Sometimes, you gotta ask the duck.

Aug
20
2012

I was going to entitle this blog post “What the duck?”

But I thought better of it.

Here’s the deal: People often ask me how to troubleshoot things. Very, very specific things.

Instead, let’s take a step back and talk about two (similar) techniques to get YOUR troubleshooting skills better aligned.

Method one: “What do you think?”

In Galaxy Quest, this was a deleted scene. But I loooove it. At 1 minute and 10 seconds to 2 minutes 14 seconds in, Tech Sargent Chen is being asked how to fix “something". It doesn’t really matter what that SOMETHING is.

Watch how he handles it end to end…

How to actually perform troubleshooting (1 minute 10 seconds to 2 minutes 14 seconds.)

 

Yes, laugh at it of course.. but there’s some actual validity to what is going on here. By simply asking “What does that mean?” during  a crisis, you can quickly get to the bottom of many many issues and find the root causes of a world or problems.

This very recently helped me troubleshoot a problem on my web site, but can be used for just about anything.

Method two: “Ask the duck?”

I had never heard of this one before, but GPanswers.com fan John Straffin pointed this out to me when he wrote in and said he had an “Ask the duck” moment.

I had NO idea what he was talking about, but he pointed me toward this Livejournal entry: http://hwrnmnbsol.livejournal.com/148664.html 

and this Wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_duck_debugging

Reading it says it all. In short, re-explaining your challenge to a “fake friend” can help reframe your brain and make discoveries in all kinds of unique ways.

Now, I “Ask the duck” all the time.

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