Always Be Learning – Grow Your Craft

I received a great question about the value of trying out new tools after my presentation earlier this week.


Side note: I presented at an internal conference that Quicken Loans organizes and hosts every year for the employees in our technology group.

It was HUGE. – Extra thanks to Paige and Derik for taking much better conference pictures that I did.



Here was the question.

I attended your talk yesterday, and was wondering if you had heard of this tool:


It seemed desirable as it is cross-platform, and open source. Do you think it might be worth investigating in light of all of the other tools we already have at our disposal?

Thanks for your time (and for the talk, it was a good) ☺

I’ve seen this line of thing several times. Is it even worth learning something new, when I probably already have something that sort of does that?

Taking Scott’s advice (“Keep your emails to 3-4 sentences … Anything longer should be on a blog…”)

Here is my answer:

.. Thanks for pointing me to this! I have not looked in to this tool. However, when I led the UX team at Sabre, one of the goals that each member had was to research 1 tool or technique or practice every 6 months. Then to share it with the team. This became a monthly lunch that we would do together where someone would share the new thing they had discovered. Team adoption was NOT part of the goal.. just to learn and share. In fact, many times – the person sharing would end up saying something like … “and that is why this tool is not for us!”

It’s way too easy to work work work with our heads down and not realize the new options and approaches that are available and emerging in our fields. At Sabre, we didn’t have BulletTime – so this was one way we tried to encourage each other to look up from our work, and work on how we worked. 😉

So yes, I always encourage looking in to a new tool. You might not ultimately adopt that tool – in fact usually you won’t, but there will be value in learning what you like, new ways of doing things, and ultimately – growing who you are.

Side note: At Quicken Loans we set a side 4 hours every Monday afternoon to work on or learn whatever you want. We call this BulletTime, and it’s a great way to continue sharpening who you are. If you’ve ever seen me present on10 Reasons Software Sucks” then you’ll know how passionate I am about continual learning. We’ve chosen to be in a field that’s always changing, it’s up to us to always be growing too.


Happy Coding!

About Caleb Jenkins

Caleb Jenkins is an international speaker, author and 6 time Microsoft MVP award recipient, he currently works for Solera as a Director of Software Development. An entertaining and informative speaker who approaches software from a fresh perspective that spans UX, agile practices and technologies for enterprise customers from across the globe. Leading UX product design teams, coaching multi-team agile transformations and architecting and mentoring at some of the largest companies in the world, As a long time community leader and former Microsoft Developer Evangelist, Caleb is well known for his engaging speaking style, depth of knowledge and creative energy. Founder and Principal Mentor of Proaction Mentors, former UX Manager and Agile Coach, Senior Architect for Six Flags Corporation, Product Architect on a Cloud Marketing Platform, Caleb has made a career out of empowering others while building products and teams that delight customers and solve business needs. You can follow him on twitter (@calebjenkins) or his blog, and if you're still reading this, then you could also subscribe to his blog RSS feed or sign up to receive updates by email