jeff

hacking average

You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with.


That means becoming the best version of yourself depends on who you decide to be around. Traditionally, it was difficult to surround yourself with new people. It was hard to obtain access to different cultures before the advent of the internet. The only option you had was to journey to the closest metropolitan city near you.

But today, we live in a different world. One where access to the smartest minds are at your very fingertips.

Without quick-access to close friends and family during the COVID-19 quaratine, I found myself substituting my offline networks for those online. In this post, I share the networks that have helped me hack my programming average. In the future I will share other networks that help me hack my average in areas of my life other than programming. Some of them being philosophy, dance, and spirituality.

Waterloo

One of the best decisions I made in high school was to attend the University of Waterloo. The reasoning for this, is short and sweet. Our school mantra is "cali or bust". Although unhealthy, tying your self-worth to a job in the valley will light a fire under your ass.

Reddit

Reddit is the first place you should go to when you need to learn a new skill. The first benefit of Reddit is content aggregation and curation. Content is aggregated via communities called subreddits. Reddit carves out an area of order amongst the chaos of the internet. When I land on a new subreddit, the first thing I do is sort by all time votes. Going down a subreddit's top most voted posts is the best way to reveal unknown unknowns.

The second benefit – and in my opinion, the biggest — is the aggregation of discussion. At times, it can be hard to judge the merit of content by yourself. Discussion via comments enrich the original content with other opinions. Just make sure to always watch out for groupthink.

Hacker News

Hacker News is a social news site, similar to Reddit, that focuses on computer science, tech, and entrepreneurship. The submissions, discussion, and conversations that live on Hacker News are often more rich than the ones found on Reddit.

What makes Hacker News so great is that you can engage and hold discussions with some of the best engineers without discrimination, because it's anonymous. As long as your arguments and thoughts hold intellectual rigor, people will take you seriously.

TeamBlind

TeamBlind is an anonymous social network, similar to Hacker News. What makes Blind different though is its focus on career, jobs, and interviewing. Although toxic, there are some benefits. Similarily to Waterloo, those benefits are like diamonds in the rough.

To capture the essence of the submissiosn you can find on Blind, let me share with you one thing. People on blind are compared against each other via their TC/YoE ratio. That is, (Total Compensation / Years of Experience). Although toxic, like Waterloo, holding your self worth to your TC/YoE ratio will light a fire under your ass too.

Twitter

Twitter is insane. You have direct access to the minds of the best engineers. Following these engineers and seeing their daily tweets is literally the epitome of hacking your average.