I am reminded almost every day just how ridiculously important communication is.
I’m sure that’s no surprise to anyone, but it’s one thing to nod and agree, quite another to experience it in a consistent and visceral fashion.
I am a software engineer by trade and I run a couple of small businesses. Communication is more important than the code I write, the products I sell and the services I provide.
Communication brings clients in the door.
Communication retains my clients.
Communication defines whatever problem needs to be solved.
Those elements of communication come together to earn trust.
That trust turns into money.
If I decreased the talent level of myself and my team in the software world, but increased our communication skills – we’d make more money and our clients would be happier. There is obviously a point at which this is no longer true (the point at which we are little more than drunken apes smashing away at a keyboard and hoping code pops out the other end) – but a mediocre product or service with great communication wins verses a great product with mediocre communication 99.9% of the time.
The 0.01% is the home of products or services with no competition what-so-ever.
People (myself included) tend to obsess about the little things. We obsess about honing our craft, about doing amazing work, about being technically magnificent. I look at a lot of code and think “damn, I could have made this code better”. It is very rare for me to look at code I wrote a year or two ago and to be completely satisfied.
0.01% of the world actually cares about your skills moving from 95% to 96% awesome. As long as you’re good enough to get the job done, and do it well, you’ll be considered “good enough”. From there it just comes down to the quality of your communication. No client you’re likely to meet knows the difference between code written by a good programmer and a great programmer, or a great programmer and an amazing programmer.
It’s a little sad, but that’s the way it is, and it’s true across almost all fields. Diminishing returns dictate that unless that one thing is all you care about, you’d be better served focusing somewhere else.
The same is as true personally as it is commercially.
A marriage is 90% communication, 10% trying no to be a twat (your numbers may vary).
The vast majority of humans don’t care how much you can deadlift, how great your code is, or how stunningly beautiful your joinery is.
They care about how you interact with them and how you make them feel.