Sketchplanations

Explaining the world one sketch at a time

Two fish in a stream. One is dead and floating with the current. The other is swimming against it and jumping out of the water.

Only dead fish go with the flow

Only dead fish go with the flow. A nice reminder to swim your own path in life and be true to yourself.
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Chart showing how the cost to fix bugs rises the longer you leave before fixing them

The cost of fixing bugs

Just as mistakes and the unexpected are part of life, bugs are part of software development. In general, the longer the time between when a bug was first introduced and when the bug is identified and fixed the more expensive it is in both time and money. It might go something like this: If you spot a bug as you're writing a new feature everything is fresh in your mind and it can sometimes take just a moment to fix. If a bug turns up later or perhaps soon after it's deployed you might have an idea of where it might be and track it down fairly quickly. If a lot of time has passed since a feature was worked on and a bug is spotted or tackled then it might take a fair bit of time to figure out how everything works again before you can fix it. And if a really long time has passed then, aside from the cost of interrupting what you are otherwise working on, it may not even be clear what was intended by the original code, probably written by others, and there's a fair chance more has been built on top of the buggy code making it more complex and a bigger task to tackle. The only way to solve it may be stepping through and figuring out behaviour slowly and steadily line-by-line. You could probably replace 'bugs' with 'code' 'problems' or 'mistakes' in most scenarios. Aside from it matching my experience, Joel Spolsky gives a nice explanation in his classic article The Joel Test.
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A drawing of 3 people resting on a cycle, one standing, one sitting, one lying down

Stand sit lie

It's an old cycling mantra for recovery: If you're standing, sit down. If you're sitting, lie down. It's something I like to keep in mind after a big workout, particularly on the legs — get the weight off them!
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A sketch of extrinsic motivation with a donkey being followed by a man with a stick and in turn following a carrot that's strapped always just out of reach

Extrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation is the carrot or the stick — when the motivation for doing something is an IF/THEN reward or punishment. We use extrinsic motivation all the time like paying people to come into work, or issuing speeding fines to make people slow down. It can work well for simple problems, basic compliance, and short-term results. However, when you need long-term behaviour change, when creativity is needed, or you're tackling complex problems, external rewards and the threat of punishments can even decrease performance and productivity. Rewards only go so far if you want to inspire a hit album, create the next Oscar-winning film, or create a breakthrough product. That is, for most of the important work we do in our lives, including I believe parenting, using extrinsic motivators of rewards or punishments is likely to be far less effective than tapping into intrinsic motivation — motivation that comes from inside ourselves. I like Dan Pink's Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose framework for intrinsic motivation. His TED talk on the Puzzle of Motivation is also a fun and interesting watch.
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