Saturday, November 07, 2009

Be The Worst

"It's better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours, and you'll drift in that direction."
-- Warren Buffett

This reminds of chapter 'Be The Worst' in The Passionate Programmer...

Before starting my career in information technology, I was a professional jazz and blues saxophonist. As a musician, I had the good fortune of learning this lesson early on and sticking to it. Being the worst guy in the band means always playing with people who are better than you.

Now, why would you always choose to be the worst person in a band? “Isn’t it unnerving?” you ask. Yes, it’s extremely unnerving at first. As a young musician, I would find myself in situations where I was so obviously the worst guy in the band that I was sure I would stick out like a sore thumb. I’d show up to a gig and not even want to unpack my saxophone for fear I’d be forcefully ejected from the bandstand. I’d find myself standing next to people I looked up to, expected to perform at their level—sometimes as the lead instrument!

Without fail (thankfully!), something magical would happen in these situations: I would fit in. I wouldn’t stand out among the other musicians
as a star. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be obviously outclassed, either. This would happen for two reasons. The first reason is that I really wasn’t as bad as I thought. We’ll come back to this one later.

The more interesting reason that I would fit in with these superior musicians—my heroes, in some cases—is thatmy playing would transform itself to be more like theirs.

-- Chad Fowler in The Passionate Programmer

No comments:

Post a Comment