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aries1988 : thesis   5

The 'Out The Door' rant
In his superb book Writing for social scientists (which should be renamed Writing for everyone), Howard Becker talks about the importance of being the kind of writer who can get stuff Out The Door. He suggests writers need to think more like companies who make gadgets like phones and computers. Electronic consumer goods companies have similar problems to writers, but they have shipping schedules they must stick to if they want to stay in business.

The engineers will want to delay shipping until the product matchs the vision in their heads, but the marketing people will be happy with ‘good enough’. Even if the new gadget is rough around the edges, the marketing people will still make the engineers get it Out The Door. According to Becker the logic of the marketing people is simple: if it sells, there will be money for to build the next version. The next version will be be better, but, meanwhile, this one will do (some companies are great at doing this and still turning a massive profit).

The problem with intellectual labour is, although it can be hard, the effects of the struggle are not visible. My very favourite scene in the sitcom Big Bang Theory is where two of the characters, Sheldon and Raj, are collaborating on a physics problem. The scene consists of jump cuts of the two scientists, staring at equations on a whiteboard, while the theme to the movie ‘Rocky’ plays. The scene perfectly captures the inner experience of intellectual struggle vs the outer appearance of … well, pretty much nothing.

So remember: your inner engineering department does not always have your best interests at heart. You may not like your inner marketing department, but when they do their job properly you won’t go broke. Repeat after me: Perfect is the enemy of Done. Speaking of which – I’m off to finish editing that chapter now. The marketing people are nagging at me to ship it already.
book  writing  academia  thesis  howto  psychology  instapaper_favs 
july 2015 by aries1988
Thesis Prison
Family Thesiswhisperer has spent the last month in our hometown of Melbourne. We caught up with many friends and relatives while we were there, some of whom are doing or have just completed doctorates. One friend got pregnant twice during her doctorate and had a longer journey than most. While we raised a glass to…
thesis  phd  howto  time 
february 2015 by aries1988
Histogram using gnuplot? - Stack Overflow
binwidth=5 bin(x,width)=width*floor(x/width) plot 'datafile' using (bin($1,binwidth)):(1.0) smooth freq with boxes
gnuplot  thesis  howto 
august 2013 by aries1988

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