Negative news: You’re reading them wrong

Hindenburg_disaster,_1937People involved in developing software tend to mostly hear negative feedback: What’s missing, what’s not working, what’s been implemented poorly. Hearing this, it is easy to imagine that your software is shit.

Exactly the same is true of the news. We all tend to hear mostly negative news: Wars. Disasters. Crime. Hearing this, it is easy to imagine that the world is shit.

However. Realizing that this is NOT the case is a part of most software people’s learning process. In fact the opposite is true. The reason you’re hearing the negative feedback indicates that there are people out there that care about what you’re developing. What you’re doing is important enough to them that they took the time to report it to help you make it even better.

A lot fewer take the time to communicate things that are working well, are enjoyable or even delightful. And while positive feedback is certainly more gratifying, negative feedback is more valuable. Negative feedback indicates things you can improve. Positive feedback just confirms that you did something right.

So remember: Despite all the negative news, the world is a mostly wonderful place. Look at the news as bug reports. They are an indication of things to improve, but not an accurate depiction of the state of the world.

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