On tech choice paralysis and other fears that block success

The first cut into a sheet of paper is a nervewrecking thing. When coding you luckily get a chance to redo any previous cut. Lately I’ve come to realise that ‘just get going’ is a thousand times better than biting nails and fretting over how to start. Time spent on any of that stuff is better spent on getting a basic prototype out there.

So at first you didn’t choose the ideal framework or language for the situation. Maybe your database schema is wonky for the needs you ended up with… No problem! You’re a programmer! You bend that shit to your will and shape your own universe. You burn parts down and start over. Every tiny bit gets you closer to your goal, or your projects goal. So: commit to committing! Even if you only have 5 minutes for your project today, commit something. Update your todo, perfect that one css rule, add one mock example of a larger thing you’re working on…

For years I’ve been plotting and scheming imaginary projects, never finishing even a rough draft. Recently I sat down and decided: ‘I’ll build this and get it working’. A few weeks later the project was done. It was not perfect, I adjusted as I went and have a backlog of ‘could haves’ to work on, BUT: it runs!

Some mantra’s to get going:

  • Perfect is the enemy of the good. 80% of functionality is well enough, especially when the other 20% are not needed and will take 5 times the effort.

  • Use what you know. If you know a particular programming eco-system well, start from there or something very near. That cool new framework will teach you a lot, but it won’t get your project running as fast as your old staples.

  • Determine what’s most important. Of the most important thing, determine what’s the most difficult. Build that first. Like when your parents made you eat your veggies first.

  • Iterate! Work in small working products, cut those up in tiny sprints or pomodoro’s.

  • Launch early and see if there’s demand. It will motivate, let you learn early, catch mistakes faster and tell when you’re working on a dead end.

  • 5 minutes is enough for a small alteration. Tiny alterations can make a world of change for the better.

  • Don’t be dogmatic, do what makes sense, cut the crap.

  • Have fun. Make it fun. You know… fun.