I Figured It Out – Smart AND Gets Things Done


My eldest is as smart as a tack.

He’ll take you to town on Dinosaurs, Lego, Star Wars and Batman, Bugs and Sea Creatures. He’s always making stuff, writing stories, drawing pictures (the other kiddles are doing these things too). He’s not afraid to create something based on other people’s ideas either.

He’s mastering the two important passes in Rugby, the pop and the spiral. He can do a pushup almost (ha ha) as good as his old man. He’s got one of those real six-packs (unlike his old man, who has the keg, heh heh). He loves to help his Grandpas out in the shed, working on stuff like in the picture.

He’s gotten a lot of awards at school. Caring for his classmates is always something mentioned by teachers. Solving problems. Mental acuity. Loves to ask and learn about the projects I’m doing, especially when I dabble in game development.

He’s like a jock and a nerd rolled into one.

He’s smart, and he gets things done.

smartandgetsthingsdoneSmart & Gets Things Done” is a book by Joel Spolsky. It’s subtitled “Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent”. He’s the guy I’ve named a series of posts after (Joel Of All Trades).

This is a book that every nerd should read. Period. It’s short, you can whip through it in a couple of sittings, maybe less.

Here is a quote which is the crux and whole of the matter. It’s found towards the end of the book, in the Interview chapter.

OK, I didn’t tell you the most important part – how do you know whether to hire someone?

In principle, it’s simple. You’re looking for people who are

1. Smart, and

2. Get things done.

That’s it. That’s all you’re looking for. Memorize that. Recite it to yourself before you go to bed every night.

I can’t explain just how big an impact this had on my brain.

Here is what I’ve been throwing around in dim recesses for a long time. Trying to classify what I do (that sounds a little arrogant), and how to classify (or de-) what others do.

This is not just a lesson for people looking to hire developers.

This is a lesson FOR developers.

It’s not enough to be smart. It’s not enough to get things done. You have to be a beautiful cylon composite of both.

Be Smart. Get Things Done.

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