Friday, January 14, 2005

Interest As A Strength

by Asim Jalis

One of the things that gets in my way of getting things done is that if the task is not interesting, I find it hard to get motivated to do it. I know people who don't view things this way. Normally, this ability to discriminate between boring and interesting things is a weakness. The guy who can put his head down and crank out whatever code the customer wants wins every time. But if applied correctly this could also be a strength. For example, whenever I summarize meetings at work people tell me that they got more out of the summary than out of the talk. This might be because I leave out the boring parts. A person who can dedicate his bandwidth equally to boring and interesting stuff would be unable to discriminate in this way. Another great example of this is Roger Hodge's weekly summary of the news. He sends it out on a mailing-list from Harper's. In a small paragraph he summarizes all the interesting things that happened in the world the previous week. DrudgeReport is the same way. Drudge and Hodge are much more engaging than because they have this ability to tell what is interesting and what isn't. Even if you disagree with their judgement, there is a kind of human quality about it. Their personality comes through.