I was wrong... 8 April 2013

I’d like to think that more often than not, that I’m right. I’d like to think that. It doesn’t mean that I am but I can’t help to think that it caters to some primordial need within my human mind. The need to be right, or of strong conviction is within us and our reasons to be what we are, to protect and defend ourselves from whatever is foreign, be it an idea or something more concrete is instinct.

This is one thing we are. Resistant to change, as if to appear, immutable.

I don’t believe, I know people can change, and people change all the time but they do not do it in the open. Some people spend countless hours in debate, arguing this and that and to my recollection, I’ve never been persuaded right there and then that the beliefs I held were wrong (or of no significant value).

Yet, it still happens and whether we like it or not we are affected by it and we can only resist change to a point. Beyond that point, resistance is futile (to quote the Borg) and it will only serve to make us unhappy.

The value of a good idea will always outweigh the bad and no amount legislation or bureaucracy can prevent a good idea from spreading. Nothing may change but the idea is out there and that’s a start.

So, I’m a Software Engineer and of course, I write from that point of view.

Actions speak louder than words, talk is cheap, show me the code. Unfortunately, I don’t know yet how to code human beings but I do know code and lately I’ve been less worried about being wrong and more focused on what’s moves us forward. I’d recommend anyone reading this to check out Chet Faliszek presentation at Eurogamer Expo 2012 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdwzvdZFxVM) becuase that’s when it dawned up on me that my worries about being wrong had paralized me to the point where it’s inhibiting my productivity. I still get things done, it’s just that I’m not that adamant about getting the design right the first time, I’m wrong more often but we move at a faster pace.

To tie this together with another favoured quote from Gabe Newell during his talk at The LBJ School of Public Affairs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8QEOBgLBQU)

By talent – which is a word I hate – I mean the ability to be productive.

I’m rationalizing a lot of my behavior around the idea that it’s better overall, if I can be productive even though there is a larger risk of making a bad design decision somewhere and what I try to do, is to make sure that these things happen in isolation, as to not have to much of an avalanche effect.

And with that I’d like to summarize with a wonderful web comic which I think also resonates very well with what I’ve been trying to say here. But before you click the next link, read the next paragraph.

Scientists (as not to generalize the entire community) tend to simplify their problem. For good reason but to a point that it becomes difficult to fit real world problems to solutions that make sense in theory.

Feel free to follow the link now (http://abstrusegoose.com/406).

It’s refreshing to see someone bash on scientists for all of their conundrums. And hopefully I do not misrepresent the comic when I say that theory is nice but it not helpful in general and generalizations in general is not helpful either. And that when we approach a problem there’s more value in being prepared to do whatever, to be able to twist and turn to put one foot in front of the other.

And in doing so, we will have to concede on some points but what we realize is, that what we thought was essential, wasn’t. We can’t know this from the start.