About Hew

Husband, father of two, Digital Pathfinder at Automattic

The Investigative Mindset

Originally posted on simpledream:

Knowing where to look for answers is more important than memorizing a set of requirements or rules.

I have a confession: I often have no idea what I’m doing.

I remember clearly what it felt like my first day at my job: I was new, overwhelmed, and maybe even scared. But the work was exciting, mind-filling, and fun. Now, several years into the role, I still feel this push-and-pull. I’ve learned to juggle these opposing feelings and be both productive and successful at my job.

The key to this—and I believe one of the most important traits for my success—is an investigative mindset. Knowing where to look for answers is more important than memorizing a set of requirements or rules.

Why? Rules and requirements change, and the context I work in is constantly changing. I’m more productive in my work by making good, informed decisions—not by the book. I can…

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Baton Rouge Recap

Our first major stop was Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We spent a couple months visiting family and some good friends. Other highlights included taking up CrossFit and eating an abundance of Cajun food.

(The lovely abstract above is a poor cellphone shot of artwork by Bethany Riggs. It looks chaotically magnificent in person.)

Switched to Colemak

We have over 20 alternative layout keyboardists at Automattic circa this post, including one rather well known one. For three years, I resisted their proselytizing as I calculated the cost/benefit ratio to be against switching:

  • We live in a QWERTY world. I didn’t like the idea of being “that guy” when I sat down in front of someone else’s computer.
  • I didn’t want the hassle of radically shifted keyboard shortcuts.
  • I thought it generally over optimizing (for most people). Sixty or seventy words per minute seemed fine to me as it ought to keep pace well enough with most mental threads.

I ended up changing my mind because:

  • It’s not about the (potential) speed. I work at a keyboard the majority of my waking hours. My chances of eventual RSI are high and QWERTY doesn’t help. I’ve finally gotten through my thick head that the main benefit of an alternative layout is comfort and hopefully injury prevention.
  • The advent of the BYOD trend has made the “QWERTY world” problem less of an issue.
  • The Colemak layout leaves the main QWERTY shortcuts intact.

Most of my coworkers switched to Dvorak. I’ve switched to Colemak as I think it to be a tad more efficient. The important takeaway, IMO, is to get off QWERTY as either should be leaps better on your wrists over time.

If you are intrigued, join me in making a Colemak switch! You can grab the purdy-fied Colemak printout you see above from my coworker Matt Wiebe‘s site as a PDF.

Yes, I did type this post up in Colemak. As I’m only a couple days in, it took me, erm, awhile.

Day One

Rough start. We left a little before lunch time on our westward journey with a Airbnb’d Panama City Beach condo reservation in hand. Unfortunately:

  • We had too much stuff at departure and had to frantically pare down.
  • The condo itself was nice, but it had not been turned over since the last occupant.
  • Panama City Beach is…eh.
  • We still have too much stuff.

C’est la vie. There’s a roof over our heads now and we’ll hit the beach tomorrow.