Jake Worth

Week in Review: Week 12, 2021

March 27, 20213 min read

Here’s my weekly review for this week.

“Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone (especially Jake 🤷‍♂️) did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.” —Norm Kerth

Previous Action Items

  • Resolve to stick with a feature to the end, knowing I can make changes or refactor later.

This helped. I have budgeted a small window of time for side-project coding, so I have to make it count. That means accepting a different output than I can produce in 40 hours pairing with another senior dev. Keeping this in mind helps me fight perfectionism.

What Went Well

I published an issue of my newsletter: “Relay Hooks, Noob Reflections, and State”. Here are my newsletters stats from Revue:

“Of 134 subscribers, 133 emails were delivered. Of them 38 opened your newsletter. Which is 28% of the recipients. 6 subscribers clicked on a link in the newsletter, that’s 15% of the recipients that opened your newsletter.”

As a benchmark, from Mailchimp: for computers and electronics newsletters, the average open rate is 19.29% and the average click rate is 2.08%. The open rate across all industries is 21.33% and the click rate all industries is 2.62%. So, my open rate is ~9% higher than the industry average, and my click rate is ~13% higher (about 5x).

My conclusion is that I’m building a newsletter people want to read. My hope is that once I get to a certain scale, let’s call it one thousand subscribers, this thing could blow up. I’m having fun and learning either way.

I invested about six hours in my side project this week.

What Could Have Gone Better

I spent too long exploring an API by pasting cURL commands from Vim. There’s some threshold where you need to switch to a tool like Postman, which lets you add query params and headers via a UI, save queries, chain queries, etc., and I blew right past that threshold this week. I neglect to sharpen the saw when I’m working alone.

Forming Opinions

I’m coming out against default imports in JavaScript after reading “Default is Bad”. Like many of my opinions of late, I think the status quo is fine but the alternative is just a bit better. Here are some imports from my side-project, using this technique:

import { Dashboard } from 'Dashboard';
import { FlashMessage } from 'FlashMessage';
import { Header } from 'Header';

The conceit that each file has a default that cleanly exposes it to the world is starting to really break down for me.

I’m working on an idea: people problems on a consulting client are why you got the work at all, and you should embrace them. If you believe that most technical problems are people problems, then every company who hires a consultancy has people problems. Poor communication, misaligned expectations, clashing personalities. Those people problems are why you’re getting paid.

As I churn and learn on my side project, I’m continuing to remind myself that anything worth building is hard. You will encounter what seem like dead ends, and each one is a sign that you might be doing something worthwhile. The pain of schlepping compels me.

I enjoyed this short summary of Engineering Management Tricks; thanks Josh Branchaud.

Action Items

None this week.

Parting Thought

“Focus on the process, not luck. Did I play correctly? Everything else is just BS in our heads. Thinking that way won’t get you anywhere. You know the randomness of it but it doesn’t help to think about it. You want to make sure you’re not the person in the poker room saying, ‘Can you believe what happened?’ That’s the other people.” —Erik Seidel, from ‘The Biggest Bluff’

Blog of Jake Worth, software engineer in Maine.

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