Beyond the 10,000 Hour Rule: Talking with Anders Ericsson on How People Reach Expert Performance

We’re all familiar with the 10,000 hour rule, which was made famous by Malcolm Gladwell in his 2010 bestseller Outliers: The Story of Success. In it, Gladwell makes the argument that 10,000 hours of practice is a critical number that separates the great from the truly extraordinary. One of the bodies of work Gladwell relied on to support his thesis were from research by Florida State University Psychology Professor K. Anders Ericsson, the granddaddy of research on how people developing expertise.

Ericsson studied violinists from the West Berlin Music Academy: the highest performing students did not differ significantly from average or low performing students by IQ, family background, or other factors. The only thing that separated top students who and those who would likely end up as music teachers was the total number of hours they had logged over their lifetime engaged in deliberate, focused, independent music practice.

By the age of 20, the top students had logged over 10,000 hours of this kind of training — a nice round number that Gladwell hammered home over and over again in Outliers. [1]  Continue reading…


11 Nifty Javascript and CSS Libraries for Newb Programmers (Like Me)

One of the things that can be surprising to people who don’t spend much time creating software is just how much code is really a giant mashup of pre-existing pieces of code that have been modified to interact with each other. The beauty of software is that it can be used without being consumed, like an idea or a piece of writing, and that’s what makes it so powerful.

In building side projects, I’ve found and used a number of neat Javascript (and CSS) libraries, which are organized bundles of code that perform specific functionality or style websites in certain ways. Here I’ll share eleven of my favorite ones. I know there are many, many, more* but as an apprentice programmer, these ones are particularly easy to use and I’ve been happy with them.
Continue reading…


The Problem with “Where Are You From?”

In case you missed it, I wrote up the results of the Asian American Man study on, where it’s been read by over 70k people. National Journal, an Atlantic Media’s publication, also wrote a great piece featuring the research in an article called: Asian Americans Feel Held Back at Work by Stereotypes.

Today we’re going to talk about a phrase. It’s a phrase you might use innocuously and infrequently, but one that many Asian Americans hear on a weekly if not daily basis, and can feel unfriendly, even alienating.

That phrase is “Where are you from?” Continue reading…

2015 art of ass kicking roundup

The 2015 Roundup

2015 was a big year.

I started it out living in Manhattan, working at Percolate, and just starting a new role as a PM for the Demo. I ended the year living in Brooklyn, working at Etsy, and settling into being a PM for the Seller Experience team. A whole crap ton of things happened a long the way: I took a GA course on front-end web development which really raised my game as a technology worker, I finally got my Guinness World Record certificate, I settled a long and protracted dispute that we can discuss another time, and I launched a side project that’s generated more money than all my previous side projects combined.

All the while, I’ve been blogging here. Let’s take a look back at the biggest hits on The Art of Ass-Kicking in 2015 (and yes I realize I’m a little late, oh well). Continue reading…