October 18, 2006 spout

Isaiah Okorie Asks How do you do what you do?”

From: Isaiah Okorie

Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 08:06 AM

To: csells@sellsbrothers.com; csells@microsoft.com

Subject: XSellent!!!


Hi Chris,


I am  a .Net developer working in Ghana, West Africa. I have been reading your articles for a while now and listened to you whenever the opportunity came along. I think you have been very inspirational to my own work.

[csells] I’m happy to hear that. Thanks.


If you don’t mind, I would like to know how you are able to organise you work. How are you able to prepare for your conferences and still be a prolific author?

[csells] I think I’d sum it up as: Commitment + Fear. First, I commit to something, then I let the fear of bad consequences, i.e. giving a bad talk, missing my deadline, writing something inaccurate, etc, motivate me to do a good job. Unfortunately, this means I spend more time working then I’d like, but generally the results turn out pretty good.


What discussion groups, conferences, blogs (if any) are a must for you?

[csells] Since becoming an MS employee, I lurk on a few internal aliases based on the technologies I’m interested in. Externally, I hang out on slashdot.org, joelonsoftware.com and computerzen.com and that’s probably about it. It used to be lots, lots, lots more, but I just don’t have the kind of time I used to. As far as conferences go, I generally only do the PDC and my own DevCons.


How are you able to keep up with the changes? What books do you read?

[csells] I keep up with changes by a) a broad familiarity with as much technology as possible and then b) committing to using it because it feels like it’ll be the right thing and c) using fear to motivate me (recognize a pattern? : ). I read books on demand given the topic I’m into, and then it’s 3-5 books in a week for immersion. Frankly, after writing a few books, I’m a bit of a snob, so I don’t read a lot of technical books for fun the way I used to.


Now you work at Microsoft, how do you manage your usual tasks’?

[csells] Honestly, it’s hard to keep up with the personal mail; I don’t do as good a job as I’d like. The web site stuff, e.g. blog, tools, spout, Genghis, etc, is catch as catch can. As soon as this last book is done (WPF Programming: The RTM Edition), I plan on trying to get some balance back into my life.


Many thanks for your inspiring hard work.


[csells] My pleasure.