The key to <xyz> is ...

2024 / 06 / 14  •  Daniel Garnier-Moiroux

I was about to toot/tweet/post something along the lines “the key to good technical content is …”. But I was not online at the time, so I had to sit on a thought for a while. And I realized - who am I to blurt out such universal statements?

First, there is no “one” key to good technical content. I love a lot of tech stuff - blogs, guides, docs, conferences, videos. All of these have different “keys”, and even among the same category, different producers have varying styles and specialties. I’ve been rewatching Spring IO 2024 talks, and most of them are great. High quality content from wildly different speakers.

Second, I’m speaking from my own subjectif point of view. What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. I try to be attuned to how people think when possible, but that’s not always the case.

So what am I saying, when I’m starting to type out “the key to is..."

“What works (for me / for people I chat with) is …”

I’m talking about what I like, and what other people tell me they like! Usually after I produce some content, and people come to me and give me positive feedback, I reflect and try to extract what worked out.

But it works out usually means:

  1. It resonates with people - that’s good, there’s something you can take out of this
  2. It fits my style, I’m comfortable executing it, I’m having fun, etc - that’s too personal to be useful to other peeps

In no way is it universal. It was the right thing, for the right audience, that I’m comfortable with. Not “the key to”.

“What does NOT work for me (mostly me, not other people) is …”

The “what works” statement may actually be the negative image of what I observe and dislike. It’s a polite way of “do NOT do X, do Y instead”. I’m proposiing an alternative, which is somewhat constructive, but it’d probably be better to spell out the actual issue, why it does not work, and then only come to what you could do instead.


Anyways. Take stuff with a grain of salt. Even when I have conviction in my statements, at its core it probably starts with It Depends™, but I have not taken the time to think about it carefully enough.