All of this is to say: if your focus is solely upon shipping and finishing, I think you’re missing at least half the picture. Your research will generate insights. You and your team will need to come up with hypotheses, whether you realize you’re doing that explicitly or doing it implicitly “because this is how you build software”. But there’s a creative, generative process involved, and that creative process isn’t easy and it isn’t worthless without shipping.

For me, this has meant a very slow and gradual calibration and quite vigirously latching on to an analogy made by my partner after one after-dinner unloading of my frustrations. You can think of the generative part of work, or a generative person as flint. You can think of building on that spark as kindling and that together these are complementary skills and people. Not enough flint? Your kindling won’t get anywhere. Not enough kindling? Your flint is going to just keep generating sparks that don’t get anywhere (and, in my experience, will just get bored and go elsewhere).


So, personal appeal: if you think of yourself as a starter and not a finisher, and you think this is a terrible thing, please consider the opposite.

And the professional, work version? Perhaps think about how these different skills are recognized in ways that they might not currently be, and how they fit together at different times.

Dan Hon