I turned 40 recently, including nearly 2 decades (in 2018) in the software industry. So I thought it was a good time to reflect on a few life lessons learned. I’ll start with something with something I struggled with (still do but to a lesser extent) – being more social.
By social, I don’t mean Tweeting, Facebooking or Snapchatting. While those are great tools that I need to improve my social media skills on what I meant was face time with humans (not to be confused with Apple Facetime) – attend conferences, local developer and technology groups and socialize with the attendees, and more importantly, the organizers. The amount of information I get about the work going on in my area is astounding.
Take time to meet with business owners, venture capitalists and recruiters. One of the ways this works for me is keeping in touch with former colleagues who’re still in the area – very occasionally I hit up former colleagues for lunch/dinner/drinks/coffee.
Another trick that works for me in tech settings and, incidentally, the easiest way to strike up a rapport with anyone in the tech industry, is to ask them what they’re working on or would like to work on, and listen.
On the flip side, sharing your work with someone is an art too. An important skill I’ve learned is to elevator pitch everyone – within a minute of meeting someone and them asking me about my work, if they don’t have a decent idea of what I’m working towards and why, I’ve failed at communicating.