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Inspiration Episode: Creating Effective Metaphors + Developer Tea Gets Nominated for "Best Podcast of the Year" in the Net Awards!

Published 5/27/2015

Metaphors are a powerful way of exploring a given subject. In this episode, I'll share with you why metaphors are so powerful, and how you can create effective metaphors yourself!

To vote for Developer Tea in the 16th annual Net Awards, go to http://bit.ly/votetea !

This episode is sponsored by Intuit. Check out the developer sandbox and API explorer at http://intuit.me/DevTea to get started building apps for millions of small business today!

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and today I'm going to be talking about the power of the metaphor. It is your inspiration episode for this week. Before I start talking about the power of metaphor, I wanted to share some really exciting news for Developer Tea and hopefully for you as the listeners because as I've said so many times on this show, this show is made by you. Now obviously not literally but this show wouldn't exist without the audience and that is you and I'm so thankful that you listen to this show on a weekly basis. It comes out four times a week and every single time thousands of you tune in to listen to Developer Tea and it's so exciting for me. So the awesome news that I have for you today is that Developer Teahas been nominated for the best podcast of the year award in the net awards. This is the 16th year that the net awards have been going and to give you an idea of how old that is. That means the net awards have been around since 1999, which is the same year that the Matrix and Fight Club were released and it was four years before my space was even a thing. So it's a huge honor to be nominated and the really cool part is that someone nominated this podcast with someone in the web development community, maybe somebody who's listening to this episode right now nominated this podcast to be one of the top 10 best podcasts of the year. So that's already an honor. Of course, I would be elated if Developer Tea was to win this award and the only way I can win it is once again with your help. You are the ones that have pushed Developer Teato even be in the top 10 in the first place. And so it's very fitting that it would also be your responsibility if Developer Tea was to make it to number one. So if you would like to vote and I would very much appreciate your vote, you can simply go to bitly. That's bit.ly slash vote T V O T T E T E A all over case. Of course, you can go to the net awards.com. And if you want to go straight to developer T's page, you can go to the net awards.com. Front slash vote. Front slash podcast. Front slash developer dash T. But that's exactly why I created the short link for you so that you don't have to remember that long URL again. The bitly link is bitly that's b i T dot L Y front slash vote T V O T E T E A all lower case. Once again, thank you so much for nominating Developer Teainto the net awards of 2015 the 16th annual net awards. It's such an honor. Thank you. I want to share a quote with you today by the author Orson Scott card. Orson wrote Inders game, which had a movie created after it back in 2013. This is what Orson has to say. Orson says metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space. This is a quote in one of Orson's books called Alvin Journey Man. And I find it so inspiring because metaphors are such a powerful way of looking at something. Metaphors have a way of explaining nuances that is very difficult to do without metaphors. I'm going to use a metaphor to show you just how powerful metaphors can be. When I think about the world, I think about it through the lens of development. And this allows me to see different connections between things that otherwise I would not have seen as easily. If I only thought about development when I was coding instead of having a lens of development when I'm looking at the world, then I wouldn't be as good of a developer because code is actually a representation of a reality that we create in a computer. So now I've used the metaphor of a lens to explain to you how I look at the world. And I apply concepts of development to the world. Now the reason this metaphor is so powerful is because all of us are relatively familiar with what a lens does. A lens changes our perception of whatever it is that we are looking at. And when I say that I use development as a lens to look at the world, you now understand that I am seeing the world differently, not as a literal lens over my eyes physically, but instead as a way of perceiving the world differently through the perspective of development. We can see very quickly that metaphors help us communicate and underlying truth that is more difficult to communicate with more words. But that's not the only thing metaphors are good for. In fact, metaphors can be very helpful in the problem solving process. If we can look at one problem and help explain it using a metaphor, then we can uncover nuances of the original problem that otherwise may be elusive. And the reason for this is because we can look at the metaphor and then differentiate our original problem from the nuances of the metaphor that we already understand. I've been using the word metaphor, but in reality, we use metaphors and similes. And they have basically the same function as I'm referring to it in this discussion. A metaphor is when you actually say that something is something else. For example, time is money. As simile is when you say something is like something else, such as time is like money. I'm going to take a quick sponsor break and then I'm going to give you one tip to creating useful and meaningful metaphors in your day to day work. All the word quickbooks. And you might even use QuickBooks every day in your small business. But did you know that QuickBooks has an API? Into it has built the API with developers in mind using standards like open ID, OAuth, and REST API calls. And with millions of businesses already using QuickBooks, you've got a customer base that's ready to use your app. And you can even publish your app on apps.com. Into its application marketplace built specifically for QuickBooks users. And here's the best part of the QuickBooks API and apps.com. It's all free. And to it doesn't take a royalty share from the applications that you publish. You can get up and running in just a few minutes using the developer sandbox and the API Explorer. Just go to developer.intuit.com today to get started. There will also be a link in the show notes to let into it know that you're a developer to you listener, which is a huge help to the show. Check it out in the show notes on developer.t.com. We've talked a little bit about the power of metaphor and how it can uncover otherwise very difficult to explain truth. But how do you create a compelling effective metaphor? Well, the most important thing that you can do when you are creating a metaphor to understand something is to compare two things that are fundamentally not alike. Why would you want to do this? Well, because it's not very enlightening to compare two things that are very similar. For example, comparing one programming language to another is usually not even considered a metaphor as much as it is considered just a simple comparison. But if instead I use something completely unrelated to programming in order to explain a programming language, there is more value. There's more insight to be gained from that kind of metaphor. For example, if I said that Java is the American muscle car of programming languages, you could take away a few insights from what I'm saying, such as it's large or it's resource heavy, but it's also fast. It can be tuned to be very fast. It's popular, but it might be expensive. It's been around for a very long time. All of these things are insights that you could gain from a more rich metaphor that relies on two entirely different things. Metaphors become even more useful when you use them in combination with other metaphors. If Java is the American muscle car, then node is a Tesla. Mapping these conceptual things that you don't understand to conceptual things that you do understand helps give you a more useful comparison. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Developer Tea. I hope you enjoyed the discussion on metaphor. If you would like to continue this discussion, you can find me on Twitter at at Developer Tea. Or you can email me at developert.gmail.com. Of course, don't forget that Developer Tea is in the running for the best podcast of the year on the Net Awards. That's the 16th annual Net Awards. Thenetawards.com. You can find the podcast category on that page. Or you can go to bitly. That's bit.ly slash vote T. V-O-T-E-T-E-A. If you can't remember those links, you can always check the show notes at developertea.com. Thank you so much for listening to Developer Tea. And until next time, enjoy your tea.