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Technical people suffer from what I call "Engineer's Disease". We think because we're an expert in one area, we're automatically an expert in other areas. Just recognizing that helps.

I've also observed that there are generally two types of confidence: the brash, in-your-face type and the quiet, in-the-corner type. The point is not the type, the point is confidence. You need confidence in order to tackle problems, which might be wearing a mask of arrogance.




It happens to physicists too, as satirized by SMBC [1]. Without knowing the first thing about psychology/sociology, I'd posit that it's because both have to learn what is socially accepted as a 'difficult' discipline. Since every other subject is perceived as similarly difficult or easier, their meager understanding of another field is magnified out to perfect knowledge (i.e. this subject must be easy to learn since it isn't physics/engineering && I've spent a small amount of effort learning it, therefore I am now an expert). It'd be interesting to see how experts in other 'difficult' fields react, for example, master martial artists or the like.

... but I'm not a psychologist, so take that with a heaping teaspoon of salt.

[1]: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2556


> Technical people suffer from what I call "Engineer's Disease". We think because we're an expert in one area, we're automatically an expert in other areas. Just recognizing that helps.

I've seen this borne out plenty of times. It can cause trouble when someone with this mindset doesn't realize that not everything is like software, and that 'moving fast and breaking things' in the wrong environment can waste lots of time and money.


Now I haven't worked too many places, so I may be naive and/or ignorant, but it's my feeling that most software jobs outside SV and the startup culture are also the wrong environment for "move fast and break things".



Also technical people are usually very arrogant in human sciences.

Just because psychology or art are not defined in formulas that doesn't mean they're easy. Quite opposite: they're so diverse that it's impossible to formalize them into strict laws.


> they're so diverse that it's impossible to formalize them into strict laws.

More diverse than the stars in the sky? It's a bit rich to suggest that psychology and art can't be formulated into strict laws. Pop music and advertising are some great examples.


You're right that psychology and art can be defined into strict formulas. In fact, they're much better at being put into strict formulas than most of astronomy. That's the main issue: when it comes to psychology and art, we significantly move the goal posts comparted to what we ask of physicists, and I say that as a research physicist.

As an example, I know practically nothing about psychology, having only taken a single intro semester of it at university. That said, from reading your post, I can already make the following claims:

You have a mass of 200kg ± 300kg. You have a temperature of 310K ± 3K. Your age is 60 years ± 55 years.

I'll let you pick any star in the sky. Can you tell me the mass, age, and temperature to the same accuracy?


Exhibit A.



The brash ones are usually fronting. Give 'em enough rope and help diligently when they fail. You need them and they need you.

We are all arrayed against the Dark Lord Entropy - humility and "measure twice, cut once" are nearly always in order.

And show your work.




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