Episode 73 – Find Joy in Your Work with Gojko Adzic
Gojko Adzic is a partner at Neuri Consulting. He is the winner of several awards, including the 2016 European Software Testing Outstanding Achievement Award and the Jolt Award for his book, Specification by Example. Gojko is also a frequent speaker at software development conferences.
In this episode, Phil chats with Gojko Adzic about experiencing the joy of coding and programming, but also recognizing the importance of seeing the big picture when it comes to projects. Gojka highlights this by advising people work “close to the money” to gain a better understanding of how customers use the products he makes, and how his first startup went bankrupt when he got too wrapped up in tracking technical effort instead of product value. Still, he says he can’t imagine doing anything other than working in IT.
(1.00) Phil kicks off the interview by asking Gojko more about himself. Gojko talks about writing books, how he got his start developing software, but he always wanted to do more than just “sitting in a development box,” as he puts it. He prefers working on projects end-to-end.
(3.21) Phil follows up by asking Gojka for a unique career tip people might now know. Gojka answers with the advice: “stay as close to the money as possible.” He goes on to say that he feels like today, IT is often extremely divorced from the customers and users that they are actually making things for. It becomes hard to tell if your work is having an actual impact. Staying close to the money means making sure that the things you do serve a purpose.
(7.45) Phil moves on, asking Gojka about the worst experience of his IT career, and Gojka jokes that it’s difficult to pick the “worst.” He says the one that made him feel the worst but was the most important learning experience came when he was a CTO of a startup and that they were good at the technical side of things but had no idea how to calculate value and properly run a business and so they went bankrupt. He was way too focused on measuring effort and not value.
(13.06) Phil switches things up and asks Gojka about his greatest career success so far, and he says that he hopes he hasn’t made his greatest success yes. But he’s very proud of a project called Mind Map and that it has helped him rediscover the joy of coding.
(15.00) Phil then asks Gojka what excites him the most about the future of the IT industry, and he says software specifically is the closest thing to magic there is, and that it’s incredible that people can make something that has such a huge impact on the real world, essentially out of thin air.
(15.50) Phil starts the Reveal Round by asking Gojka what motivated him to pursue a career in IT, to which he answers that he never wanted to do anything else, quite literally from the age of six onwards.
(17.01) Next, Phil asks Gojka for the best career advice he’s ever received. Gojka says it’s probably something he read in one of The Pragmatic Programmer books, which was: “don’t say no, offer options.” Instead of saying that something isn’t possible, try to come up with options for things you CAN do instead.
(18.10) Phil then questions Gojka as to what he would do if he were to begin his IT career all over again now, and Gojka answers that he never really wanted to do anything different, but that he would try to switch jobs faster to learn as much as possible about as many different things as he could.
(19.01) On the subject of current career objectives, Gojka talks about writing a new book that’s actually about a technique that can be used to solve the problem of his worst career moment.
(20.03) Phil asks what non-tech skill Gojka has found the most useful during his career, and he responds that he doesn’t really differentiate between what’s technical and non-technical, but that the idea of selling value and not time was a non-tech thing he learned that has made a major impact on his career.
(21.31) Phil wraps things up by asking Gojka for any parting words of advice for the listeners and he advises people to not waste time working on things that they don’t really care about or find important and that they should be able to work on creating things that bring them joy.
(1.15) Gojko: “I tend to write books to download the stuff in my brain so I can leave more spare capacity for new things.”
(5.48) Gojko: “My career advice for people starting here would be to figure out where the money is and stay as close as possible to that because that just cuts through the whole bullshit that most people shouldn’t really care about.”
(7.24) Phil: “I think it’s all about what the end purpose is, rather than the actual solution that gets you there.”
(12.50) Gojka: “IT’s really nice as an industry because you can make stupid mistakes and learn from them and then kind of pull yourself up.”
(14.48) Gojka: “If people feel that their work is dull they should build their own product.”
(21.56) Gojka: “You can spend a lot of time building stupid systems nobody cares about and you shouldn’t be wasting your life on that. Programming should be a joyful activity.”
Contact Gojko Adzic:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gojkoadzic @gojkoadzic