The venom of put-downs is rocket fuel David 26 Apr 2006

14 comments Latest by Bret

Praise, support, and devotion are important elements of happy living in product development. There are few things more satisfying than sharing a great quote with the team in Campfire. An internal smile always lights up when you hear about how your decisions and execution made somebody’s day or work more pleasurable.

That’s the bright happiness. But its alter ego, the dark, guilty happiness of defiance, can be even more addictive, invigorating, and powerful: it’s the rocket fuel you find in the venom of put-downs. And you don’t need much to ignite a flush fire of ambition to prove them wrong.

Kathy Sierra tells us about how life in the success lane is the composite product of love + hate. It doesn’t take a wizard’s cap to figure out how to make the most of love, but what I’m suggesting is admitting that you can make the most of hate too.

Don’t be so quick to dismiss the hate in order to keep your shiny happy mind at ease. Yes, tone down the saturation of the hate to keep it from engulfing your soul with pessimism, but leave just enough sting to paint a bull’s eye.

Cherry pick a few haters, a few dismissive claims, and distill your frustration into combustion for a can-do drive.

14 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Jamie Tibbetts 26 Apr 06

Damn skippy. If I lack a nemesis, I usually lack motivation.

It’s a good thing you guys embrace “the hate,” because 37s will never lack for rocket fuel, that’s for sure. ;)

Hrush 26 Apr 06

“Hate” may be too strong a word for my liking, but whatever works.

Essentially, it’s about harnessing negative emotions for positive outcomes.

Anger, annoyance, hate. All of these take us to a fork in the road. Go left towards frustration and paralysis; or go right towards motivation and momentum.

Tom Greenhaw 26 Apr 06

The problem with rockets is that they burn out quickly…

Seth 26 Apr 06

I’ve been running on pure hate for 26 years now. It’s served me just fine.

Aaron Blohowiak 26 Apr 06

Well, in Health Psychology, we learn that negative stress is appraised as either a

threat (something that can cause harm)

harm (something that has already harmed us)


challenge (something that we can overcome.)

the factors that go into that appraisal are many. however, one of the main ones that is salient to this discussion is the individual’s appraisal of their own resources and ability to cope with the stressor.

Essentially, this article is saying to accept stressors as challenges, and to select when you will fight them or reframe the situation so it is no longer a problem.

Danno 26 Apr 06

“Good. Use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you.”

*cackles madly*

Sean Madden 26 Apr 06

I recently read a quote that applies here, and it goes something like this: “If you’re going to believe them when they call you a genius, you have to believe them when they call you a moron.”

Gerald R Williams 26 Apr 06

Hmmm. Well, this is an interesting proposition. If I want more power and immunity on the road, just snuggle into a Hummer2. That’s do it, all right. Of course, there may be some downsides to Hummers (and to hate). Are they really worth the price?
Another thought. Hate is a subcategory of warrior energy. True, to be a warrior, you have to have an enemy. But to hate the enemy is to loose power over them. The great warriors respect their enemies and outwit and outfight them. Driven by hate, we are blind. Driven by positive warrior energy, we are formidable.

Justin 26 Apr 06

Positive Warrior Energy… now in family size!

Geoff B 26 Apr 06

I remember that posting from Kathy Sierra. I thought it was very insightful, and by and large, I agree with her. Almost nobody cheers when I bring a cheese pizza to the table, but everyone eats it. But if I bring a hawaiian pizza (pineapple and cheese), two in ten will be delighted, and the other eight will have to order something else.

That said, we need to distinguish between different kinds of “hate” for a product. There’s a big difference between disliking hawaiian pizza and disliking the hummer. My enjoyment of a ham and pineapple pizza, however disgusting it may seem to you, causes you no harm. So your “hatred” of hawaiian pizza is purely personal - and can be considered a “good hatred” from a product design point of view. My enjoyment of a hummer, on the other hand, subjects you to increased pollution, more rapid depletion of global oil supplies, acceleration of global warming, and a higher risk of death or severe injury in a car accident. Completely different kind of hatred.

Ken Rossi 26 Apr 06

Bring on the hate. Haters are simply louder and more passionate then people that love you. People that love you integrate you into their lives and you are taken for granted and almost forgotten.

Haters talk more because they are convinced you suck and they want other people to hate you too. They end up being your best evangelists and they don’t even know it.

I have never seen a blog with so many haters reading it all the time and complaining. Good job 37s. Complaint letters get spread around. I just got one in an email. Craigslist has a rant section not a love letter section.

ML 26 Apr 06

From interview with Rian Johnson at The Onion…

AVC: As a filmmaker, do you feel you’ve done better if a movie divides people but has a passionate following, or unites everyone into thinking it’s pretty good?

RJ: Definitely the former. All night. And not that I get any distinct pleasure from displeasing people. Not at all. If you make something interesting, inevitably not everybody is going to like it. So in a weird way, that’s a very good sign to me. All of my favorite films are somebody else’s least-favorite films. I think that actually is a very good sign.

Bret 27 Apr 06

I get this uncanny feeling you people are talking directly to me. Perhaps it’s something you read of mine, but more likely, it’s just my overinflated sense of self-importance and it just so happens a lot of other developers are going through the same cycle.

Anyway, I’m defiant and rather aggressive by implulse. It’s in my genes. I’m not ashamed of it by any means. I think I owe a lot of my success as a developer to it. But I agree (& learned this the hard way), it can overcome you, especially when coupled with the anonymity of the internet. It’s easy to forget that the other half of my success is owed to good ‘ol staunch objectivity.