I want to take a minute to dig into the four fundamental categories I listed in my last post. Here they are again:

  1. The computer
  2. The network
  3. The self
  4. Other People

The Computer

The computer is our instrument. We need to know how it works in order to effectively practice our craft. We can subdivide it further.

a. It’s physical properties (Computer Architecture) b. How it works (Operating systems and system software) c. How to make it do what we want (programming and scripting)

The Network

It’s been a while since you could write any interesting piece of software in isolation. Any interesting app now has to talk to other apps or systems. For our purposes, this essentially means TCP/IP although there are some interesting short range point to point technologies like Bluetooth.


We tend to focus almost exclusively on technical skills and we tend to ignore our own health as it pertains to work performance. I believe that you can’t be a top performer unless you both physically and mentally healthy. Serious athleticism isn’t a requirement though.

It may not be immediately obvious how important physical and mental health are, but consider for a moment how we rely on concentration and clear thinking. These in turn rely on us having a basic energy level and being well rested. As this is of particular interest to me, expect a number of posts discussing the effects of diet, exercise, and sleep on mental performance.

Other People

Finally, other people provide our last area of focus. This includes co-workers, bosses, subordinates, and, most importantly, family and friends. Maintaining these healthy relationships is a difficult balance, at least for me. I find them to often be a source of distraction from the task at and to larger goals. However, they’re also a source of inspiration, and, in many ways, the reason we do what we do. I fully expect these topics to be the most difficult to write and implement.

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19 June 2014