RR 429: Mechanical Confidence with Adam Cuppy

00:00 1:12:18
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Episode Summary

Adam Cuppy is the cofounder and current chief operating officer at Zeal, web and mobile app consultancy. Today the panel is discussing the talk he gave at Rails Conf called Mechanically Confident. Adam has a hypothesis that confidence is not the result of belief alone but ingrained routine. The more routine, the more pattern, the more rehearsal applied to a given thing, the more confident you are with that thing

The history behind Adam’s theory stems from his background in theater and performing arts. The concept of rehearsal is commonplace in the performing arts, but not other industries. He talks about where rehearsal comes in for programmers and how he has noticed the patterns of senior developers. The panelists talk about where they see routine and rehearsal come into play with their work

The panelists wonder how do you avoid a stopgap from a slight change, and Adam relates it to some of the most rehearsed actors, improv actors. It’s important to rehearse everything you can, building a routine around the things you control, so that when something does happen you have everything else under control.

Adam talks about different tools to help build a routine and an experiment he did with a group of interns to help them establish a routine. When the interns had a routine, in this case, a designated order in which they placed their windows, he saw immediate improvement in their performance. When the order of the windows was changed, it caused initial confusion in the group.

The panel discusses the cognitive load applied to managing chaos and how a routine helps. Adam admits that routine is an individualized thing, and that chaos can be a pattern as long as you know where everything is

They wonder at what point does reliance on patterns become false confidence, relating it to the strict TDD trend within the Ruby community, and how too much routine can make you rigid. Todd again ties this back to acting.

The panelists discuss ways to implement a routine. Adam advises to start by finding what is it that you do consistently that creates a happy and proud result. They talk about how to create that small iterative change towards something I want to get better at. The panelists discuss the merits of visualization and if it is a tactic that developers can use to gain confidence, and what to do after you’ve visualized. They discuss whether looking ahead helps or hinders a person, and Adam talks about how to look ahead properly.

The show concludes with Adam’s advice for people who would like to give a presentation or conference talk but hasn’t. He talks about how his theory has evolved since he first gave his talk. His closing thoughts are that trends matter more than individual days, how to expedite the experience timeline, and the importance of perspective. If you want to expedite learning, give the why behind something

Panelists

  • Andrew Mason
  • David Kimura
  • Nate Hopkins
  • Charles Max Wood

With special guest: Adam Cuppy

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Charles Max Wood:

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