Lots of things on my mind this week, but I’ve mostly been thinking about building and breaking. I’ve decided to build a small database at work to hold a spreadsheet project that’s spiraled a bit out of control; it may end up becoming a SharePoint site or being fed into a larger database, but I’m learning things and that’s good. Part of the learning process for me is hitting things with sticks to see what works and what doesn’t. This means that when I try to learn new things–like building a relational database–instead of going about it systematically, I start googling. I’m really not good at sitting through the “hello world” phase of learning anything. I like to jump into the deep end.
But the way I go about this stuff feels weirdly idiosyncratic–I have an idea of what my end product is going to be and then I wander in the dark forest for a while, looking under rocks and inside trees, until I make my way through and I have something that more or less works. But because coding isn’t something I do a whole lot of, I often forget how I’ve managed to do the thing (good thing I comment my code).
There probably won’t be a links post next week: I’m going to Saginaw, MI for work and I have plans most evenings with family, friends, and coworkers. I’m looking forward to the evening plans, I’m not so much looking forward to the 8 hours a day I’ll be shadowing someone during regression testing.
- What the gospel of innovation gets wrong. This is a few years old, but I found it to be interesting reading nonetheless. Innovation and disruption aren’t always a net good, particularly when it comes to unintended consequences.
- Disruption heresy: lessons from Uber, Gilt & the Federal Reserve. Another old piece, but I found the examples in the title provided additional context on the subject.
- Dorms. They’ve invented dorms.
- And yet: startups that seek to “disrupt” get more funding than those that seek to “build.” Because knocking shit over and cashing out is more profitable in the short term than actually building something sustainable. We have a short attention span economy.
- While we’re talking about tech, enjoy this list of software flops. Or if hardware’s more your speed, I’ve got you covered. Or read this fascinating post-mortem on the CueCat which, 17 years after it was written, reads as curiously prescient.
- And lest anyone forget Clippy, I have a small assortment of links for your enjoyment:
- The tragic life of Clippy, the world’s most hated virtual assistant
- Clippy didn’t just annoy you — he changed the world
- However, Clippy is also what happens when you don’t listen to women.