Tynan

When I first released SETT, a common bit of feedback I'd get was, "It's nice, but it's really slow". This shouldn't have been too surprising to me, given that I hadn't spent any time optimizing it, and didn't know how to, anyway. So I sat down and decided to fix the problem. Now SETT is extremely fast, despite running on a single server with a 6 year old processor. It's far faster than WordPress, but still a bit slower than Tumblr, which is incredibly fast.

What happened? Well, I have a policy-- when something important is a weakness, I try not just to get it up to par, but turn it into a strength. If you look at decisions I've made in my life, you'll see this over and over again. I was terrible with girls, so I became a good pickup artist. I wasn't well traveled so I became a nomad. My posting began to become inconsistent, so I doubled up and started posting twice a week on a consistent schedule. I ate a moderately unhealthy diet, so I got very healthy and strict.

This attitude pervades my entire life and my work. Even in SETT you'll see this all the time. It was slow, so now it's extremely fast. Scrolling deeply-nested comments was a hassle, so I built what several people have told me is the best nested comment interface they've ever seen. It was buggy, so I went overboard with automated testing and QA policies.

Why do I think this is the best approach? Two reasons: accuracy and efficiency.

D-Day: DROdio-izing Day 1


I'm a big believer in the "Four Birds" philosophy of life - whenever possible, I want to kill four birds with one stone. I want to produce, consume, learn, and connect - all at the same time if possible. And the more I layer on top of that, the better. Can I enjoy, relax, recharge, adventure? Five birds? Six birds? Why not?

While other people are watching a movie passively, can I make a couple interesting notes from the dialog and research what it's inspired by? Can I show the link between a new movie and an old Kurosawa Akira movie? Can I publish that, creating a cool way for people who like cinema to learn, and to connect with people who like great cinema? Can I consume the movie, produce an insightful review and research, learn more about cinema and art, and connect with good people all at the same time? Can I enjoy the process, relax even while working, recharge and feel invigorated, and perhaps it'll lead to an adventure? Seven birds with one stone? Why not? We all get 24 hours per day, if I want to be doing massively important things, I can't be taking it one bird at a time.

I've been working on this lately. When I start consuming something great, how can I also produce something for my friends and colleagues, learn more in the process, and connect with great people?

I've been looking for these opportunities for a while, and I'm starting to see them everywhere. Today, I'm pleased to announce DROdio-izing Day 1.

I came across Daniel Odio a little more than a week ago on Hacker News. He comes across pretty brilliant to me - a rare mix of strategist/tactician/teacher. He's a technology entrepreneur who built high technology into an established business - real estate - before moving into development. When I found Odio's site, I was really impressed. But the article that really pushed me over the top was - "Why Henry Ford Would Love Blogs." I felt like - wow, this guy gets it. A grasp of history, high level strategy, an understanding of how and why to make decisions, and how to turn high level strategy into solid tactics. And he can communicate it clearly and teaches how to think that way. Wow.

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