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!
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.
Subscribe below 👇
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"
Senior Mindset Book
Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companiesLearn more
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️