Getting Back to a Habit of Curious Creation
I’m a master procrastinator, and an idea packrat. I stockpile ideas for future projects, only to put off the actual work involved in making these ideas into reality.
However, since I last relaunched this site back in 2014 I haven’t actually committed to doing the work.
But as much as I’ve enjoyed all this mere-living and media consumption, there is a part of me that has been left behind.
I grew up creating incessantly. I was mesmerized with how computers could do and make anything imaginable: software, games, music, video, 3D modeling, painting, writing, organizing ideas.
Discovering the mere power of computing, in so many areas, was a non-stop thrill for me throughout the 90s and early 2000s. I built text-adventure jet fighter games in GW-BASIC, platformers and Breakout clones with Klik & Play … and websites. Lots and lots of websites. First with Microsoft Publisher, then with HTML and CSS, back when CSS was new.
From 1998 to 2001, I made 14 separate versions of my home page, most of them not very good. But also, all of them experimental. I asked myself: What is possible?
And then, starting in 2003, I decided to turn “making digital experiences” into my real-life career.
I have never regretted that decision. Being a software engineer/designer is both fun and rewarding. The world of software is always ripe with potential. The tools available to us are always getting more powerful, as new technologies are made available. And if you do it right, real people’s lives get a tiny bit better.
I love this job.
Unfortunately, despite of all this, it’s easy to end up making only temporary dents in the universe.
The online casual games I worked on back when I was at Disney have all been shut down. The whole company I worked for between 2014 and 2016 is gone, along with the drag-and-drop-to-build-apps platform we built.
Digital stuff is amazing in that it’s a material without qualities—it can become anything! But it’s also a material that seems to disintegrate more easily than almost anything else.
I’ve made paper doodles with a longer life span than most of the software I’ve charged to build in my career.
In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, there’s a common saying that “words are wind,” meaning that people lie. Sometimes, it seems to me that software is like wind, too: briefly there, and then gone.
And so today, I’m recommitting to being a curious creator: Someone who explores, experiments, creates, learns, and then communicates the findings.
Now, where to start?
Well, I still have that stockpile of ideas I mentioned. But in order to build some momentum, I’ll focus on just one idea for now.
My idea is simple: I will explore better, faster, more fluent workflows for organizing large photo collections.
I’ll have more to say about this soon!
I’m only just getting started, but you can follow my progress on GitHub if you like. If you want more updates from me, I have an RSS feed and a Twitter profile, and if you'd like to get in touch, you can reach me at email@example.com.