An interview with Michał Taszycki
I believe consistent, regular and hard work is the most sure way to become better at a skill.
After leaving the corporate universe and developing a few computer games (like Motorstorm or Saints Row 2) for the PS3, XBOX and PC, Michał entered the Ruby World. Today, he makes delicious software at Applicake, manages projects and trains fellow programmers during Code Retreats.
Michał enjoys pushing people out of their comfort zones and into new rewarding experiences. He can also talk for hours about how seemingly unrelated skills (such as running, dancing, hand balancing or juggling) can help you become a better programmer.
Hi Michał! How was your last weekend?
Last one was quite unusual, as I've spent a large part of it in the local cinema crossing off movies from my "someday I should watch" list.
How you spend typical day?
That depends of the day of week. Typically I wake up and go to the office somewhere between early morning and noon. What happens in the evening changes all the time. Usually it's kind of physical workout, dance classes, socializing or just relax. I'm also experimenting in training new habits, sleeping patterns, and programming workout sessions etc. Because of that a lot of things are changing constantly.
How would you like to spend a typical day?
I feel I'm currently quite close to the way I want to spend it. Work at applicake, Programming Workout project and my other hobbies allow me to improve and enjoy whatever I'm doing.
What software are you using the most?
iTerm, Vim and various browsers for work; Things, Pomodoro and Notational Velocity for GTD and few little helpers that allow me to use my computer with keyboard only.
Imagine World without computers. What would you do for a living?
Fantastic question. I guess I might end up as a dance instructor, street performer or sushi chef.
Please describe your perfect holiday.
Hmm... I think spending a week in Barcelona, then few weeks in Japan and being a speaker at Baruco and Sapporo Ruby Kaigi along the way is pretty close to optimal in my book. I'll know for sure at the end of September.
What music bands we can find in your playlist? Do you listen to music while working?
Hard question... My playlist looks pretty random as I don't stick to any single genre. This might be representative sample: Ska-P, Apocalyptica, Balkan Beatbox, Magic System, Sepultura, Ramiro Musotto, and few hipster polish bands you probably haven't heard about ;)
When I listen to music I tend to focus heavily on lyrics. Because of that I rarely listen to anything while programming.
You’ve gone from videogame development for PS3 and XBOX to Ruby and the web ecosystem. How did it happen? Has it been a good trip? Do you miss something about your past life?
Being a video game programmer was one of my childhood dreams. So when I've had an opportunity to study Computer Game Development for a year in Scotland I didn't need a second thought. I've been working in two different companies afterwards and it was a really satisfying experience.
Main reason that drove me away from game development was unreasonable amount of overtime that is required at the end of most projects in this industry.
I don't miss it much. Web development is exciting as well. Also creating my own commercial game lies peacefully on my someday maybe list so I might come back to it in some distant future:)
You started “Programming Workout” website, how did you get this idea?
I was always interested in what does it mean to be great programmer and a consistent way that leads to becoming one. A lot of sources influenced the idea. Learning programming the hard way by Zed Shaw is one of them. My first Code Retreat with Corey Heines is the other. But the most important one might be Arnold Schwarzenegger biography :)
I believe consistent, regular and hard work on a skill you are passionate about is the most sure way to become better at it. The trick is to make this process enjoyable and automatic. There are a lot of things that were already researched in sport training. And the good thing is that we can apply many of them to programming workout.