Sunday, January 20, 2013

learn from Jiro, practice your craft

Last week I read an inspiring article from linked in by Jeff Weiner(CEO of LinkedIn), called From Seinfeld to Sushi: How to Master Your Domain, this is a great article, it tells you the similarity of masters how to practice their crafts, either a joke master or a sushi master. I Love this idea since the software craftsmanship is my passion, and definitely we can apply this techniques into our software practices. And in the article the author recommends the movie of "Jiro dreams of sushi". Finally I found the movie and watched it twice. It is really an amazing movie, I highly recommend every one should watch that, very inspiring.

Here is what I learned from the movie:
  1. Passionate about his job, Jiro said he fell in love his job, he love to make better sushi, he is hardworking, I still working at the age of 85, working 364 days a year; 
  2. Take job seriously 
  3. Keep practicing over and and over 
  4. Keep improving skills bit by bit, kaizen culture 
  5. Money is secondary, he does not care the money, he only wants to make better sushi. 
I think all these can apply to our software craftsmanship practicing. I will wish I can still coding at the age of 85 like Jiro, now I am 43, compare to Jiro, there is still a long way to go, I remembered Uncle Bob once said: "I will code until I die, but I don't want die too soon".

For me I love the software craftsmanship, but I don't have the passion for my work, I don't love my job, this is the issue for me.
I think one issue in software industry is, there is no culture to encourage developer to perfect their crafts. The managers just want get the job done, there is no pride of the work, and the job market does not look at developers crafts. But the culture of crafts are deeply rooted in the Japanese culture, either making sushi, or practice kendo or making cars, you can tell they share the same philosophy.

The other one is software's complexity nature, sushi has been through a long time, it has a repeatable process, that is why Jiro can improve his skills by keep repeating the same thing over and over. But software is so different, it is very hard to repeat the same task, since each time you are doing the different things. But I feel we can extract the coding practices from the tasks, even each task is different, but coding practices are similar.
The third part I think in software craftsmanship, we need to improve our skills in many different area: like tools, different languages, process, and even your communication skills. This is really challenging and that is why it needs whole life training.


Here I post some quotes from the movie:
  • Ultimate simplicity leads purity 
  • 5 attributes of a great chef: 1. take their work seriously; 2. aspire to improve skills; 3. cleanness; 4. impatience; 5. passionate 
  • They are better leaders than collaborators,. they are stubborn and insist on having in their way 
  • We don't care about the money, all I want to do is making better sushi 
  • Shokunin try to get the highest quality fish, and apply their technique to it 
  • I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit, there is always a yearning to achieve more 
  • I will continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is 
  • I've never hated this job. I fell in love with my work and gave my life to it. Even though I'm 85, I don't feel like retiring. That's just the way I feel 

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