Building Stuff 101: The Starting Point
So…I recently watched this video on Youtube about game development and the guy raised some good points which, I believe (and I’m sure he does too), can apply to far more than the topic he’s covering. I want to consider the points with respect to the starting point of building a way forward for society…generally
Let’s first consider reasons. Why do we build stuff? Well, my honest answer is that outside of necessity we build stuff, purely, because we like or want stuff. Now, why do we want that stuff to last?
- Practicality. We don’t want to keep building the same thing over and over. Especially the stuff we need. It can get expensive.
- Bragging rights. So that anyone that comes after us can marvel at how great we are or were.
Back to the points. I have changed the way he phrased them a bit so that they fit my topic better.
FIRSTLY, REINVENTING THE WHEEL. We’re told, very, often to not re-invent the wheel or basically invent something that is already invented and available for your use. It will consume a tremendous amount of your time and there are very little results for you to see. This is not saying that you shouldn’t come up with new stuff to build or find ways to improve the stuff that’s already there. Only that if there’s that tool that’s already created to make your life easier, then rather not go and try creating another one.
SECONDLY, DON”T START TOO BIG. Whatever it is you want to build, it should probably be just half of what you’ve currently scoped it out to be. When you start building, you need to feel the progress you’re making. The small wins that will bring you to the big win. But when a project is too big, the wins are very quickly overshadowed by losses. And dealing with losses can be very difficult. It’s always best to start off with something you can manage then scale up as you yourself grow.
THE THIRD POINT IS PEOPLE! People matter. I, personally, might not work with a lot of people most of the time but I am a firm believer that when you build something, you are building it for the good of people. Some people, even if not all people. If you differ in this opinion then, maybe stop reading? Anyway, I have learned the importance of sharing a bit about the stuff that you’re building with the people that you’re building it for. That way you get valuable feedback about the stuff. Like whether or not it is even wanted.
FOURTH IS THAT YOU SHOULDN’T TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE. Not everyone is going to like what you’re building and those who like it might not like the way you’re building it. This is more of the type of feedback you’d get when sharing with people. But the important thing to remember here is that not all feedback is worthwhile but it can be difficult to determine which is which. A good start is to consider the people who have experience with the stuff you’re building or stuff similar to the stuff you’re building. These should give a good direction to follow.
THEN FINALLY, THE LAST POINT IS PERFECTIONISM. There’s probably a lot of people who would with this one point alone because everybody obsesses over the idea of being detail orientated. But the thing here is that being detail orientated is not necessarily the formula for perfection. Also, in truth, a lot of people can be detail orientated in certain circumstances but still fall far from perfection. As the guy in the video says, we should rather work towards greatness as that is a much more tangible goal.
The greater lessons I learned from the video was that when working on something, it’s always better when you’re motivated to work on it. This is helped by being able to see positive results as soon as possible. Also, don’t do stuff you don’t need to. Time is very important and so is feedback.