3 minute read

I recently was inspired to write more by the following tweet by Jack Butcher (a great person to follow):

The visualization nicely illustrates an inefficiency cause by how we communicate and market ourselves to the world. Simply put, your opportunities are constrained by your perceived ability. I am starting to write to reduce the communication constraint for my career by increasing both actual and perceived ability.

Writing increases actual ability

Writing forces you to create coherent thoughts in a way that nothing else does. In corporate America today, almost all writing is via email or chats, where you need something or need to inform someone. People are focused immediate problems, and rarely are asked to take a step back, synthesize the bombardment of independent chunks of information, form broader thoughts, and identify patterns.

…it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.

- Elon Musk

Ironically, these broader thoughts and patterns are what make all other chunks of information easier to process. As Elon alludes to, if you don’t have the foundation of true knowledge, all the small bits you try to hold on to will never stick. In other terms, the bits and leaves and chunks of information can be considered the what, but the foundational knowledge required to understand these bits is the why.

A beautiful thing about the world is that many of the same patterns exist across domains, cultures, locations, industries, relationships, so there is immense value in understanding the why well enough to articulate it, both for your career and for your personal growth. Once the why is understood well enough to articulate, more of the what makes sense, and actual ability increases.

Writing increases perceived ability

In the job market, the burden is on you to showcase your ability. The job market does not reward ‘hidden gems’ for being hidden, and a line on a resume isn’t going to tell a recruiter the depth of your knowledge of a subject. The job market rewards those who increase both the scope and scale of their perceived ability.

Expanding your scope of perceived ability means increasing the number of people who know your ability. At the end of the day, much of our career boils down to probability and chance, and success occurs when the right person has the right opportunity at the right time. The best way to increase those odds is to increase your scope of perceived ability, therefore getting your name in the minds of more people. As with any market, you need someone to buy your skills and offer a job or promotion; increasing the scope of your perceived ability means increasing your potential career customers.

Increasing the scale of your perceived ability means removing the communication inefficiency highlighted in the below image.

Communication inefficiency
Communication inefficiency is the gap between your actual ability and your perceived ability

When being considered for any new career opportunity, subconsciously there is some sort of composite score assigned to you based on your perceived ability. If a job is 80% Python, and you grade out at an F in Python perceived ability, you aren’t going to advance in that opportunity, even if your actual ability is an A. Once your actual ability outpaces your communication ability you are not maximizing your future opportunities, so focusing on perception produces a better ROI on your time.

So that’s it. I’m writing to learn some things, share more of my knowledge, and hopefully in the process, make connections and solidify my understanding of the world.