Dear 20-year-old David,

Data and statistics are a big deal. Technically hard things get easier. The community settles on libraries and approaches, collectively filtering technologies, removing your need to find the best technologies. It is better to be proficient in main stream technologies than first in unproven ones. Prefer open technologies to proprietary ones.

Curate questions you want to answer. Small steps forward are better than large steps. Evaluate what you’ve learned. Demonstrate these insights publicly, making your insights and methods available to others, trusting that others are looking for the insights you gain. Compare your insights and methods with others’. Keep these demonstrations and supporting data in a central place.

Your abilities and interests make some tasks more approachable than others. It’s better to emphasize your strengths than overcoming weaknesses. Well rounded is over rated. Work with people that respect this and orchestrate your skills with complimentary professionals.


42-year-old David