Writing Software To Show My Mom

I recently read Amy’s story at Year of Hustle and it really struck a chord with me. I’ve been writing software for going on 10 years now and I don’t have a single thing that I’ve done in my every day work life that I can point to as mine. I can’t tell my mom “go to this web site, I did that”. That’s a lot of years of working to have everything behind some firewall. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got personal websites that run a variety of things for me but nothing beyond 5-10 users at particular times of the year. I don’t have a central location for my work partially because it never occurred to me but mostly because I just don’t have that work to display.

Making that realization got me thinking. I don’t much care for the feeling of 10 years of work that I can’t even refer to outside of a resume. Frankly, it’s a little depressing. So I’d like to make 2010 my year of hustle. I’d like to actually ship something that someone uses, a piece of software that I can at least be proud of. I’ve got a few ideas of things but one thing I struggle with is losing interest in a project. It would be generous to say that I’m a habitual project starter. I have shiny jangly disease and it manifests itself regularly. Part of the problem is that I thrive on feedback. I don’t need a lot of it but if I have to sit around working on something for a month with zero feedback, I’m going to lose interest. That happens a lot in my personal projects. So I’ve got to find a way around that.

One thing that would help is actually shipping pieces of something, something that could provide very definite and regular feedback. One idea is to create a main portal for my digital presence on the web. Currently, if you google me, you don’t even find this blog. You also don’t find my regular blog or my photoblog. I’d like to turn brettbim.com into a centralized portal for all my work, writing and photography. I’ve started playing around with that idea but the learning curve for designing something useful is pretty high for me, given the fact that I think WordPress would be the way to go. I have four WordPress blogs that get some level of regular attention so it seems like it would makes sense to use WordPress as the CMS for all my content. Problem is, when God was handing out designing skills, I was at recess. So I’ve got some learning there but then, I suppose that’s the point of having a year of hustle.

I have a few other very nebulous ideas that could be done in a year. I need to spend some time fleshing them out. I know I’m not particularly thrilled with how my work life has played out over the last 10 years. Much of what I’ve done has been low on the creativity scale and that is a big drain. I got into programming because it was a way to exercise my brain on a regular basis and exercise my need for creativity. As it turns out, most programming in corporate environments does neither. I’ve been lucky over the past few years to be in jobs that really stretched my mental capacity including my current job but the creativity always seems to be missing.

I’m not really sure what a year of hustle will look like for me. I think the best thing I could do would be to just start throwing stuff out there and see what sticks. My life has been changing in quite a few ways lately so we might as well go full out. I’d like to ship one thing this year at the very least. We’ll set the bar low and see what happens.