Slamet Hendry



Do not optimise for something we do not need. Especially the “not ever” ones.

The “not yet” ones are trickier, because we will be temped to “might as well optimise for it now”. But what if eventually we learn that we do “not ever” really need it?

It depends case-by-case when to postpone and when to do it now. Understand the trade-off. And decide purposefully.


When “best practice” is not

“Best practice” has a context. Understand that context. Question assumptions. If “best practice” does not fit current purpose, use a different method that fit the purpose better.

#quote #learningorg

Relevant older post: Best practice can be wrong

Failing fast

The past 12 months have been an interesting period. I left corporate job, took a break, and pursued building a product.

I had several ideas that I was interested and eventually I settled on developing digital marketing platform for small businesses. The specific problem space already had a few deep pocketed players, so that serves as market opportunity validation. I just had to find a differentiated go-to-market strategy that works for me.

I built a rough prototype quickly, showed it to some people and gathered some feedbacks. Based on potential users feedbacks, I adjusted the product roadmap and started building. I put in crazy hours, more than when I was in corporate. Learning as I built, I juggled priorities and wish list and in about four months, I had a minimum viable product ready.

And yet something bugged me on the technical side; under the hood, the MVP (minimum viable product) was badly fragile. I know MVP is meant to be put together as soon as possible, but my goal was that viable = sustainable. I did not have outside investor and I had enough runway, so I decided to rewrite the platform. That was a tough decision, but in the end, I was super glad I did it.

Then I applied for Google login authorised app status and this took longer than I envisioned due to my shortsightedness. (The Google Cloud Trust and Security Team was very patient with me. Thank you folks!) Developing the marketing content and marketing video also took more time than I planned.

All done, I soft-launched. And boy was I surprised with the things that broke down when new users tried the platform, but I fixed them quickly and I had not had any problem again, so far.

The platform was running well. On technical side, it seems performant and sustainable.

Despite all that, I decided to shutdown the platform.

It is a long story, but to keep it short, let's say it is because I do not see “product-market fit” – at this time – with what I wanted to do. This conclusion is not ideal, but the personal journey has been rewarding.

Let me explain from the perspective of “Fail Fast, Fail Often” – as one of the authors, Ryan Babineaux outlined in 5 Tips to Succeed by Failing Fast.

  1. Try things like a beginner, not an expert
  2. Go see for yourself
  3. Get going with the smallest investment
  4. Be ready to change course
  5. Do things badly as fast as you can

I did all those.

And in the process, I learned a ton. And I had fun. I think I succeeded in “failing fast”, so it is a happy conclusion for me, at least for now.

All things considered, I am truly blessed to have had this opportunity. And now, on to the next thing.

Photo: Pexels


Related: If you are into tech stack, I wrote about the stack that I used here.

Credit belongs to ..

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

~ Teddy Roosevelt, from the “Citizenship In A Republic” speech, April 23, 1910

#quotes #learningorg

We are living code

“We are living code. When you look at the human brain, our ‘computing centers,’ so to speak, you see a lot of coding. We run on scripts, arguments, memories, value systems, and beliefs that are programmed by our interactions with people and our experiences navigating the world.

For the most part, we don’t have a say in how we are programmed until we experience larger shifts in adulthood. Later in life, we are able to exercise individual agency more directly, and ask ourselves: ‘What data sets are you downloading?’ Behavior is coded by a variety of stimuli and responses, and human technology is by far the most advanced technology we have.”

~ Patrycja Slawuta

#quotes #learningorg

How hard can it be?

I am working on a personal project and I need a dashboard to analyse my data that is hosted in the cloud. So I thought, “how hard can it be” to set up my own dashboard server, given that I developed and ran my own chatbot server last year?

Not as easy as I thought, but too late. Eventually, I did it. Yay!

And it got me into a reflective mode.

“How hard can it be?” is a question that, depending on context and tone of voice, can have side effect. Use with care.

If we utter it to someone more junior or less experienced, please be kind not to offend the receiver or damage his/her self-confidence. If the receiver is a subject matter expert in the “it”, check first that we know the subject well enough so we don't look like a fool.

Probably it is better to ask “what does it take to accomplish it?” We move the discussion toward analysis and effort estimation, so it is more constructive and builds up morale.

But “how hard can it be?” is not to be avoided altogether, especially if asked to ourselves. If we actually do not know what it takes to accomplish “it” and we are curious to know, then “how hard can it be?” is a challenge to spur us into action rather than analysis paralysis.

“How hard can it be?” I don't know. Let's find out.

Caveat emptor. In life, there are always things to do and competing priorities. Chasing after “how hard can it be?” ought to be weighed in light of other priorities. Proceed with care.

And once we find out how hard it can be, we need to be willing to admit if we are wrong. Because despite not knowing the answer to “what does it take to accomplish it?”, we typically ask “how hard can it be?” with some preconceived assumption of “how hard” it is. And once we do “it”, we eventually find out “how hard” it is – which can be easier or harder than our assumption.

And that is okay if we are wrong. The important part is that we get “it” done and learn what it takes to accomplish “it”.

Have a nice day.


Collective strength

Our muscle is a complex construction that is very fine-tuned. My muscle would ache in different place and in different way depending on the extended exercise I do. The keyword here is “extended” – light and short exercise would not reveal the difference.

For example, running 10 km at 6 min/km has a different impact from running 10 km at 7.5 min/km which has different impact from walking at 10 min/km. The pain from the walk is no less than the slow run nor the fast run, but different.

Likewise in leading a team, different objective and pace will put stress in different place in the team. As a leader, it is my role to be sensitive to each of my team members and to give the right kind of help to the individual who needs help and to push the individual who can handle more difficult challenge. I avoid leading with “one-size fits all” approach.

The team is collectively stronger when I recognise and appreciate the diversity and optimise it accordingly.



“The most effective leaders I know are all relearners.

You have learners, unlearners, and relearners.

Most folks stop at learning. A fraction go on to unlearn what they learned, but stop there. This isn't an actual improvement until they start relearning.”

~ Channing Allen

#quotes #learningorg

Invest in yourself

“There's one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself. ... Nobody can take away what you've got in yourself—and everybody has potential they haven't used yet. If you can increase your potential 10%, 20% or 30% by enhancing your talents, they can't tax it away. Inflation can't take it from you. You have it the rest of your life.”

~ Warren Buffett

Source: Forbes

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Shop Class as Soulcraft

“Those who work in an office often feel that, despite the proliferation of contrived metrics they must meet, their job lacks objective standards of the sort provided by, for example, a carpenter's level, and that as a result there is something arbitrary in the dispensing of credit and blame.”

“Corporations portray themselves as results-based and performance-oriented. But where there isn't anything material being produced, objective standards for job performance are hard to come by.”

“Failures often force you to ask a favor of someone else ... Such an experience of dependence makes you humble, and grateful.”

~ Matthew B. Crawford

#quotes #learningorg

Note: “Shop Class as Soulcraft” was Matthew's first book. He also wrote other books.