by Simon Foust

UI/UX Developer at PhD Labs. I make things. I also write about motivation, the pursuit of mastery, and career satisfaction.

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Theory and Practice as Fuel

I’ve been thinking about how we know things (and the difference between theory and practice and how one influences the other) especially this week after reading a thread on reddit about photo-journalism.

In it, the author makes some claims, unwelcome by those who secretly believe them to be true, such as, “It’s more about equipment than we’d like to admit”. It’s an interesting discussion with some great points, and this post isn’t a response to the core sentiments expressed there. It simply inspired me to write about the different kinds of knowledge in all professions.

My wife is a photographer, so I showed her the discussion on reddit and listened to her take on it.

Here are some things true of her:

  1. She studied photography in college.
  2. She has nice cameras and lenses.
  3. She has shot many weddings.

Which of these do you think is the biggest factor in separating her from other...

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Enjoy Your Work

The Journey is the thing.

Dinner time at our house. My son, Jesse, is in his high-chair and I’m feeding him bits of food. Alena is in the kitchen cooking one of her signature dishes–the one we call “chardonnay chicken”. Suddenly, like sunlight bursting into a dark cave, a beautiful aroma fills the room. It’s the fresh garlic and chardonnay hitting the hot pan. That smell. “This is as good as actually eating the meal,” I say.

Smelling is a seldom thought about part of tasting. Sadly, we Americans eat so fast that we often forget to even taste let alone smell. But this was not one of those times. I smell that sweet smell, and savor every bite of the meal.

In my last article, “What do customers buy?” I talked about how customers buy results. And while our great joy and sense of pride comes from providing solutions, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t revel in the process. Just like enjoying...

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What do customers buy?

I’ll cut to the chase here. If you’re doing it right, customers buy results, not your costs and not your time. Took me a while to figure that out. Or maybe I always knew it, but it wasn’t reflected in how I actually worked or billed my clients. That led to a brutal case of burnout, and it got me asking the big questions like, “Why am I doing what I’m doing?”

John Cusack as Llyod Dobler:

I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that. Video

I remember this scene resonating with me a lot as a young man, particularly as I was leaving High School and entering the work force. I very much did not want to live in my fathers world. The...

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