Eyes staring back at you from the darkness

Philip Morgan

I live in the country, on a few acres of land just outside Sebastopol, CA.

As such there are no streetlights and stuff like that, so when I go out at night to do stuff like taking the trash to the trash can, I use a flashlight.

Of course I’m a flashlight nerd, and have a pretty bright LED headlamp and LED tactical flashlight.

Invariably as I step out the front door, I’ll see at least one pair of distant eyes staring back at me from the inky darkness. Often more than just one pair of eyes. Sometimes a whole family of deer, raccoon, foxes, outdoor cats, or possums.

This is part of what I love about living outside the city. Here's a recent snapshot of a young deer and mother snacking on fruit that falls from the tree in front of our house:


Anyway, I think content with a strong, clear point of view is a little bit like my LED flashlight at night. Forgive the somewhat stretched analogy, but it gets your clients looking at you. You see their eyes staring back at you from the darkness.

I asked y'all about pet peeves of yours that have a meaningful relationship to moving the needle for your clients. I got some good responses, so for the next few days I'll summarize them (anonymized) and speculate a bit on how they might (or perhaps might not) have the potential to create a strong, clear point of view that gets your clients looking at you.

In one of my emails asking you for pet peeves, I had joked about tabs vs. spaces. The first pet peeve submission I got was a list member telling me, no no, tabs vs. spaces is an issue of great importance. In fact, that it's one of the foundations of human civilization. Of course they were saying that tongue in cheek, and it made me laugh.

The tabs vs. spaces thing is a great example of something lots of people have a strong opinion about, but it's going to be difficult--probably flat out impossible--to elevate that into a point of view that helps your ideal prospects get excited about working with you. The connection between tabs vs. spaces and meaningful business outcomes is just too distant. In fact, this is probably true of lots of opinions you might hold about coding practices (or if you're not a developer, substitute in some specific aspect of your craft that does make a real difference but is difficult to explain to someone with a capital letter C at the start of their job title).

=== Sidebar ===
For now, let's make one simple assumption. You want to have a point of view that resonates with a group of people who control a budget. So that might translate to something like the following:

  • I want to cultivate a point of view that resonates with CIOs at companies in regulated industries.
  • I want to have a point of view that grabs the attention of CEOs of midsize and large manufacturing businesses.
  • I want to express a point of view that is interesting to VP's of Engineering at software companies.Those are just 3 of many, many possible examples. But notice that you must be clear on what job role you want your point of view to be relevant to and at what kind of company. If you don't have this level of clarity on who you are trying to connect with through your point of view (PoV), you will struggle to articulate a PoV at all.
    ===End Sidebar===

So back to tabs vs spaces, or the slightly larger issue of coding practices. If you've decided who your ideal buyer is and you have evidence that things like tabs vs. spaces keep them up at night or are a problem they'd pay money to solve, then you've got a candidate for a polarizing, interesting PoV. But that ideal buyer should also control a budget. If they don't, the chances that you'll be seen as an order-taking staff-augmenting pseudo employee are super high.

OK, back tomorrow with some more member-submitted peeves that might be compelling PoVs.