Recently I ran across an article about doing research and it affected so much that I wanted to share with you all. I would call this a required reading for any developer/engineer out there. The article is A Stroke of Genius: Striving for Greatness in All You Do written by R.W. Hamming. Yes, the same Hamming who invented the Hamming code.
In the article Hamming spends a lots of time on choosing the right problem which is often overlooked by many (I’m no exception). This is especially true for developers (engineers) who can easily get excited by new technology and spend a lot of time on it without realizing if they’re solving a meaningful problem.
The very crucial idea that Hamming addresses (at the end though) is “Selling”. Developers and engineers usually don’t care about Selling but if you don’t sell your idea, no body is going to believe it or buy it. It’s not an easy thing but you have to push yourselves out of your comfort zone to make progress. It was one of the best things I discovered taking up the Technical Evangelist role at Microsoft where it’s not just good enough to come up with the best code or solution; Being able to communicate and sell your ideas to others is the thing that defines your success.
One thing I would like you to take away minimally from the article is:
“Remember you have but one life to live”.