I’m compelled to explain the goal of this post because it will look & feel strange to read unless you know why it’s posted. The objective with this is to get myself accountable with something I need to change/upgrade. Putting it out there means I need to do since a man is only worth his word and nothing more.

A secondary, neat benefit of ‘public accounting’ on this experiment is that it can be used as a manual/playbook to interact/work with me. I’ve come acquainted with other people doing this and seriously it’s probably one of the best things everyone should do. I will still probably withhold asking people about their usage manual when I first interact with them - just so no one gets pestered.

Anyway, to the point: I’m shy and introvert. I enjoy silence and doing - not broadcasting. Res, non verba

shy dog image

I’ve found a lot of people in the same situation and especially - since I’ve been around loads of developers for a long while I realised we ended up in sort of developer gettos[1] where shyness is the norm.

Opacity and opaqueness are what I have pretty much run my life by until now. I’m not a very public person in the sense I keep most of my thoughts for myself, and withhold any information that gets you to know me (e.g. SLEs esp. NDEs I’ve had) on purpose, never explaining much of what’s going on or what has happened and never shown what the English would call “my true colors”. So much so, it was even difficult for me to say what I do in a professional sense. (That is inventing - therefore I’m somehow in a sense an inventor.)

I tend to live by the quote of “If you don’t have anything good to say, say nothing.” Which is one of the most valuable precepts I have ever encountered.

If you combine the three [shyness, opaqueness and not saying what you think] you have a successful recipee for disaster, social awkwardness and for no one to really know you. Great!

That wouldn’t be a problem - unless you want to make it one - if it wasn’t because I need to lead and you can’t lead when you don’t express things suscinctly.

When building a team, people want to get to know you - who they work with and what has he/she done in the past. Questions like why should I be here, why should I do this, is this the best use of my time, etc. pop in people’s minds every now and then. That’s when you need to sell yourself, your business, why what they are doing is relevant, etc. If you don’t like talking (except for a few gotchas) it’s unlikely anyone will stay long.

On top of that, I’ve also found out sometimes I’m so engrossed into something still while speaking with someone I might say stupid things and look like an idiot. Not that’s an issue with me but certainly sometimes puzzles people who think I’m intelligent. So bear with me if sometimes I say stupid things, I probably I’m absent-minded (or plain not that smart afterall).

I like being left alone, liking to spend time alone I’ve found in people with a rich internal life. So they can think. Also it’s a sign, combined with habit, of ambition.

Ambition is one of the biggest problems of becoming more “public” (as if it was something good) is how people knowing who I am, what I’ve done/tried and what my ambitions are makes them feel like. Even on a team, where if the promise of what I’m trying to achieve gives employees, associates, partners, etc. a part of the upside in something most people will consider a big positive reinforcement - the situation turns pretty awkward.

Ambition, once it’s externalised is not something you can take back. I really think of this every time I have externalised even a bit of my ambitiousness:



I’ve found a way to kind of escape the question, which works really well for something along the lines of “what do you want?” I go for a classic “I want it all”. Which seems to satisfy most people’s curiosity without anyone being alienated. The funny bit of this hack is that sentence is void of substance but escapes the low pass filter most people have and satisfies the other party. A win-win.[2]

On judging, I try to do it as little as possible. If I could do it less I would do it less and this is always a personal area I’m trying to improve on.

Same goes for complaining, whining, etc. Personal rule is not allow these and another area to keep improving on.

The goal with this experiment is to leave behind my shyness and be somehow extrovert (huh, sounds hard already) but not to do so just to broadcast what I’m doing, who I am, etc. I’m going to try and be more transparent and not dodge questions as I usually do. Let’s see how that goes.

The outcome I’m after is to become public without pushing “me” into anyone. First, I don’t want to be ‘too much’, annoying or be all over the place - but to do so [becoming more public] in a way people like me. My goal will be to try open up trying to be of help both from what I know and what I have experienced.

Another key piece in this playbook seems to be the fact sometimes, unbeknownst to me, I’ve been told I’ve been “on the edge of being rude, a bit edgy and close to speechless”. This usually happens when I’m either trying to figure something out and I’m in the middle of the creative process (and get interrupted), and/or when I’m in the midst of being harsh to myself for results, performance, or delays. The worse part is, since I don’t have a feeling for this can’t tell when I do it. So this is going to be a long way.

I also do question things and why things are done in a manner or another - just as pure curiosity when asking someone else. If I seem rude to you, it wasn’t my intent.

➝ Let’s see how the experiment goes.


Update - circa 30th October 2021: I think I’ve been able to surpass shyness and make it appear as if I’m an extrovert other than the sort of awkwardness every now and then - especially during mornings while warming up onto this. At least, I’ve done so to the standards I set when trying this experiment.

Questions that still need response (not exhaustive):

What's the aftermath of the experiment?
Is the habit consolidated?
Any fundamental changes?
What is next?
How to apply this (and how I do it) so I get what I want?



[1] If they [hackers/coders/etc.] also live together it’s called a hacker house, if they working on something toghether for a weekend a hackathon, if it’s for a longer timeframe an opensource project and if they plan to make money a startup)

[2] Not everyone has the same ambitions and seems like the higher up you shot the better. Which is not true. A successful life is, I think, measured in how well you match with what you want. If your goal in life is to go through it and to spend every night chilling with your partner or friends - and wander around on the weekends that’s a successful life. And it’s equally, if not more successful, than that of someone who is building a company or that of someone who is economically afluent because of his efforts. It’s society who has skewed how we judge.