TITLE: A Formula for Intelligence AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: November 28, 2005 7:22 PM DESC: I get smarter when I talk to other people. ----- BODY: It occurred to me today that my intelligence on any given day is roughly proportional to the number of people I talk to that day:
I = k|P|
This is true when I do department head stuff. The more people I get information from, the more people I share ideas with and get feedback from... the more I know, and the better I can do my job. It is true when I teach. When I talk to other instructors, I learn from them, both by hearing their ideas and by expressing my ideas verbally to them. When I talk to students about our classes, whether they are in my class or not, I learn a little bit about what works, what doesn't, and what makes students tick. It is true when I program. The agile software methods institutionalized this in the form of high degree of interaction among developers. XP raises it to the level of Standard Practice in the form of pair programming. Programmers who refuse to try pairing rarely understand what they are missing. The value of k depends on a lot of factors, some of which are within my daily control and some of which are in my control only over longer time horizons. On a daily basis, I can seek out the best folks possible on campus and in my circle of professional colleagues available only by e-mail. Over longer time periods, I can choose the conferences I should attend, the academic communities I can participate in, and even where I want to be employed. We all know the adages about hiring the smartest employees one can, about being the least accomplished person on the team, and so on. This is why: it increases the value of your k! -----