The Rubber Ducky Method

Apr 28, 2021

Most of my close friends in college were engineers. Some were biomedical engineers, some aerospace engineers, some computer science engineers. The biggest thing they taught me was the Rubber Ducky Method. This is mostly used by people who work with coding a lot, but my best friend in the world had an obsession with rubber ducks so it just sort of stuck as a good lesson amongst all of us.

The Rubber Ducky Method is effective when you are stuck on a problem and you keep looking at the whole project and cannot figure out why a component is not working. My friends would write hundreds of lines of code for a program or game they were working on and more often than not, it wouldn’t work the first time around – how relatable! When you are stuck on a coding problem, it is best to talk out each line of code individually and explain what its function is meant to be and why you chose that code. Because you don’t want to bother friends 50 times at midnight the day before your project is due, the trend was to have a rubber ducky to talk to. Most of the time this helps your mind slow down and forces you to look at all the small pieces and you end up finding the error on your own!

I think this is relatable to a lot of projects we work on outside of coding too.

We are constantly looking at analytics to find out if ads are selling or if a social media post is doing well. We look at our wholesales campaign; the emails, the social media posts, the webinars; and cannot figure out why people are not responding the way we want them to. Or we are looking at a sales funnel and cannot figure out why a thank you email is not going out after people sign up.

But if we slow down, take a moment, and review each component individually and explain its purpose and why we chose that piece specifically, we can often find an issue with our thinking or our systems. We can then take that line of code that isn’t working and rework it so that our goals are met.

Now personally, I don’t collect rubber ducks. But if I am having a problem that I need to talk out, I have two large dogs that cram themselves under my desk that love when I speak to them. They are great at listening to my explanations for building a funnel!

So slow your mind down when you find a problem and tell a rubber duck all about your reasonings. They are great listeners!

V.A. Astrid

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