Tuesday, February 03, 2015

cycle of addiction: 99% frustration, 1% pure elation

I'm watching the behind-the-scenes commentary of the movie "Field of Dreams", while working.

Because, you know, the commentary is about cinematography choices, and the movie is about believing in your own crazy passions and dreams.  So it's very relevant.

The director says:
"Kevin [Costner] would want to talk about the take.  And at first it just drove me crazy.  Then I realized you work for hours bumbling through a scene till you finally get a take right where everything is right, where the camera works right, the light is right, the actors are right, the background is right.  There's a moment where it feels good after a couple of hours of being frustrated.  He wanted to stay in that moment another couple of seconds.  He wanted to just feel good before we started feeling bad about the next scene."

I'm very amused by this. That's how programming feels! Your code doesn't compile. Eventually it compiles, but it crashes immediately. After a couple more tries, it runs but the entire screen is black. Finally it looks right, but runs too slowly.

A couple hours or days later, it all works.  The unittests pass.  It runs quickly.  You're on top of the world!  You go mark the task completed in your project-tracker.  Then you get to feel frustrated with the next task!

It's so addictive. It's hard to imagine not being hooked on those moments of elation.

This cycle also describes entrepreneurship.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

hate is not the real problem

Hanging out with my brother.

Brother: "Sometimes we get product feedback that's really negative.  Like: 'This is the worst idea.  You should take a shotgun and put it in your mouth.'"

Me: "What!"

Brother: "If people have intense negative feelings, that means they care.  If you listen to them and incorporate their suggestions, there's the potential of converting them into being your biggest fans."

Me: "I guess it's like how the Lord of the Rings book fans felt about the movie.  If the movies had been bad, they would've been the most vicious complainers.  But because the movies were good, the book fans became the most obsessive supporters."

Brother: "An intensely negative reaction can be converted into an intensely positive one.  The real problem comes when they are disinterested.  If they get bored and go do something else, that's when there's a problem."