Lately we have seen a plague of Next Better Widget (tm) startups and bright minds all over the world solving frivolous problems that ultimately contribute nothing to the betterment of humanity as a whole. There are a bunch of people out there right now solving #firstworldproblems.
A waste of talent!
By being in the same boat I feel like I am betraying my ten year old self who had much bigger plans for me. His ideas on what sort of problems I should be solving was much worthier than what I have actually turned out to be working on.
The main difference between my ten year old self and me is the internet.
Back then I didn't have it, or rather what I did have was at a friend's house on a dial-up line if I asked really nicely. Sometimes even at the library!
The ideas I had back then might not have been world changing, or they might have been, it's hard to say, but the ideas I have right now certainly don't seem as grand.
This leads me to believe that the ideas we have reflect the kind of world we live in.
Spending a lot of time on the internet makes us see the problems that exist there. And they look like big important problems. But really, when you take a step or two back, they're pretty lame ideas that are almost a waste of time to have anyone working on.
Thus I have decided to go offline for a month, starting tomorrow.
But because going completely dark would devastate my life, probably make it stop dead (how unlike an addict eh?), I am going to set some ground rules that won't ban the internet completely; just make it a bit ... less.
- as a coding reference, the internet is ok
- wikipedia is alright, but keep it down
- I will continue writing my blog
- using 750words.com every morning is good
- there will be at most an hour every evening of HN/fb/twitter/email
- if something absolutely spectacular happens you are allowed to tweet, no reading outside the hour!
- checking in to foursquare is questionable ... perhaps ban it?
- skype is ok
To mak sure my slight addiction doesn't get in the way I will likely use an /etc/hosts hack and make sure facebook.com and similar don't load outside the allotted hour a day and I will turn off push notifications on everything on my phone. But I will try to rough it at first.
Right now I have no idea how this experiment will pan out. Most likely I'll keep finding some sort of excuse for not doing it or I will break down in tears and cry in a fetal position in the corner. I might even start reading proper books again! That would be awesome.
Hopefully by the end of the 30 days I will have a less polluted perspective in the world.
Wish me luck!
- Dont Fear The Internet Dot Com (aldorf.wordpress.com)
- The Economic Value of a Business Startup (dilbert.com)
- "If our ideas seem smaller nowadays, it's not because we are dumber than our forebears but because we..." (kellysutton.tumblr.com)
- The Post-Idea World (news.slashdot.org)
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
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