My roof is leaking. In five places. Whoever thought it was a good idea to build a house with a flat roof should be forced to duplicate Google’s PageRank algorithm in assembler.
So I called a roofer, Fred, to give me a quote to fix this mess. His skin is like leather and his voice sounds like a cheese grater…signs of a good roofer in my book. And damn does this guy knows what he’s talking about.
Expertise is fascinating. On the web we marvel at the forward-thinking genius of Paul Graham or the design expertise of 37 Signals. But a lot of industries don’t have this.
People who put hot tar on roofs do not tend to talk about the passion they have for their trade.
But the first thing Fred did when he saw my roof was to get downright upset at the shoddy work. They hadn’t sealed a roof jack correctly, and had left the flange outside of the [insert technical sounding word here] so they had to seal it with [hot something or other] and it was a complete kludge. There were at least six other comments along this line.
To me it looked like a normal roof. To him it was an insult to his craft.
Fred gave me a few options for fixing the leaks – a cheap one ($400) that would fix a few things but may leak as soon as next year, a more expensive one ($2400) that would fix everything and last 2-5 years, and a brand new roof ($6300) that would fix everything for 20 years.
And the look on Fred’s face when he was giving me the options was like something you see when you hand a developer a legacy website that’s suddenly started crashing under the weight of its own processing. He opens the code and sees calls that don’t close database connections, no database column indexes, and a snarl of spaghetti he knows will take a few months to untangle.
Sure, he can throw some hours at it and patch a few holes. But in the end the site will never scale and most of it will have to be re-written if anyone ever plans to take it big.
Passion translates into something incredible. It motivates co-workers, bosses, partners, investors and customers. People know when they’re in the presence of someone who really cares about their code/product/startup. Passion is impossible to hide.
If you don’t have passion for your code/product/startup everyone will know. It’s obvious you aren’t that into it, and people will not take you seriously. Without passion it’s impossible to convince people to believe in your vision.
Passion translates into being insulted when people don’t care about things as much as you do and are willing to hack a crappy solution together. It’s an insult to you, your product and your craft.
Whether you’re trying to get hired, promoted, funded or close a sale…passion wins. Ask Gary Vaynerchuk or Seth Godin.
I encourage you to show your passion for the one thing you care about most in your work. If doing so causes problems you’re in the wrong place. There is a home for people who are passionate about pretty much anything, you just need to find the partner/company/customer who is passionate about the same thing you are.
Fred shows up tomorrow to install my new roof. I have a feeling it won’t be shoddy when he’s done with it.