43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Make vol. 07, new Life Hacks column

makezine.com: The Simplest Thing That Could Possibly Work

Danny and my latest column, for vol. 07 of Make, is about "The Simplest Thing That Could Possibly Work." While the concept is nothing new to agile developers, we wanted to talk about how it relates to the lives of garden-variety makers and life hackers:

When choosing an approach to building code that will pass their unit test, XP programmers are always encouraged by their beardy masters to "try the simplest thing that could possibly work." Note that this is not the most comprehensive thing that could work, nor the most impressive thing that could work, nor even a particularly enjoyable thing that would just be really fun to build...

[In Danny's Life Hacks research,] geeks weren't developing world-beating frameworks that could "scale across the enterprise" or cook a plate of french toast every morning -- most of the scripts were hastily coded with the single-minded purpose of fixing exactly one problem.

The geeks' consequent leaps in productivity seemed to come not simply from automating repetitive tasks, but, one imagines, from not blowing two weeks engineering a bloaty system meant to solve every conceivable problem in their lives.

Among many other cool things, this issue also has a profile on Mark Pauline, instructions on building a weatherproof wi-fi access point, plus -- my favorite -- three methods for silencing a child's beeping toy.

Vol. 7 of Make is available at your geekier magazine stands, or you can buy it now on Amazon.com.

About Merlin

Merlin's picture


Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »