The first time I read his blog, I went blank. The combination of research and thought that was put in most of the postings was so clear and refreshing. It was different. I wanted to write like him, may be if possible- even think like him.
So, this year I wanted to take that extra plunge and do things I wanted to do but was too scared to think about it. This is one of them. I have always wanted to interview him but thought he would deny. I was so sure, he would deny that I decided to write an email and ask. I mean- what the heck- he would deny anyways, so why not just write an email and forget about it.
I ended up getting 15 minutes of his time- so here is Jurgen Appelo!
How do you inspire yourself everyday?
I have no need to inspire myself. I am always curious to know how the world works, and I always want to find out what my own opinion is on many different topics. So I never have trouble picking up another book, or a science magazine, or reading blog posts. Because I know that I will be interested in the new knowledge available for me to discover. And I am usually rewarded with insights, in the form of "Wow, I never knew!" or "Of course! That explains it!" I really love such moments. And then, having picked up new things here and there, I am ready to write about my own thoughts, which is usually little more than connecting the dots between different things I've learned.
Do you have a regular schedule that you start your day with?
No, I have trouble getting out of bed. But I also have trouble going to bed (always too late), so that compensates for the first problem. :) I don't keep regular schedules throughout the day, because for me that doesn't seem to work. For example, writing is something I cannot do for 8 hours straight. I simply lose my concentration. I like my days best when I do a number of different things.
How did you train yourself for what you are doing today (and I don't mean the certifications and degrees)?
I'm afraid I have a very boring answer: I simply read a lot, and I practice a lot. I have read a few different books on writing (how to write well, how to write blogs, how to write books). It helps to learn from the experts that way. But practice is even more important. Looking back at the first blog posts I wrote, I think they are awful. I became much better at writing blog posts. But you only get there by writing many bad ones first. Now I'm writing a book for the first time. And it's a whole new learning experience for me. Maybe some time in the future, when I'm writing my 10th book, I will look back on the book I'm writing now, and I will think "My god, that was an awful book I wrote back then!" :)
What is more important- talent and IQ or the inspiration and conviction to go the extra mile?
Both, I think. If you are untalented it seems to me it doesn't make much sense to go the extra mile. It would be a waste of effort. For example, I know I am bad at sales and account management. It's not my thing. I could spend 100 hours trying to learn it, but (because I have no talents in that area) the return on investment wouldn't be worth it. Of course, I probably would get a little better at it, but not much. Instead, it is wiser to spend those 100 hours on things that I have some talents in. Because then the return on investment is much higher.
Thank you very much.
Oops I forgot to ask, if I can have an autograph- a signed copy of a sticky note would do.