New Ideas

My son was saying today that this project he’s working on
works but feels a little fragile. That is, he didn’t spend a
lot of time on the architecture. Instead he was trying to see if the
idea would work at all. For that reason, the code is mostly the remains
of trial and error connected with duct tape and glue.

I realized that this is actually a good thing. When you’re exploring
an idea, spending too much time creating an “ecosystem” is a complete
waste if you don’t know if the core idea is viable. In fact, it’s not
just about viability, it’s about knowing where the pain points are -
that is, you don’t really know what
needs to be engineered more
carefully and what can be deprioritized because you haven’t “lived” with
the code long enough.

For example, create an amazing object hierarchy that allows for all
sorts of extensibility is not super helpful if there is no need to
extend that part of the program. And a lot of times, with things that
new, you really don’t know where the joints are. I
mean, you can make some educated guesses, but how much time do you
really want to spend on a guess.

It reminded me of the story I’ve heard some comedians tell where in a
moment of inspiration they had an idea for a joke that came to them in a
dream and was amazing. So they woke up, wrote it down, and went back to
sleep. In the morning, they woke up and read what they wrote down and
were horrified that they
ever thought it was funny.

In a kinda similar we need to jot down our program and come back to
it. We need to see if it’s really a good idea or if your mindset at the
time was a little off and it just seemed like a good idea at the time.
If the comedian woke up in the middle of the night and wrote an entire
set instead of just jotting down the highlights, they would have been
both tired and profoundly disappointed in the morning.