Archive for July, 2011

Motivation for this Blog

Over the past year I’ve been slowly working towards my goal of running a successful website.  After some fits and starts with classmates and friends, I’ve decided to work on my own projects to learn the current landscape.  While I’m a bit too risk averse to pursue this full time, I will devote some significant time while moonlighting.

In my projects to date, I haven’t been the driving force, I’ve really been a bit of a back seat rider.  It’s now time to take the wheel.

I’ve been trying to learn Ruby on Rails, as frameworks appear to be the next step forward in web development, and the community seems pretty lively.  As with all things relating to free time and motivation, it’s been pretty tough to keep the discipline to continue pushing forward when I run into setbacks.  I’ve learned some productivity tricks along the way, which have definitely helped, but it can be hard since this is something to pursue in my free time.  Doing something productive, however rewarding, instead of leisure while outside of work isn’t exactly relaxing.

What I’ve come to realize in the fits and starts, is that I have become somewhat institutionalized by my education both primary, secondary and at the university.  I have become dependent on people to hold me accountable and make me  hand in assignments, or tell me that I’ll be tested on material.  Since that dominated my education and I never had any significant problems therewith, I did what I needed to and spent my free time procrastinating on the internet on various blogs and aggregators.  Once that pressure is lifted, my idle hands crave something to do.  Those news aggregators, movies and TV just don’t satisfy.  I need that pressure, though, or I flounder and leave things unfinished.  I need a fire under my ass.

This brings me to my current pet project.  An application that will help me set a goal, and pursue it week-by-week.  I’ll have a friend as a bit of a gym buddy / coach to keep me honest and keep me from falling off when I’m feeling lazy.  With all the standard fare in the internet start-up community “Do what you know”, “Build a Minimum Viable Product… minimum being the key word”, “Ask yourself if you’d use it”, etc. I decided to solve my most pressing problem.  A need for some external motivation.  So what do I do?  I learn some more development skills by solving my own problem.  If it works out well in the end and it can help solve other people’s problems too.  If it doesn’t work out, I learn more about my own motivators and “how to play guitar,”  You don’t become a rock star unless you put in some time to learn the craft and what people want and how you can deliver that.  Has this song been played before by more talented developers?  Probably.  But you have to start somewhere and I could still use to improve my rendition of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.

As far as my web apps and the blog, it’s likely just more noise.  Who wants to read my blog or use my app?  Not the general population… not yet.  For now, this is for me, and my friends, and my coworkers, and some web crawlers, and maybe a few spam bots.  I’m more concerned about tracking my own progress and sharing what I’ve learned with anyone that might find it interesting.  To many, this will be just another Wantrepreneur in the crowd, but to me, it’s progress.

Here’s to a successful journey.

Cheers,

Zach