We are what we want other people to see what we are

Today has been a reasonably slow day for me. I've started the day wrapping up performance reviews (mostly copy-and-pasting what I've written in an offline text document during Friday evening and Saturday) and then just hanging out thinking of how I can spend more money (or not) and what I learned with the process of writing performance reviews.

It's actually interesting to not only look back on your year and think what your accomplishments were, but also looking back on the year for multiple people (I had to review 11 this year). My conclusion from it is that it doesn't matter what you tried to do, it matters what you've delivered to production. In other words, if it's not out there for other people to see and criticize, it's not worth much.

Another example that made me think about it was a blog that I've come across very indirectly while browsing Twitter looking at people that randomly start following me (BTW, she was not the one that added me, but annbkeller:

Bookoftea's Journal: on... yes, tea! An interesting field to write about as there are probably as many tea drinkers as wine drinkers. It's hard to get numbers here, but I'll cite some:

  • The wine industry in the USA was a 21 billion dollar industry in 2007 [source]
  • While the tea industry is only a 6.8 billion dollar industry [source]
  • 600 million gallons of wine are sold in the US each year. [source]
  • While Americans drink 35 billion gallons of iced tea every year (if you consider that tea). [source]
  • Apparently 90% of the tea consumption in the US comes from iced tea [source], so that means that Americans consume about 6 billion gallons of "non-iced tea" a year!
So it's a lot of tea and not so many people to really cover this.

Anyway, I don't plan on starting a tea review blog. But I'm getting to the conclusion that I have to plan to start something. Maybe I'll just stop reading so much and start writing something. Or maybe coding in the bus to work, working on my hundreds of data mining/structuring projects and blogging about what I think. Or even more easily, make sure that I post comments on people's blogs when I find them interesting, reply to discussions on the FreeBase data modeling mailing list, or just at least send emails to my friends or call them on their birthdays (I missed a very important one last week that I'm still angry with myself because of it).

And I'll rephrase myself to end this post:

It doesn't matter what you intend on doing: If you are not ready to take criticism, there is a red flag right there. Probably your time is better spent doing something else.