Dear Old Me / Dear Young Me - On Persistence

Dear Old Me,

Remember how you struggled with Bit Blitting, so you made that Calvin & Hobbes fighting game using transparent icons?

That was a cool but hacky way to solve that problem. Are you still stubbornly persistent?

I really hope coding gets easier, because it's hard to learn how to get better.



Dear Young Me,

You'll soon marvel at how much easier things gets. Learning Bit Blit through random blogs wasn't easy. Now there are now better websites like StackOverflow and Wikipedia that do much better at explaining concepts - but technology is also much more powerful and faster, so you don't have to do as much from scratch. Oh - and there's also something called ChatGPT now - it's AI that can write code based on your prompts - but that's probably a discussion for another day (honestly, we're still not sure of all the implications of something that powerful!)

You don't know it yet, but the thing that made you good is exactly what I'm no longer with: the absence of resources made you more resourceful. I mean ... Google wasn't even a thing. Remember how you had to search about collision detection on Alta Vista?

I can build things a lot quicker and easier now, persistence matters. Persistence mattered in looking for a solution, but now that solutions are everywhere, you have to be persistent with creating the problem. 

With so many answers at your finger tips, with so many people getting into tech, it's becoming harder to come up with something truly new and innovative. And even harder to see it through. All those answers become distractions. Solutions in search of a problem.

Then there's this idea that everything must be monetized, sustainable. There are a lot of people who will tell you why the idea you have won't work.

Ignore them. Build it anyway. Just do it for the love of creating - for the love of seeing an idea come to light. As you'll soon see - in your worst case scenario, you'll just get better and faster at coding, better at execution, better at delivery. You'll grow in both breadth and depth.

And... well, every once in a while (especially when you've not planned for it) something you create will strike a chord and resonate beyond what you could have expected. It'll frustrate you because it's often the idea you care about the least. The one you just whipped together, threw it out there and moved on.

That leads me to my final point: Don't worry about doing things in a "hacky" way. If it gets you the outcome you're looking for, that's a good starting point. If it resonates and you care about it, you can de-hack it later. "Doing it the right way" can be the enemy of creativity - or, as you'll one day hear someone say: "Perfection is procrastination."

- Alishah


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