Deep Work

The concept of Deep work is one that I’ve been trying to put a name on for years.

Deep work is structuring your work for mastery. It’s about not responding to every email, not taking every meeting, and not working on any project.

It’s the opposite of what most people are doing today.

Deep work requires a plan, structured time to work uninterrupted, and work that leads to mastery.

Cal Newport, the Georgetown professor who coined the term, says that deep work is rare in this day and age, and as a result, it is more valuable. People who work in industries that naturally force deep work are hot commodities.

One of the big tensions I’ve had in my career is the lack of deep work in my sales role. Much of it is reactive and unstructured, and as a result it’s less valued than other roles, like engineering.

This is evident in how tech companies value sales people versus engineers. If you look at how referral bonuses are set-up, you’ll see that bonuses for referring engineers are 3-5X what they are for referring sales people.

Obviously there are likely other considerations that go into these bonus calculations, but at a high level that is essentially what the company is saying. Engineers are a hot commodity. Sales people are a dime a dozen.

Regardless of whether people call it deep work or not, finding deep work is a goal everyone shares.