Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Reconnecting with Feynman

I found myself looking through some Feynman things after seeing the following post ...

The article it refers to is here.

It provided a much needed opportunity to reconnect with the work and thoughts of Richard Feynman.  If you've never heard of him, and even if you have, this documentary on him is a great work ...

He was a fascinating character - like myself he had a passion for physics and for problems.  Also like me, he worked on some military projects he wasn't so comfortable with after a while.

He had a sense of fun, worked hard being an ambassador and educators on his subject and a strong sense of ethics.  All things I strive to be, with mixed results.  I think many of us testers in the Twitter community do - why he's such a hero to us all.

I was talking to a friend about my blog last week.  My blog, like me, is "a little different".  I get a lot of people who love how I try and tell stories and simplify things (itself a very Feynman thing).

Inevitably, I have had a couple of people who aren't so impressed.  And they've meant the criticism positively, that focusing on fun and simplicity, I cheapen what testers do.  We all have our critics - but even with a breakdown of such feedback being about 1% of the feedback I get ... guess which feedback has me most concerned at times.

It's human nature - does this seem familiar?

Reconnecting with Feynman reminds me not to treat life as such a popularity contest.  Don't seek others absolute approval - you don't need it if you're enjoying what you're doing.  It's not a sin to have fun, or to try and explain what we do.

It's allowable.  And maybe some people will turn their nose up at it - but maybe they're not the kind of people you really would want to work with anyway.

Be quirky, be imaginative, be true to yourself.  That's something I really learned through Feynman's writing - and know the writer who most embodied that within testing was Elisabeth Hendrickson's work.  Check out her quirky "There's always a duck" for proof of that - especially the alien story in there.  [For my money, if you have Expore It, you should buy this book as well]

It also helps to correspond with someone like Lisa Crispin, who encourages me to write as me, and not try to be someone else.  Someone like Lisa, who helps me tune out the doubt, whilst working so hard to champion and promote a group of us testers in our writing.  Thanks Lisa.

Feynman talking about computer heuristics in 1985 ...


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