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April 24, 2014

Be Remarkable… Or Don’t Be a Coder

remarkable(adj): worthy of attention; unlikely or surprising; likely to be noticed

It was Iraq 2005 and there was a girl I liked. Problem was… so did every other guy. In fact, you could say she was overloaded with guys trying to get her attention. She was gorgeous… as you can see from this picture:

sonja

And, she had an intriguing personality. She was the kind of person everybody just wanted to get to know. So, it was no surprise every guy was “after” her.

And, I was stuck.

I wanted to get to get her attention. I wanted to impress her. I wanted to get her to like me. But so did everybody else. And, so I kept trying to figure out…

How do I stand out?

How do I make her notice ME instead of them? How do I get her to talk to ME instead of them? How do I get her to like ME instead of them?

I couldn’t figure it out.

Then, I came across a dating advice book… which I read cover to cover. And, it blew my mind. It wasn’t your typical… “buy her flowers, treat her like a queen” advice…

Which is what every other guy around her was doing (and frankly didn’t seem to be working).

It gave a lot of counter-intuitive advice… but one thing that really stuck out to me was that it said to “be different… in a good way”. Meaning… do things differently than every other guy around here… but not in some weird creepy way.

So, I did.

I would approach her and talk to her… but every time I did… instead of being nice to her and telling her how gorgeous she was, etc… I would instead make fun of her.

Not in a mean way… just teasing her.

And honestly I was a bit terrified every time I did. It was completely opposite of what I had been taught growing up. But, it seemed to work.

I started to notice her approaching me more and more. In fact, she began to ignore a lot of the other guys trying to get her attention… and began hanging around me almost exclusively.

Well, it ended up working our pretty well… because now 9 years later… her and I just had our 8th wedding anniversary and have an awesome family together.

But, I often wonder what would have happened had I never made that leap of faith? Where would I be if I had never took a risk and decided to be remarkable… “different in a good way”.

I wouldn’t have my two boys. I wouldn’t have my wonderful wife. I might not even be a coder.

Who knows?

But, I’m glad I did.

Now, here’s how this story will make you a better coder…

If you want to be a great coder… you need to do the same thing.

I often get asked, “How do I get clients to pick ME to work on their projects?” or “How do I get employers to hire ME as their developer?”

The answer is the same…

Be remarkable!

Be different in a good way.

How do you do that?

1. Care. Give a shit about your clients or employer. Make what matters to them matter to you. Even if they’re not your client or employer yet… research them and find out what matters to them… then start making their priorities… your priorities.

2. Be an Artist. Give a shit about the work you do! Labor over the details. Be passionate about things being done the “right way”. Invest emotionally into your work. If you can’t do that… then coding isn’t for you.

3. ¬†Take Risks. Dare to be different. Dare to stand out. Not just for standing out’s sake… stand out because you care… because you’re an artist… because you have a perspective and you’re going to hold to it.

If you can’t do those things, you’ll never be a great coder. You’ll continue to hit your head on the ceiling wondering why you can’t consistently get high-paying clients doing the work you love to do.

And, the answer is because… to them… you’re just like everybody else trying to get their attention.

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