meandering creativity, symbols and emotion

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Can You Only Do One Thing?

The best part about my latest gig has to be lunch.

Most of the guys I work with studied engineering together at LeTourneau so they started the daily lunch ritual before I arrived. Since my neighbor Mark introduced me the group (and helped me got the job) I've enjoyed the daily conference room banter from day one.

One of my lunch mates is Frew Schmidt. He's an incredibly talented Perl hacker and all around Very Cool Dude. He's also a fun writer - if you are a coder and/or know how to read you should check out his blog. Anyway, hanging out with Frew is always fun and today after lunch we ran a quick errand and I discovered something very cool.

We're apparently on flip sides of the same coin:
I am a musician and aspiring coder. Frew is a coder and aspiring musician.

I love technology and coding culture but have had a very hard time figuring out if it's possible to actually learn to code. And Frew loves music and the music scene but has had a hard time figuring out if he could actually play music.

Both of us have spent at least 10 years each honing our craft. And interestingly enough the advice we give each other for breaking into our aspired fields is similar - emulate good coders/musicians, use simple tools, learn correctly, invest the time, etc.

The hardest question we encountered was about possibility. It's very difficult to determine what capacity you may or may not have to do certain things. And beyond that to figure out if you will even enjoy the process and end result enough for it to be worth it.

The ultimate risk is spending 5 years trying to learn how to do something just to find out you don't really like it.

If you spend 10 years doing anything you will most likely get better at it - but when you're approaching 35 your time gets more valuable. The end result has to be satisfying enough for it to be worth enduring the process.

Clearly we didn't figure anything out but it was great to find someone that has had a similar experience.

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