Learn In Public (NYC)

LearnInPublic @ VueNYC
Jul 31 2019

Description: swyx Speaking | Learn In Public (NYC)


Developers are used to the idea of constant learning, especially in the fast moving Javascript ecosystem. But how often do we take a step back from learning to consider -how- we learn? In this talk we explore how Learning in Public can accelerate your career, bring value to your professional network, and ultimately make you a better developer, with examples all drawn from personal and other experience.

prior art


  • Learning In Public: https://www.swyx.io/writing/learn-in-public/

    • The Secret.
    • belief of the law of attraction, which claims that thoughts can change a person's life directly
    • The Anti-Secret.
    • belief of the law of attraction, which claims that sharing learnings in public can change a person's life for the better
  • What is it

    • Dark Matter Developers
    • Learn in Private vs Learn in Public
    • Creating Learning Exhaust
      • Write: Blogs, Tutorials, Cheatsheets
      • Speak: Meetups, Conferences, Workshops
      • Ask & Answer: StackOverflow, Reddit
      • Code: Issues, Demos, Libraries, Repros
      • Avoid: Slack, Discord, "In Memory Storage"
      • Misc: Youtube/Twitch videos, Draw Cartoons, Rap
  • But Nobody Will Read It

    • False
    • But also it doesnt matter
      • Don't judge your results by claps/retweets/stars/upvotes
      • Talk to yourself
      • Low pressure - just build the habit
      • Talk to past you. By far the biggest beneficiary will be future you.
      • If others benefit, that's icing
  • They will Read it

    • Experts
      • if it's about their thing, there is a 80% chance they will read it
      • they care
      • there aren't that many people doing this
    • Peanut Gallery
      • or you never ship
      • and being wrong is GOOD.
  • Why does it work?

    • People notice genuine learners and want to help you - IF YOU PUT IN THE WORK
    • Human psychology: You dont forget being wrong in Public. You just don't.
    • Cunningham's Law.
    • Human psychology: commitment, positive reinforcement
    • Human pyshcology: availability bias
    • Inbound marketing vs Outbound - knowledge and opportunities
    • Building capital, existing, PORTABLE material to repurpose
  • Advanced Learning In Public

    • Teaching
    • Talk while you code :: Interviews
    • Double dip.
    • Pick up what they put down. Quests.
    • Mentors: When they say "Anyone willing to help with * ?" you're that kid in the first row with your hand already raised. These are senior engineers, some of the most in-demand people in tech. They'll spend time with you, 1 on 1, if you help them out (p.s. and there's always something they want help on). You can't pay for this stuff. They'll teach you for free. Most people don't see what's right in front of them. But not you.
      • With so many junior devs out there, why will they help me? bc LIP
    • Mentoring: At some point people start asking you for help because of all the stuff you put out. They think you're an expert. D
    • Eventually you run out of mentors for the thing you are working on
    • Eventually they'll want to pay you for your help
  • Benefits

    • Connecting with other people who LIP
    • Having a Second Brain
  • Learning Gears https://www.swyx.io/writing/learning-gears/

    • How do you start Learning in Public?
    • Explorer
      • Problem: you don't know what you don't know
      • Exhaust: mainly notes to self
      • Output: episodic, no theme
      • Commitment: Low (good and bad...)
    • Connector
      • default gear
      • Problem: you know things many don't know
      • Exhaust: expicitly meant for others
      • Output: some pet topics, no grand theme, exploring intersections
      • Commitment: moderate (weeks and months). "putting yourself out there". dont try to please everyone.
    • Miner
      • Problem: something important is too hard, or too unknown. Dive deep into something NOBODY else does
      • Exhaust: do research and build community/infrastructure, meant to last
      • Output: one theme that unifies your work. People come to you.
        • might seem boring but it will subdivide when you go deep enough
      • Commitment: very high. years and careers.
        • choose something with a good chance of widening and deepening at the same time (like investing)
      • for when you have struck gold: resonates, and fascinated by

Three stories from me

Stories from other people

  "title": "Learn In Public (NYC)",
  "slug": "learn-in-public-nyc",
  "topic": "LearnInPublic",
  "venues": "VueNYC",
  "date": "2019-07-31T00:00:00.000Z",
  "video": "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znNxtSbuBjI",
  "pubdate": "2019-07-31T00:00:00.000Z"