Peer Pressure Learning experiment

After a few weeks of talk, @mileszs (of Indy.rb fame) and I began getting our first significant peer pressure.

You see, we agreed to push each other to do 30 days of technology learning. Despite some great intentions and preliminary planning, we haven’t gotten anywhere. The Indy.rb group would have none of it and trashed us after the last meetup (which I happened to miss…boo).

And now we code

So here we are, on the verge of getting started! Our first day is Monday, June 14. I’ll be posting my progress via Don’t Break The Chain here: Peer Pressure Learning. I’ll probably try to put a calendar on the blog as well.

We’ve tweaked our concept a bit. While I had originally been jonesing to try a ton of new languages and technologies, that just isn’t relevant to where I’m at right now with my projects. That will probably change in a month or two. Right now, I have a ton of coding in front of me and mostly need to get more efficient and write better code. So I’m going to work through Clean Code in 30 days. I’m planning to break the book down into daily readings. For each one, I’ll do the reading, then refactor some code using the lessons learned. I’m told that if you act on (write, speak, etc) what you read, you’re significantly more likely to retain it. Ideally, I’ll posts a GitHub Gist each day with the before and after for critique.

As best I know, Miles plans to stick with the new technology path we originally talked about. I’m sure he’ll blog about his plan (poke, poke, Miles). We’re thinking about using Tumblr to blog our experiences and document the journey and it looks like we can each run a separate blog that’s combined into a shared “Peer Pressure Learning” blog that aggregates both.

Going daily

I’m going to push for 30 days straight as I want this craft-building time to become a life-long habit. I’ve been told that by doing something 7 days a week, you’ll build a habit within a month. If you drop down to 6 days a week, it requires 60 days to form the habit. You need something like 150 days to make a habit when you only do something 5 days a week. Crazy, huh? Coding is a joy to me, so I don’t see a need to break from it over the weekend. Certainly, the projects I do at work need a break so I can freshen my mind and come back with new ideas. But for me, I’d like to see the practice of coding something every day become a reality.

I hope you consider doing something similar. Treat your profession as a craft and work at improving your skills every day! I’ve already talked to a few people who plan to join us. Get your blog on and I’ll link to your journey!


Special thanks are in order to David Eisinger who got our wheels turning with his post “Around ‘Hello World’ in 30 days”. It was a delightful read (as well as the related posts) and fueled our desire to do something similar.

Published June 11, 2010

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