Issue #004: The Taste Gap

Hi friends!

After a short summer break, we’re back to regularly scheduled programming.

I got interested recently in an idea that was put forward by Ira Glass (an NPR radio personality) in which he explains why we’re never happy with the quality of the work we do when we start doing it. When we get into something, like writing, programming, painting or anything else creative, we usually do it because we’re interested in a topic, follow the leaders in that particular area and, in general, can see and understand the quality of the work. We have a good taste. But when we’re only starting, we don’t have necessary experience to create anything even close to that and it makes us frustrated. This is what Ira calls the taste gap.

It’s important to know that everyone goes through that phase. We feel bad that we’re not as good as we want to be, we still have that good taste and ambition to creative something great. But we compare it to the work of those we admire, and we fall short.

Many people unfortunately never overcome the gap and they quit. It’s hard and the only solution is to keep doing the work, in a huge volume. Focus on regularly making the thing that you’d like to be great at one day. This is the only way to catch up and close that gap. Put yourself on a deadline, make sure you improve, at least a little, every day. For instance, I’ve never been a great writer but I read a lot, so I often get frustrated with the quality of what I write or that it takes so much time. So writing this newsletter and essays for my blog are one way to get better at it. I love doing it and I know that it takes persistence and grit to improve.

Your taste and your abilities will progress at a different rate. Just keep doing the work, the skill comes from deliberate practice.

Weekly favourites

  1. This week I finally got the new, 2020 iPad Pro 11” with Smart Keyboard Folio and Apple Pencil. I’ve been thinking about replacing my iPad Mini for a couple of months and couldn’t be happier that I finally did. Don’t get me wrong, iPad Mini is an amazing consumption device and I might still use it for reading books (11” feels a little unnatural) but it always felt limiting when it came to content creation and creative work. This now became my main device for email work, all my writing, photo and video editing. I’m still trying to figure out a way to do software development. Let me know if you have any experience!
  2. Speaking of writing, I bought Ulysses for my iPad and Mac. I’ve been using Bear until now but mid and long form writing is not really its use case. Ulysses on the other hand comes recommended by pretty much every single person I know that does anything beyond casual writing and now I understand why. Get it on App Store for your iOS or Mac devices and it comes with a free trial.
  3. I recently stumbled upon this New York Times article from over a year ago that feels like it was written yesterday, as it seems that everyone is now, more than ever, obsessed with productivity and getting things done every waking second of the day. (at least inside the Twitter and YouTube bubble) In the article, Adam Grant (of Originals fame) argues that we should switch focus to attention management instead. Excellent and thought-provoking read.


Being prolific is not about time management. There are a limited number of hours in the day, and focusing on time management just makes us more aware of how many of those hours we waste.

Adam Grant in Productivity Isn’t About Time Management. It’s About Attention Management.

Thanks for reading, see your next week!