Intentionally Getting Better

Forgive me for what might sound like geeky gushing, there really is a point.

Marco Arment of Tumblr, Instapaper and Build & Analyze "fame" (quotes because it's all relative) is an interesting guy. Ostensibly he is an iOS and web developer and software is probably what he's most well known for. I think it's interesting to look at the things that he's not as well known for.

I started following him after listening to an episode of Build & Analyze (a podcast with Dan Benjamin on the 5by5 network) where I learned that he was the guy behind Instapaper, a service  and app that I was already using and loving. From there, I found his blog. I'll try and say this without sounding breathless, he writes some pretty great stuff. He is well known for his detailed product reviews, everything from lightbulbs to thermostats with a stop at Kindles in between. He's also well known for his love of quality coffee and brewing.

Marco demonstrates that we can all be good at (seemingly) dissimilar things. Marco is a good developer, a good podcaster and a good writer and I think he's becoming better at all three things. His rate of improvement for podcasting and especially writing seem quite a bit higher than for development. I don't think this has happened by accident.

Quite publicly, he has worked hard to hone his skills in areas that aren't obviously central to his day job. Writing, podcast & developing software do have a lot more in common than an average person might think, but I'm certain that he has worked hard at becoming a better podcaster and writer. It takes a lot of practice and we, the audience, get to witness it with each new episode and blog post.

The lesson for me is that continually creating something – anything – will make me better at it. Actually, that's not true. Continually creating something with the intention of improving  will make me better. The intention is critical, and it's easy to sense that in what Marco puts out.

That wasn't too gushy was it?