Rubber Duckie Debugging



Vincent, the tall broad-shouldered BEAUTY of a man heavily featured in my Rome Report, is a data scientist. Or analist. Or something.

…He’s so pretty, isn’t he?

I kid. He’s pretty, but he’s prettier when he talks about stuff he likes. One of the things he likes to do (and talk about) is analyse data, write codes. For fun, he has made a model that predicts sport match outcomes and betting desirability based on available data, called BookieBacker. (Is it weird that I think that’s totally hot?)

Similar to No Zero Days, he randomly dropped this gem in conversation. Just like his jokes and his shirts and his socks when I can’t find a matching pair of my own and his are just lying there, all clean and ready: I am taking it.

The origin of the term is out of a story in the Pragmatic Programmer, according to Wikipedia. When people are writing code (or doing whatever) and encountering a problem, they have to explain what they were doing and what is going wrong to…the rubber duckie on their desk.

The moment they would start to explain what they were doing and what mistake they made. They would often realise something was wrong or what they needed to do next.

This works.

I think you can TOTALLY Rubber Duckie Debug your life!

When you’re faced with a problem, a situation, a negative feeling or thought, explain it to your rubber duckie/stuffed animal/the Microsoft Word Paperclip.

As you put things in words, you are forced to REALLY think about it, to reflect and as you’re speaking you run into the sore spots or the hiccups in the story: These are very telling.

You might find the answer or feel better, without having to take it anywhere else. And if you still need assistance, support or a second pair of eyes to find a problem, at least you’re closer than you were before.

Rubber Duckie Debugging clarifies. You find out what’s wrong, what you don’t know yet, what feels off, and you might realise the solution as you stare in the vacant eyes of your bath tub companion.

Give it a try. Debug your life.

Special thanks to the FAQ on this website.

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