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M&Ms 64: Good Ideas

Louie Bacaj
Louie Bacaj
5 min read
M&Ms 64: Good Ideas

Hey Team.

I am ashamed to admit that I have sat on the couch thinking of what to Tweet more than once, especially in my early days of making content.

But I had a conversation recently that reminded me that every bit of software we build today is inspired by or built on top of the work of others.

Software Engineers always rely on the work of others, through libraries, frameworks, programming languages, etc., to build anything meaningful. And those libraries and theories usually rely on work done by others.

This reliance on the work of others can be traced back decades. For example, the popular open-source operating system Linux, first released in 1991, builds on top of an operating system built in 1971 called Unix. 2022 Macs and Androids have been built on top of that Linux operating system.

Basically, it would be impossible to build any piece of meaningful software today without the ability to leverage the work of others in some way. In the software industry, we call this standing on the shoulders of giants.

Yet, when most people, including myself, start publishing or sharing ideas online, we urge to develop everything entirely from scratch and on the spot.

Yet, sitting there and trying to build something entirely from scratch in software would be considered crazy. Not just because it would take too long; that's only part of the problem. The more significant problem is that it would almost certainly be inferior. It would be bad because much thought has gone into the thing that works.

Things work well for a reason, and you'd need to reinvent the wheel repeatedly until you can finally get to the thing you wanted to put on top of the wheel.

In the software engineering world, we frown upon re-building data structures or algorithms from scratch heavily, especially when they exist in core libraries. We frown upon this because we know a lot of effort by many smart people has gone into making those core data structures robust. And they've been battle-tested in production environments.

Ideas seem to be the same way. The good ones are much harder to come by than the bad ones.

When a great idea from others inspires us, the odds of producing something great go up significantly.

Two Articles I Loved This Week

How To Ask For A Raise
I got a 48% raise this year. I didn’t threaten to quit. I didn’t get competing offers. Even with inflation at 17%. I thought you had to do both, but luckily I saw this LinkedIn post from Louie Bacaj in Feb 2022 - during Performance Reviews. Let me walk you through how I implemented this. I sugge…

My friend and former colleague, Janahan wrote a fantastic piece last week.

Then he turned it into a Twitter thread, and that went viral.

He only recently started writing and sharing online more regularly. But his newsletter has quickly become one of my favorite newsletters to read each week.

TBM 30/52: Why Don’t We Have a Strategy?
The problem isn’t that people can’t think strategically. The problem is that there are disincentives to thinking strategically. Strategy requires discourse, collaboration, contemplation, and critical thinking. It takes time and space. Sadly, time to think—alone and together—is in short supply in mos…

I loved this article because I am a big advocate for having lots of slack to think.

Here is a snippet:

A product leader recently told me: "The system is not built for me to think. The system is built for me to be reactionary." Why? The theory goes that ideas are cheap, and execution is everything. We celebrate productivity, output, and achieving goals. Consider all the rituals teams have around managing output, tracking metrics, forecasting, sharing plans, and boosting productivity.
Now compare that to time dedicated to thinking (alone and together).

Three Tweets I loved this Week

This tweet made me pause a little bit.

It is very much in line with Warren Buffet's warning that "inflation acts like gravity" for stocks.

Both because it hurts firms' borrowing, bottom line, and so on and because their returns need to be much higher to justify our investment.

If they don't return 12% a year, at the moment, we are losing money.

I think the author of this tweet intended for this to be somewhat satirical; in my opinion, it is incredibly accurate.

People that are great at those things have never had more options than in today's market.

We, humans, are hard-wired for times of scarcity, but we have never had more abundance in our history than we have today.

Choosing inspiration in the positive sum era almost always leads to the best results. But to do that, we might have to re-wire things a little bit.

A few Memes I loved this week

AI art is here and there is no telling what people will make it produce.

This meme is particularly good because even as a Dev I have to take a stab at the mockups myself more than once.

One quick update from me

I finished turning the live course I ran with Chris, The Newsletter Launchpad, into a recorded course. At a much lower price since it's only recorded and not live.

The goal is to rerun the live version. But many people told us they couldn't make the live version. Plus turning this into a recorded course felt like a good Small Bet. And this cheaper recorded version may entice more people to actually join us for the live too.

The official launch for this is Monday.

But I would be grateful for any feedback on the landing page, the price, or anything else that comes to mind. I trust and value the opinions of the folks on this newsletter.

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.