Dane Lyons

CPO at Hacker Noon

Talking to a Developer [Part 1]

Approaching a developer in the wild might seem intimidating. We have a bad habit of mixing words and phrases into our vocabulary that make us sound like Geordi La Forge geeking out on how warp engines function.
But have no fear. It is easy to use that innate curiosity to your advantage. In this series, you'll learn a few simple techniques to help bridge the language barrier.
The absolute easiest way to start talking to a developer is to replace a tempting ice breaker sentence with a much better alternative. Never break the ice with:
How long would it take...
Simply swap that out that with:
What do you think about...
It might not seem like a big deal but the distinction is really important. When you ask "How long would it take...", what you're really saying is:
I think about you as a tool or a resource to build the things that I want. So please tell me how much time it'll take for you to complete one of the things that I'm considering so that I can maximize your utility.
Probably not the best way to start a conversation if we're being honest. Now let's compare that to "What do you think about...". In this case, what you're saying is:
I think about you as a partner. I've got an idea and I want to share it with you because I think it could help solve a problem we're facing. Let's think through our options.
That one simple change sets the tone for a much more inviting conversation. Try it out and let me know how it works.

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