Called by some a “productivity machine,” Zane refuses to accept his destiny a code-writing robot. He balances these tendencies with an appreciation for the artistic and creative by traveling and connecting with others.
This led him to study foreign languages and human learning. In his quest to find a heart, he dedicates his time to helping others become more effective with his blog “Skill Cookbook.”
Formally trained in video game design and neuroscience, Zane enjoys building games for social good. He has worked on a variety of such projects, including games to battle depression and teach new skills.
Zane Claes is a programmer and author. In this episode we discuss his book, The Joy of Craft: A Paradoxical Approach for Learning to Do Things Well.
“Money equals happiness. Success means satisfaction. Or so the world tells us. Creativity, achievement, and rewards will leave us empty if we don’t find joy in the pursuit of these things. And many of us don’t, despite our hopeful expectations.
Is joy some mystical state that real-world people can’t find in today’s workplace? Is it a personal attribute that some of us are just born with and others aren’t? Or is it something we can all pursue, if we know what we’re looking for and how to get there?”
From Zane’s Blog:
There is an essential skill which many of us have lost.
This loss is a symptom of how easy it is to publish. Or tweet. Blog. Snap. Broadcast. Record.
Our filters have dropped. We say what is on our minds and hope for a “like.” Really, our ancestors were no different. They wanted the same social approval. But the medium they had to work with was different.
Writing a letter requires an entirely different method of communication. The author must keep in mind the long round-trip-time of the letter. This delay shifted necessitated a different set of goals for the message. Limited space plus long delays meant that every word had to be well-chosen.
As one of my favorite (perhaps apocryphal) quotations has it:
I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have enough time.
These constraints forced our ancestors to learn the skill of compilation. Today, to “compile” is a word used almost exclusively by computer programmers describing the jobs of computers. But it was once something we did by hand.
Two years ago, I decided to undertake writing a book. I knew I had a message to share, and that I wanted to make a strong case supported by research. But I, like many, had forgotten (or never learned) how to compile my ideas. It took me lots of experimentation and failure to find a process that worked. I learned to refine and cut.