How you think about how you think can change how you think

how you think

WordCamp Las Vegas

In mid December I got to spend some time with folks in Las Vegas, delivering the keynote to WordCamp Las Vegas.

Speaking to any group of people at 8:30 in the morning, before some of them get their coffee, is a challenge for anyone. But it's even more work when you're speaking to peers, many of whom are smarter than you and doing more amazing things than you. But mixed in with that crowd were also people who were just getting started with WordPress, the web's most-used content management system.

Newbies & Programming Veterans

Any time you mix programming newbies with veterans, there's an interesting thing that happens.

Newbies protest that they don't know anything (when they do actually know something). And programming veterans can easily fall into a trap of deciding what is and isn't “real programming.”

That last statement can feel or sound harsh, but it's not meant to. It's the nature of the world we live in.

The Invasion of the Lightweights

Forty years ago, in the back of the room, developers looked on as programmers were talking about memory allocation and thought to themselves, “you're letting the computer/compiler do most of the work for you – that's not real programming.”

More amazing is that those who were getting mocked forty years ago found themselves in the back of the room twenty years ago mocking not people but code. They looked at Visual Basic and said, “you're letting the computer/compiler do most of the work for you – that's not real programming.”

And it's no different from today.

Just the other day, I read someone explain why front-end editors (like VelocityPage) were bad for everyone involved. I strongly disagree. But I wasn't surprised. Because the things that make things easier are often misunderstood.

So if you take 20 minutes to watch this keynote, you'll hear the story of those programmers, the research of Carol Dweck, and about the life of Hiroo – the WWII Japanese intelligence officer that spent 30 years hiding in the Philippines.

In it, I make one single point.

How you think, about how you think, can change how you think.