Thoughts on developer productivity
in: Diary of a solo dev building a web app
Jun 04, 2022
Nothing done yet as I’m busy with SumatraPDF but here’s a sobering reminder that different people have different levels of productivity
Here’s @levelsio GitHub checkins https://twitter.com/levelsio/status/1533112977884422147
Here are mine:
The guy is 7x more productive than me.
Sure, not all checkins are equal but it’s still impressive how productive @levelsio is compared to me. He’s more consistent (works more days) and does more in a day.
And I’m more productive that many people.
When shown evidence of great success people will be more likely to tell you how this is an example of survivorship bias rather than acknowledge that great success typically requires great amount of work.
A lot of work doesn’t guarantee success but it’s rare to hit on an software idea that is both profitable and doesn’t require lot of implementation effort.
Silver lining for software products: a single person writing software can outcompete a team of 10 by being 5x more productive and doing 2x less work to get the same result.
Can you be 5x more productive?
As a single developer, you don’t waste any time on communication. You don’t have meetings, you don’t need to convince other people that you should do X when others are saying you should do Y.
You can be a little bit more focused and waste less time on Twitter or Reddit or Facebook.
How do you do 2x less work?
By being smarter about technology and features.
Pick Svelte over React and you’re more productive.
Pick Go over Rust and you’re more productive.
Ship on a single server hosted by render.com vs. a microservices on Kubernetes and you’re more productive.
Setup a way for users to tell you what they want and prioritize this over whatever a Product Manager came up with in their head.
Getting ahead
Hard work can be your competitive advantage: I don’t believe most people work that hard.
And I’m not talking about 80 hours I week. I believe that most programmers (including myself) don’t do an honest 40 hr of productive work.
It’s sobering when you start measuring how much time you actually work vs. how much you think you do.
You might already be an exception but for most people you can get ahead by being more focused and working more hours.
Again, not crazy hours, just honest 6-8 hrs per day.
Written on Jun 11 2022.
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