September 30, 2011

Asking right questions

You might have heard this.  A leader doesn't have to know all the answers; they only have to know to ask the right questions.

If you take a bunch of good developers and put them in a team without a good leader, you will end up with something like Opera.  But if you add a few good leaders to the same team, they will produce a Chrome.  A leader isn't necessary to make a few people's lives better or to get loyal fans who'd keep praising your work.  But you need leaders if you want to change the world.

Recently I have been catching myself ask irrelevant questions in meetings.  The coder in me has to understand all implementation details as we talk.  The impatient enthusiast in me has to immediately convey all cool ideas I can think of.  I think I am just a coder who can create Opera.  (FotoBlogr is one recent example.  My friend who uses it likes it a lot, but I have no clue how to make it useful for others.)

But... we learn most things by seeing others do them.  I now realise my questions are stupid mainly because I see others around me ask better questions.  I'm in the right place; I just have to learn from them.  This is my opportunity to learn the skill of asking good questions.  And eventually figure out how to build an app that's useful for more than one person.

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