Intro

2019 is coming to an end and I am working on defining my goals for 2020. Each year, I choose 3-4 things that I want to accomplish in the next year that are aligned with my long term planning. This year I noticed an interesting insight about how I spend my time and how that time aligns with what I want to do with my life.

It has been my goal for a long time to start my own business. In my early and mid 20s, I thought building a tech company meant getting good at programming so I would have the skills for when the right opportunity slapped me in the face. I am 30 now and I have gotten really good at coding, but I am not really any closer to starting a business than I was when I was 22.

Looking back on my 20s, all I see is a false positive feedback loop of dopamine kick after dopamine kick for every new tech tool I learned or technical problem I solved. Learning software development has been extremely rewarding. I love what I do, but I have this regret of what if I had focused more on human problems instead of technical problems.

I see this in other people as well. Last week on HN, there was a post-mortem about a solo developer that tried to help his wife with her job. Instead he spent what precious time he did have on upgrading features and changing out libraries.

My old roomate in San Francisco moved from Seoul, South Korea to come to the USA to live out his dream of starting a tech business. He would spend all day memorizing random company stats and consume news articles. You could ask him the market cap of any tech company of the last 20 years and he would know it! He built this false positive feedback loop where the more articles he read the more “progress” he would think he was making.

It is important that your feedback loops drive micro-habits that

Goals are the measuring stick of progress. Everyone has goals.

False positive feedback loops are habits and loops that give you a false sense of productivity.

Solving the right problem.

Identitying them

Examples

I want to create a website to help people; Then spends the entire time updating packages, thinking they made “progress”.

I want to Link to postmortem failed article Reading news articles / Reddit / etc. Asking a friend for advice on how to do something

Part 2?

Overcoming them

Conclusion

Make sure you are solving the right problems and that your feedback loops are aligned with your goals.