April 11, 2018

Let’s Build Something

I should preface this with the fact that I enjoy puzzles, both the cardboard cutout kind and the solve a problem kind.

Most people build things out of a desire to fix a problem they see in the world. I’ll give you a for instance: I manually add books I’m reading and have read within a given year to this page. I don’t read enough books each year for this to be an issue, but recently I realized that the page was an incomplete representation of my reading habits. I read articles all the time and given my move away from social media, there is no easy way to share what I’ve recently read. So, I created this page, which auto-populates recently read articles (with the help of IFTTT and Instapaper), along with the date and time I finished reading them. This isn’t a perfect solution, but it gets the job done. My point is that I worked to build that solution because of a missing feature” of normal life. Others could technically copy or learn from my example in solutions they conceive.

However, I often hamstring myself into thinking solutions are all about being groundbreaking or revolutionary. On the contrary, solutions just need to solve a problem; and those problems don’t even need to be universal.1 I have spent a lot of time creating scripts and automations on iOS that I never use. Some of them were good experience, some of them even solved a problem that is no longer a problem in the constant forward progress of technology. In any case, I shouldn’t stop myself from attempting to create a solution just because it only benefits me or a small subset of other people.

So let’s go build something.

  1. World-renown web comic XKCD does have a counterpoint to creating a solution that takes too much time in its creation though.


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