Saturday, April 30, 2011

Having an opinion

In this blog post I will explain why having an opinion is important.

At my first job as a software developer there was a legendary senior developer. Hey called himself a technocrati. He had a vast amount of experience, a no-nonsense way of communicating and openness towards the inexperienced. although he could program circles around me while being blindfolded and with one arm tied behind his back, he always took the time to explain things to me if I had a question.

Although I learned a lot from him, he gave me one pivotal piece of advice: "Have an opinion".

Like all sayings of masters, one should reflect on the meaning.

I am certain that having a opinion, means have a well founded opinion. Having an opinion without a clear reason is void of meaning. It could come around with the sleightest amount of suggestion.

If the advice "Have an opinion" actually means "Have a well founded opinion" the meaning becomes clear to me. Study relentlessly. So I did, and I am still doing that.

An other interpretation of the advice I gleaned from the behavior of "the master" is this. "Have an opinion, and voice it".

It is nice to have a well founded opinion, but it is a waste if you hold it back. By giving your opinion on a certain topic, you are effectively spreading knowledge. For me this was enticing. It was not uncommon to have to following thoughts after a meeting with the master. Why does someone have this "outrageous" opinion? He seems a knowledgeable person, maybe his ideas have merit. Let's just look into them just to be sure.

I would like to conclude this blog post with my narrated version of his advice. Have a well founded opinion, and voice it.

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