It’s been almost six months since I signed up on this experiment – to do nothing.
My decision was to put a hard stop on all creations. I started by transitioning out of my open source projects, my co developers were kind enough to take the responsibility. Lucky to have worked with awesome people. I stopped the idea notebook. And peacefully ignored the thoughts about new applications, beautiful systems and mash-ups.
I have awesome friends who are passionate about life, the world and software bridging the gap between. During these months, I did manage to get out of our awesome discussions on the future, and software taking over the world I have said no to many opportunities to collaborate and build with you. My apologies if I have hurt you or sounded arrogant. You now know the reason.
So what did you do in these months?
I saw tidbits and observed. Every time I would get dragged by urge to create, I would remind the self “It’s 2013, so what the what..”
I spent a good amount of time with friends. I tried awesome working hours. I cooked food at home for most of the days. I cooked for friends too… good stuff. Worked out daily for some months. But then there came the dimension of mind…
I saw relationships being forged and being washed away. I saw how people elope with loved ones I saw the fear, the worry of having (and not having). I saw how we manipulate. Just because one thing matters to us, how we make the world tune to that one thing. And we justify the puny little deeds of ours.
I thought about my thoughts. I got curious. Tried. I got attached, terribly so. I would wake up with them, and try to push them away.. only to bring them to be with me all day. I tried desperately to get out of it. I wrote down on scraps of papers, dump the emotions, reduced everything to just concepts in my mind. Multiple times. And I would get curious again. It’s 2013, so what the what… I remember the weekend I spent on just thinking about “someday”, the science of it… seriously.
About curiosity, it drove me crazy when I thought I had to learn a thought or fathom its depth. It drove me crazy when I did learn. Unending cycles of craziness. So the key take away, if you’re able to reduce something to just a concept; stop, stop, absolutely stop there, don’t get curious
I discovered the fear of resonance. The first time ever. There were moments where I did not speak, I had two concerns. First, I was afraid words may dilute my thoughts. Second, what if the whole universe can relate to what I said. The immense power of that relatedness scared me. It still scares me.
I had a concept that actions should never depend on the people or the environment. What is right is right; the river has to flow, so it flows… across the mountains, the gorges, the plains or the canals. The environment is just a detail. I think I have tried to live up to this, consequences… not sure.
Along the way, some things in the present triggered the past. Thanks to the stupid pattern matching engine in my head, I spent evenings in the past as well It was worth it, you know; when you look back and smile at your old self.
Well, that’s a summary of what nothingness does I stopped creating, but curiosity picked up a different channel, it appears.
Long time. I have four days of rest now. Time to reflect and reconcile the bits n pieces I collected along… one more experiment after that, may be. Let’s see.
// A friend’s post triggered a thought on creation today morning. I thought to pen down my experiment…
Why do I need to reach the summit? Is there a destination?
A creation, a beginning or an end; I need none.
There is no crest or trough. Neither rise, nor the fear of fall.
This moment is all that is. Let’s live it and just be…
I create the worlds of thoughts; but they can’t be real.
This feeling, so magnanimous and beautiful;
can a world so small contain it all?
Joy is all that is. Let’s immerse in it and just be…
Let it flow, ever pure, eternal and free; lead us to the ocean infinite.
I wish I could speak it out;
can the play of words paint that?
Silence is all that is. Let’s smile and just be…
Beautiful things are moulded when the right amounts of opposites get together. Similar principle applies to us, as individual and teams.
As with tons of other examples in nature, let me talk about a triplet here.
Our first set of heroes are visionaries, and are great starters. They love ambiguity, chaos and randomness in general. They will figure a path out. Second party comes here, they love complexity. Ignite an idea and hand it over to them, they will make sure the idea turns a reality. The last party is realistic, rational? people. They ask a lot of questions. They don’t love assumptions. Any time first and second fly high, the last pinches them and brings them back to world
Step back. Think what you bring to the table. And what are the unique perspectives of others around the table.
Respect. Listen. Listen some more. Ask.
Everything you create will be beautiful.
.. so let me put it this way.
Time to work on tough problems.
No status reports.
No meetings, sync ups blah blah.
Just a problem and you.
End of the session, huddle, brainstorm, share.
And begin with a new set of problems to tinker!
Do you define it as “value added” or the “awesomeness of the journey”?
I think it’s both. If you see the short term, we are rewarded based on the value we add. But in the long term, say when I’m fifty, the only thing that may matter is the awesomeness of the journey of last half century. Values will tend to average out
Interestingly “value” is often a misnomer. We, the engineers, may be bit more myopic on definition of “value”. We define something (which is just an implementation detail) as valuable, and in turn miss out the “Big Picture”.
Next time you’re thinking of stretching yourself for that “valuable” item, please think “wider” and “long term” too before jumping!
One evening in August 2012, I and a friend were taking a stroll around Building 3 Campus. We had just signed off on a big product release. Aside the usual armchair philosophy discussion , another interesting topic came up – what were the painful feature cuts from the last release, and the biggest customer asks. After two more rounds around the building, we had closed on a side project to experiment and apply our learnings from last release.
17th August, 2012 – Initial checkin. And on 27th August (couple of insane coding sessions, head bangs and workarounds later), we had a workable version, so prep’d a demo video and announced our side project to the team! We got great response. The next milestone – let’s productize that!
We got a feature crew, threw the initial prototype design, wrote some more awesome code, broke that couple of times with our tests and.. today we announced the feature to our customers as a CTP release.
Feels good. “Work on a feature from prototype to ship” – checked.
Some things went well, a few lessons learned; all that in another post. For now, I’ll take a deep breath and sleep