Hi, I’m Brandon. Welcome to the Art of Yak Shaving! I currently work as a technical program manager at a large tech company in the SF Bay area, with the goal of eventually becoming self sustaining if I can ever avoid shaving yaks. I write about random topics that interest me, usually related to productivity, personal finance/investing, business, and a tech career as a software engineer and now technical program manager. Enjoy!
Here are some of my top articles:
Technical Program Management:
- My in-depth guide to System Design for Technical Program Managers to help you prep for TPM system design interviews. Also, check out my complete playbook for extra practice.
- How to Crush the Behavioral Interview for Technical Program Managers
- Everything I wish I knew about investing when I was 20: Investing for Engineers: A Guide to Building Wealth
- Avoid the hype of dividend stocks and ready Why I Avoid Dividend Stocks
- Don’t Get Burned by the FIRE Movement
- I built an electric bike and replaced my car: 1000 Miles on an Ebike: How I Ditched the Car
So what exactly is Yak Shaving?
The term Yak Shaving originated by a PhD at MIT back in the 90s, but I encountered it through Seth’s Blog.
Yak Shaving is when you set out to accomplish a main task, and get sidetracked by other tasks that have no obvious relation to the main task, yet somehow are a perceived dependency to the main task. In other words, it’s the little annoying things that you think you need to do to solve some big task.
For example, some time ago I decided to learn Android and proceeded to download the Android SDK and related software. It’s large; quite large. So large, that I didn’t have enough room on my tiny SSD. So I decided to buy a larger SSD. Problem solved.
Well, except, I still had to migrate over to the new SSD. But before I could do that, I needed to backup my data like any responsible person would. I copied over my data to my headless server. Although the data copied successfully, I received a few ambiguous warnings about the health of the hard drives on the server. I decided now was a good time to backup offsite as well. So I started searching around for simple backup services. I finally decided on BackBlaze, but their consumer product doesn’t support us consumers who use Windows Server, so I had to sign up for their enterprise cloud storage and was on my own to find software.
This of course opened up its own adventure of searching the internet forums for the best software that would work with Windows Server. I found a few options, downloaded them and started trials to test out the backups. Finally, I landed on Arq and backups were in progress, but would take a few days to complete.
What was I doing again? Oh right, learning Android. Apparently the only way to do that was to find some backup software.