Ciro Santilli has a bad memory for events that happened a medium time ago, for example in order of months/years. Especially if they are one-off things that have no relation to anything else.
For example, Ciro never remembers which places he travelled to just once, and who was in each trip! He has images of several places he travelled to in his head, and would recognize them, but he just doesn't know where they were!
Going back even further in time, Ciro starts to forget the less close friends he had, because the events start to fade away.
Paradoxically however, Ciro believes that this bad memory is one of his greatest strengths and key defining characteristics, because it leads Ciro to want to write down every interesting thing he learns, which motivated OurBigBook.com and his Stack Overflow contributions and his related Ciro Santilli's documentation superpowers.
It also somewhat leads Ciro to like physics and mathematics, because in these fields you "can deduce everything" from very few base principles, so if you forget them, it does not matter that much as you can re-deduce stuff over and over. Which is somewhat where the high flying bird attitude comes from. It is hard to go deep when you have to re-prove everything every time. But the upside is that anything that sticks, does so because it has a broad net to stick to, and therefore allows Ciro to make unusual and unexpected connections that others might not.
Ciro believes that there are two types of people, and most notably software engineers, which are basically data wranglers: those with bad memory and those with good memory.
Those with bad memory, tend to focus on automating and improving their processes a lot. They take much longer to do one-off specific deep knowledge tasks however.
The downside of the good memory ones is that sooner or later they will find tasks that no matter how much memory they have, they cannot solve without automation, and they will fail at those.
Also, good memory people don't enable others to join the project efficiently as much.
This dichotomy also explains why Ciro sucks at code reviews, but is rather the person who runs the interesting patches by himself and finds some critical problems that the more theoretical code reviewers missed.
Other effects of having a bad memory include:
- code duplication, or a constant fear of it at least, because Ciro forgets that some functionality exists already
- meeting aversion, because everything that is not recorded will fade away
- passion for backward design, because by the time a piece of knowledge learnt in school might be useful (and 99.99% won't), it will have been long forgotten
Related: jakobschwichtenberg.com/about/ from Jakob Schwichtenberg:
I'm a physicist and I try to write down things during my own learning process.In some sense, one of the biggest benefits I have over other people in physics is that I'm certainly not the smartest guy! I usually can't grasp complex issues very easily. So I have to break down complex ideas into smaller chunks to understand it myself. This means, whenever I describe something to others, everyone understands, because it's broken down into such simple terms.