Knowledge Work


I’ve spent way too much time answering questions on stack overflow. I don’t know why. -Greggman

Recently, I think I enjoy doing house work more than programming. There’s a sense of accomplishment in finishing a task. When I set out to wash the dishes or do a load of laundry, I know that I will succeed and I can even do a decent job of estimating how long the task will take.

Knowledge work is different. Often, you can put time in for months without seeing any meaningful results. Often you throw all your efforts away if they’re not fruitful. I console myself on these occasions by telling myself I’ve learned something and even though the work is trashed, the knowledge remains.

Stack Overflow provides the type of validation that knowledge workers crave. You are given a relatively simple task and if you can finish it, expect check-marks and points in a relatively timely fashion. That’s why I think greggman continued for so long despite not caring about attribution or reputation. It’s just nice to feel the sense of accomplishment when you’ve solved a problem.

It’s why I’ve often found myself answering WebGL questions instead of writing code for ShadeMap.


Now read this

Thoughts on engineering culture

Photo by Anna Samoylova on Unsplash Recently I’ve been thinking about running an engineering team and what practices it should discourage. Most of these ideas are rooted in past experiences I’d like to avoid. One I especially dislike I... Continue →