A short term mindset will focus on different things than a long term mindset. Neither is right or wrong, but what are you optimizing for?
Once you answer this question, you can start to work towards finding a solution that balances both.
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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Do you think about the long term or the short term? Most people consider themselves either a long term thinker or the opposite. Usually people wouldn't label themselves as short term thinkers. There's kind of a negative connotation there, but they might label themselves as action oriented. And sometimes this is kind of the equivalent to someone who is not necessarily future oriented. So if we're talking about long term versus short term, we should consider what are the ways that we're thinking that might be optimal or sub-optimal for each of those problem types. I've heard this often in discussions and opinions between two engineers where one engineer will make an argument that is better calibrated for a long term argument. Another engineer may make a short term argument. And interestingly, it's kind of hard to parse, which one is most relevant in the moment. And so it might make sense to take a step back and discuss, is this a short term problem, or is it a long term problem? I'm going to give you some framing for how to discuss that and also how to spot a short term argument versus a long term argument. I have to talk about these in a small term. This episode is brought to you by Square. A million of sellers across the globe using Square to run every aspect of their business. I just used Square this past weekend, actually. Many of the people using Square are looking for customized solutions. They're deeply connected and easy to use. Work directly with their business's needs. And this is where you as a developer can come in. You can grow your own business by extending or integrating with Square using their free APIs and SDKs to build tools for those sellers. Go and check it out. You can learn more by going to developer.com slash square. That's developer.com slash square. Thanks again to Square for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. I'm going to give you a framing for this conversation. I'm going to give some credit for this framing to Paloma Medina and Lara Hogan. The framing is very simple. It's a single question. What are you optimizing for? What are you optimizing for? In any discussion where you have two opinions and both of them sound like they could be right. One is focused on a future concern and another is focused on a present concern. You may ask this question to help clarify whether the concern for the future is warranted, whether we need to be thinking further out than the concern for the present is providing. What are you optimizing for? Should trigger us to think does what I'm saying matter? Does the thing that I'm focusing on produce the value that I care about? Here's what so often happens. We have a long-term concern and we're applying it to a problem that only has a short lifetime. I'm going to give you some basic heuristics to help identify when this is happening. Usually, not always, but usually short-term problems are solved with very explicit solutions. This means that you're doing a point-to-point connection. The specifics of the problem you are providing a very specific solution. But long-term problems tend to be argued from a position of principle. Think about this for a second. Long-term problems are argued from a position of principle. There's not necessarily a right or wrong way here. Once again, what are you optimizing for? This is the critical question. Because longer-term calibration, if you are shifting your brain to think longer-term, you are accepting the reality that you may not know what's going to happen. This is why when we start thinking about solving long-term issues or having a long-term mindset, we're using principles. We're using principle thinking to try to prevent problems downstream. We're trying to use principle thinking to bolster the thing that we're building. Long-term problems tend to be focused on directly solving a problem. There's long-term mindset tends to be focused on preventing problems or solving problems that we don't yet know that we're going to have. I can't stress this enough that there is not a wrong way to approach problems here. Then you could have both of these things in mind. When you're solving the point-to-point issues one at a time, you can also inform that with longer-term thinking. Just because you're solving or optimizing for a short-term problem doesn't mean you have to be counterproductive to your long-term problem. The best kind of solutions and the people who tend to succeed in their careers are the ones that align the short-term problem solving with the longer-term strategy. They allow their principles to inform both the short-term and the long-term, but they don't allow their principles to stall them out in solving the short-term problems. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. Thank you again to Square for sponsoring today's episode. If you want to learn more about building custom solutions for millions of sellers around the globe, head over to developertea.com slash square. It's developertea.com slash square. If you enjoyed this discussion, I'd encourage you to do two things. One, to help the show by going and leaving a review in whatever platform you use. iTunes is still the most impactful platform to leave a review in. If you are an iTunes user, please leave a review there first. And then secondly, to help you become a better engineer, help you become a better person even. Head over to developertea.com slash discord. You're going to join the discord community. This is 100% free. We're never asking for money. In fact, we don't even ask you for any kind of personal information or anything like that. We're just a part of this community through discord. And you can talk to other software engineers like you who are on the same journey. Maybe they're a little bit ahead of you. They have a few steps ahead of you or a few years of experience, past yours, or maybe you want to try your hand at helping others. This is one of the best ways that you can grow your career by helping other people. Go and check it out, developertea.com slash discord. Thanks so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea. Bye.