I like building dumb ideas out.
Here are a few of my favorites:
CSSCMS - A static site generator based on stuffing everything we can into CSS.
Clean and Soap Bar - A strange little joke on a website lending legitimacy to a company.
Am I Online Or Not Dot Info - The most primitive example I could build of a microservice.
KevinThull.com - A glorious inside joke in the Drupal community to build a GithubPage Kevin Thull himself can not open pull requests for.
agilemarketing.biz - My study notes while reading The Agile Marketer for a job I used to have.
So why do I do it? I have been asking myself the same thing recently.
None of these ideas are in the least way profitable for me. Likely, none of these are going to land me a job. Only some of these projects taught me new skills, though it does help me sharpen some of them.
Perhaps my tech tinkering is a distraction from getting other things done that would bring me more income. Maybe I am scared of success and this blog you are reading is just another example of me wasting time and talent by being in an IDE instead of engaging with other people.
My friend Bridget says it best, that “Some people like computers because ones and zeros do what they are supposed to do when you tell them what to do, but people are unpredictable.” Typing out words on a screen has the immediate feedback loop that gives me a quick hit of satisfaction that something has happened. Working with others takes much more patience, though the payoff is typically greater. But the downside to a little code not working is the joy of more effort to make it work. The downside of working with people is sometimes a crushing emotional toll.
Building random ideas that come into my head is fun. Making little inside jokes that only a few people will see has an immediate payoff that I don’t need to maintain or explain further. It just is a little art project that maybe no one will ever even see. Like this blog post.
So I don’t have a single answer to why I build dumb things. Maybe I need to work it out more talking to people rather than just writing about it, especially since I have slides to make and strategy work to work out.
But I have no real intention of stopping.