Takeaway of the Week: Sharpen Your Saw!

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Some days ago, Marcel pointed me to the Tech Blog of Zalando. I expected some rather technical success stories of how they manage their server infrastructure and how they solved some of the challenges while scaling up. I was wrong.

Zalando publicly shares some behind-the-scenes insight into their team which is at least as interesting as the technical stuff (which is also a relevant part of the blog of course).

In May 2013, Martin Bell published a blog post about some fun retreats Zalando organized for their teams and he starts the post with an anecdote:

Suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree.

“What are you doing?” you ask.

“Can’t you see?” comes the impatient reply. “I’m sawing down this tree.”

“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”

“Over five hours,” he returns, “and I’m beat! This is hard work.”

‘Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?” you inquire. “I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”

“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing!”

A story from Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I think this can be applied to everyone that’s working in any position that requires some kind of creativity in problem solving: Never stop learning and never stop to improve your skills and processes!