Larry Bird is known for saying “First master the fundamentals.” Bird was obsessed with the basics, showing up early to every practice, performing basic drills repeatedly until he could literally perform them with his eyes closed. While not as flashy as contemporaries like Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Bird’s devotion to the basics earned him permanent recognition as one of the all-time greats of basketball.
In my experience, great builders of computer systems are similarly devoted to the fundamentals of their profession. They recognize that our field has amassed an enormous body of theoretical and experiential knowledge. Great systems builders make it a point to visit and revisit this accumulated knowledge, making it their own, so they can deploy it “with their eyes closed,” so to speak, when they’re in the throes of designing a new system.
In my own attempts to internalize the fundamentals of systems building, I’ve developed the habit of writing short memos that articulate what I’m learning in my own words. In sharing these pieces with colleagues at the office, I’ve been blessed with feedback that has deepened my understanding of the point at hand. In hopes of receiving even broader feedback, I’ve decided to try my hand at becoming a blogger. So if you find something of interest in here, please let me know what you think.