Skip to main content

I'll Be Your Rubber Duck

I learned a new term today. Rubber Ducking is working through a problem by explaining it, out loud, to a rubber duck sitting on your desk. The act of explaining the problem out loud often brings a solution bubbling up to the surface.

I have experienced this phenomenon a lot in the past, although my friend Curt was the duck. I used to sit down in his office in a confused, frustrated funk, burdened by a problem that was huge, complicated and most importantly, unsolvable. I'd start explaining it to Curt, telling him what I'd tried and why it didn't work, focus on the impossible bits and...oh. I got it. Thanks for your help, Curt.

I've been responding to questions on the Stamp Forum and Bakers4Bakers, but I think I'd be more effective (that is, the questioner would find a way forward sooner) if I gave my opinion less and held space for the questioner to keep talking more. You know, like a rubber duck.

Although I think the Velvet Underground had a better way of saying it:

Video: I'll Be Your Mirror, by The Velvet Underground and Nico