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Selling

From a talk by Richard Hamming, a mathematician:

I have now come down to a topic which is very distasteful; it is not sufficient to do a job, you have to sell it. “Selling” to a scientist is an awkward thing to do. It’s very ugly; you shouldn’t have to do it. The world is supposed to be waiting, and when you do something great, they should rush out and welcome it. But the fact is everyone is busy with their own work. You must present it so well that they will set aside what they are doing, look at what you’ve done, read it, and come back and say, “Yes, that was good.”

I recognized my younger self in this so much. Ten to fifteen years ago, I believed that if you do good work people will just come and admire it. Sounds so naive looking back at it. Today, I understand there are two steps needed to push any new idea into the world: 1) do good work and 2) convince people you did good work. Sell it.


Don’t miss this one:
Skilled at working around the system

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