Matt Jezyk — The War for Attention
Do Less, Better.

Listen to Matt Jezyk — The War for Attention · 1 hr 38 min

Matt Jezyk (@MattJezyk) on his rituals to slow down and stay afloat amongst all the things competing for your attention; embracing change and automation; techniques to be more creative; the rationale behind his ten-year life cycles; why he just transitioned from Autodesk to Tesla; and a lot more.

Matt works as the Sr. Staff Software Engineer at Tesla in the group that designs and builds the "Gigafactories." He develops software to smooth out the design, fabrication, and construction process. Matt’s group is responsible for developing smart factories for upcoming Tesla products.

Prior to his current role, Matt was the Senior Engineering Manager for AEC Generative Design at Autodesk. He has been in the AEC industry for 23+ years and has spent the past 20 years developing Autodesk Revit and various other design tools. Matt helped build Revit Architecture and Revit Structure and led the team at Autodesk responsible for developing Dynamo (computational design) and Project Refinery (optimization and generative design). Dynamo is now being used around the world and has an amazing community of users who now teach these techniques at many events and conferences.

Matt's group also has explored new ways of building by connecting computational and generative design directly to digital fabrication tools and robots. Examples of this have been shown in the Autodesk BUILD Space in Boston and presented at conferences like ACADIA, SmartGeometry, and Robots in Architecture.


Favorite quotes

  • "Anybody using computers uses it to be more efficient. There's an automation aspect. The computer can help you do something faster than it was before."
  • "It's going to take you eight hours to do something. The first time you write some code for it, maybe it takes you four or five hours to write. And then the thing runs, like, in a minute, and you're done."
  • "When you have a copy of a van Gogh is it still a van Gogh? It's a representation of the original."
  • "You need to find a business that is making money while you're sleeping."
  • "How do you apply automation in a way that doesn't threaten or doesn't take the original person out of the mix?"
  • "I find that unless I carve out time to be productive and creative it doesn't happen. So that's a pretty important ritual."
  • "If you're hard thinking about a problem and noodling on it and kind of stuck, one of the best things that I've learned to do is just detach and go for a run, go to the gym, go outside, do something else, kind of consciously, don't think about it. But then your subconscious is still working on it."
  • "There's a serious amount of work happening for these things that are constantly competing for your attention. So why give it to them?"
  • "The pervasiveness of phones and screens and applications that are constantly competing for your attention, and these little sort of dopamine hits that you get, [together with] "the likes" that are there. That changes more than other mediums that were there before. And I don't really know where we're going from there."

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Episode notes

  • Intro. [1:01]
  • Matt Jezyk. [2:36]
  • Change - What do you do when you find a way to do your job faster? [14:18]
  • Learning the new way. [18:08]
  • Automation. [24:44]
  • What's your time worth? [27:21]
  • Firing your clients. [32:40]
  • We don't need you. [34:22]
  • Is it a van Gogh? [35:22]
  • Meaning. [39:20]
  • Being the first - Machine learning for artists. [41:46]
  • Teaching yourself. [44:19]
  • Code. [47:06]
  • Re-using your tools. [48:23]
  • Sharing. [50:54]
  • Slowing down - Matt's transition from Autodesk to Tesla. [55:13]
  • Flights & remote working - How many times you fly a year? [56:45]
  • Rituals. [58:47]
  • Commuting - Long commutes, transitioning in and out of work, and having autonomy. [1:01:15]
  • Autonomy. [1:04:24]
  • Mono-taskers. [1:04:55]
  • Competing for your attention - Separating work and non-work, services that deplete your resources and beg for your attention. [1:06:32]
  • Unhealthy tech. [1:08:37]
  • Altering how we interact. [1:10:15]
  • Try quitting social media. [1:11:24]
  • Meditative moments - Deep ocean dives, switching on your "background process," and forcing yourself out of your usual context. [1:11:56]
  • When: your best ideas. [1:16:12]
  • Working with your hands. [1:17:05]
  • Avoid work distractions. [1:18:58]
  • Email. [1:19:57]
  • Clutter. [1:22:13]
  • Personal success. [1:23:01]
  • A message to the world. [1:23:46]
  • Your 30-year-old self. [1:24:12]
  • Paranoia. [1:25:24]
  • Books. [1:26:24]
  • Connect with Matt. [1:28:16]
  • Slowing down. [1:29:01]
  • Retirement. [1:30:48]
  • Wrap up. [1:32:14]
  • Self-driving cars - Matt's thoughts on Tesla and the future of cars. [1:33:23]
  • Outro. [1:37:37]

Thanks for listening!

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Theme song Sleep by Steve Combs, under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US.

February 28, 2019