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10x Programming Clocked

lytecyde profile image Mik Seljamaa 🇪🇪 ・3 min read

Twenty years ago in 1998 I began reading lectures set up on a website, developed by the loosely organised Reciprocality.
The research had then accumulated to show a major gap between different programmer's and their co-worker's abilities. A mystery was then recognised as to whether there were any methodologies that could lead to improvements in programming productivity. Methods appeared on the market aplenty. No definitive results comparable to covering the gap ever appeared.

A meme has since appeared spreading the idea that there are no 10x programmers.
While Origins of 10x paper has brought a sober touch to the topic dealing with programmer productivity.

Main findings:

  1. There is a mindset difference between the two sides
  2. Stress keeps people from achieving 10x levels
  3. AI discovered a subset of the meta cognitive skills now called meta learning in neuroscience (in contrast to meta learning in AI)

  4. Two Mindsets
    For a small fraction of excellent programmers the numbers are even more contrasting with the lower performers' scores, it is therefore a convenience to call the division Mappers and Packers at this point to differentiate the two methods of using knowledge ie the Mappers who construct and share knowledge maps of linked bits of knowledge and the Packers who store knowledge in neat packets ready to apply for specific behaviours and situations.

The Reciprocality team found that people who are stressed do not form as many links between the knowledge they 'record' in their heads. Also that dopamine plays a role in turning the Packers into well behaved procedure ritualists.

  1. Stress
    More findings accrued in the first decade that followed.
    That the whole division is due to stress addiction. That people use many cognitive skills as well as creative skills due to stress. That stress is markedly increased in post- weening period and especially due to socialisation stress. That brain has a striatum that handles the way we solve problems. We predict that it is the mappers that have a larger and developed Dorso Medial Striatum. Also that the packers have a larger Dorso Lateral Striatum. We think that the difference between the two is a significant neural correlate to the difference. That people use or have a lack of higher cognitive functions and executive functions.
    That stress leads to depression. That stress kills if we do not transform it into another somatic state by turning on excitement about challenges.
    That meditation can relieve stress in a week or so.
    That those who are not stressed often engage in metacognition and analysis.
    That autodidactics is major theme among the mappers.
    Since dopamine is involved in different ways in mappers and packers: mapeprs also anticipate few returns from outside or inside - they are more often than not the rebel spirits.

    That creativity index is higher among the mappers.

  2. Metalearning
    with metacognition appearing as a key to the thinking ways of mappers I was pleasantly surprised to find that exceptional performance over long periods of time and consistent improvement throughout the career was mostly down to a subset of it - meta learning skills!
    What we could see twenty years before it was confirmed. Research on big datasets let the AI based investigation discover, lead by Vivienne Ming at Socos Labs, that insensitivity to incentives is one key to mastery in any STEM field or knowledge field in general. The others are the a set of around 50 indicators that predict mapping. They are Self Regulated Learning, Creativity, Cognitive functions, EQ ans Social Skills. Moreover : they are all learnable skills!
    That is just where the magic starts: Mapping can be learned. It sort of pops in, out of nowhere, once stress is eliminated or reduced as much as possible.

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