Thursday, August 13, 2009

Climb the Pyramid

Cal Newport describes the pyramid strategy to evaluate one’s progress.

From the blog:


I call this general technique the Pyramid Method. I claim that it’s a powerful approach for anyone looking to transform an interest or natural talent into an expertise that cannot be ignored. Regardless of the pursuit in question, if you want to take it someplace serious, follow Chris’s example. This means:

  1. Pick a single relevant venue to join at the entry level and work to increase your standing.
  2. Make sure the venue offers clear metrics on your progress; use these metrics to guide your efforts to get better.
  3. Forget all the other bullshit advice and mini-strategies people offer for getting ahead in your pursuit. If you can’t master this one venue, then you don’t yet deserve the world’s respect.
  4. Put your head down, and get it done.


The strategy can work for many skills music, sports and coding. But choosing the proper venue is critical. IMO, apart from the above properties mentioned by Chris, The venue should have some other properties.  I would talk about them from a coder’s perspective.

1. Have a low entry barrier: So that you can start early from a entry-level. So, when you only know the syntax and basic constructs of a high level language (C++, Java, C#)

2. A high competition/quality: So, you don’t “win” the venue too soon. So, you are actively engaged when you can solve non-trivial problems in your arena also. This also ensures that good coders will keep coming to your venue rather than taking off someplace else.

3. Can cater to more than 1 skill: I find this important to be a successful programmer you have to do more than code! This can involve making system architecture, understanding existing codebases, soft skills like communication.

One of the venues I know is as it offers all what Chris has outlined in his article and what I have outlined here in this post.

Now, I just have to go and follow the all important Step 4 from Chris’s post.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

10000 hour rule

The 10,000 Hour Rule says no one gets to the top of their field unless they log at least 10,000 hours of practice. That’s right - 10,000 hours!

The rule has been repeated multiple times by many people.. the latest person is Malcolm Gladwell (author of Tipping Point and Blink), in his new book Outliers: The Story of Success

Other people include Peter Norvig (Director of Research, Google) on his blog in the post "Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years" here

Saturday, November 22, 2008


This looks so cool. Bumptop is a desktop tool, to make your desktop feel more like your actual desktop. They have integrated some really neat physics into the whole thing and the reviews from the beta have been awesome.

Just watch the video, I would really love to try this out, though I doubt whether it is as useful as it is "cool"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Array Indexing

One of the most confusing aspects about arrays is the convention that the indexing starts with 0. Here's a paper from Edger Dijkstra which tries to explain the convention

Friday, September 19, 2008

I am a pc!

The latest MS commercials are awesome. I feel that the Mac vs. PC ads have become annoying over the years, even though Apple keeps infusing pretty neat ideas. Next time, I see one of the Mac vs. PC ad I am going to remember how Apple is stereotyping Windows users (which include me!) and they will definitely feel more annoying.

Check out a couple of stories at techcrunch and watch the latest MS and Apple ads there

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Bay Area

This post took a long while to come. So, after a very insecurity filled semester I got a lucky break and ended up in the bay area for the summer. I am working for VMware for the summer and its a lot of fun and work!

I am living in Mountain View nowadays and it just feels like a different world from Tucson. There's a so much more greener and bigger than Tucson. I love the amount of greenery that is here, I love walking on the streets just admiring the trees and plants which are lined up at any and every place.

There are number of interesting places to eat. The number of Indian restaurants is amazing and Downtown Mountain View rocks! I actually got to have good old Indian-Chinese food: Chicken hakka noodles, Chilly chicken ... etc.

Ofcourse there are a number of interesting places to visit and things to do. I haven't had many chances to go out a lot but have visited the Golden gate bridge, the CA-1 drive from Santa cruz to SF, Pier 39 on july 4th and I went for strike bowling with other interns.

One of the best hangouts for me has been the Mountain View library, It has been a great find for me to spend some time on the weekends I am doing nothing especially with no AC at home :-(. It has got loads of books, DVDs and PC games :-). Though I haven't read much during the summer but have played a lot of games.

I have about 3 weeks to go here but the summer has already been a memorable one.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Metallica in Tucson

It was a feeling I can't describe. Truly, one of the greatest moments I have experienced. They were amazing to watch and listen to live. All the trouble was worth it. The shoving, waiting long for the cab, hell it took us 1 hour 30 minutes to reach the venue which was like half a hour away, but it was worth it.

Btw... you can join in some of the fun by looking at some of the vids

Here' s the song-list, I am putting it here so that I can look back and relive it someday.

01. Creeping Death
02. Fuel
03. For Whom The Bell Tolls
04. The Unforgiven
05. ...And Justice For All
06. Sad But True
07. The Memory Remians
08. Fade To Black
09. Master Of Puppets
10. Battery
- - - - -
11. Wherever I May Roam
12. One
13. Enter Sandman
- - - - -
14. The Four Horsemen
15. Seek and Destroy