Your Brain on Code

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From the June Girl Geek Sydney meetup.

@nabeelahali

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  • So now that you know a little about me, I want to know a little about you. Some audience participation! Are you a developer? Someone that manages developer? A designer/tech writer? \n
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  • So what is this a talk about? It’s a talk about productivity in the tech world, ostensibly, but also on focus, and happiness. It’s a couple of stories knitted together. It’s a talk about code, not about the technical aspects code, but on the process of writing it. The stuff I’m talking about has a developer focus, but no matter what you do, you’ll be able to relate. \n\nIt’s a talk in three parts, the first about happiness, the second about ways to manage one’s own workload, and the third a short listing of Atlassian, and other tools, to get you there\n\nI’ll talk about some interesting research, and then explain why it will help you.\n\n
  • I want to start off with some research by Tom de Marco and Timothy Lister. From 1977 to 1986, they conducted a public productivity survey that went something like this. They ran these as a public coding competition. Basically, organisations would nominate a pair of coders (who would work individually on the tasks) that would then compete. The competition was to complete a bunch of benchmark coding and testing tasks, all the while recording time spent on the tasks and interruptions. Participants work during normal hours and at their regular workspaces. From 1984-1986, over 600 developers from 72 companies participated in the war games. \n* looking for factors that contributed to good performance in the war games\n* their findings - interesting\n\n\n
  • the best performers were ten times better than the worst\n\n* language/years of experience/salary/defects\n* if none of those have any correlation with performance, then what does? \n* they did draw one very interesting conclusion, but to explain their findings, let’s talk about this guy\n\nI won’t tell you what the big secret is.\n
  • * hungarian psychology professor whose childhood coincided with the second world war, emigrated to the US \n* while researching his doctoral thesis, with a group of artists\n* immersed in painting\n* hour after hour sculpting or painting with great concentration\n* obviously enjoyed their work immensely\n* lose interest in work after finishing\n* what was the motivation? not money or fame, nothing intrinsic\n
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  • * this is awesome because flow leads to intrinsic motivation leads to happiness. work = happiness\n\n"Ordinary programmers write code to pay the bills. Great hackers think of it as something they do for fun, and which they're delighted to find people will pay them for."\n\n
  • \n* i probably don’t need to describe the experience any further for you to know what i’m taking about - flow, in the zone, etc. it’s something that spans across artists, surgeons, programmers, writers all experience\nloss of self-consciousness\ndistortion of time\na sense of control over the activity\n\n
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  • the best performers were ten times better than the worst\n\n* language/years of experience/salary/defects\n* if none of those have any correlation with performance, then what does? \n* they did draw one very interesting conclusion, but to explain their findings, let’s talk about this guy\n
  • The correlation doesn’t necessarily indicate causation, it could just be that high performers are attracted to organisations that afford them a better workplace\n
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  • Your Brain on Code

    1. 1. YOUR BRAIN ON CODE@nabeelahali
    2. 2. a biographical interlude
    3. 3. eiπ +1=0
    4. 4. What hackers and painters have incommon is that theyre bothmakers. Along with composers,architects, and writers, whathackers and painters are trying todo is make good things. Paul Graham
    5. 5. from peopleware
    6. 6. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    7. 7. “chicks send me high e”
    8. 8. intrinsicmotivation
    9. 9. `
    10. 10. Great hackers think of programmingas something they do for fun, andwhich they’re delighted to findpeople will pay them for. Paul Graham
    11. 11. cleargoals
    12. 12. immediate feedback
    13. 13. a balance betweenchallenge & skill a balance between challenge & skill
    14. 14. focusedattention
    15. 15. coding war games
    16. 16. from peopleware
    17. 17. The top performer’s space is quieter,more private, better protected frominterruption, and there is more of it.
    18. 18. programmers are makers,and making makes us happy
    19. 19. thanks@nabeelahali

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