The Man in the Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

This is a passage from Theodore Roosevelt speech The Man in the Arena, and I feel like it’s a great ode to all the creators. It’s so easy to get down from the peanut gallery of the world, and it’s nice finding great quotes like this to lift your spirits.

Framework Defaults

Sebastian Schlein on why you should stick to the default Laravel architecture:

Projects which are built by teams of developers and that take months to build, need to be easily maintainable. They should be easy to understand and follow as much default conventions as possible. Why? Teams change.

How do you prepare a project for changing teams? Stick to the most common standards and use boring technologies. So if you use Laravel, do not introduce an additional architecture on top of it. It takes more time to build this architecture, and every time a new developer joins the team, you need to teach your way of doing things. It takes time until they become productive, and if a deadline is near, you miss the opportunity of outsourcing a feature to a freelancer to get everything done in time. The custom architecture requires time to learn, and this is exactly the resource you don’t have at this moment. Goal failed.

I am of the same mind as Sebastian.  When I started with PHP, no frameworks existed, and as soon as I tried one, I was immediately hooked because of the advantage that any developer anywhere in the world, with knowledge of the framework, could jump in on day one and know what is going on. As soon as you start changing the defaults it adds even more overhead to the whole codebase.

It’s like going to your regular grocery store. It’s comfortable, you know where things are and can be in and out without much fuss. Then compare that with being on vacation where you have to visit a new grocery store. You can’t find anything, what typically takes ten minutes now takes thirty, and it’s super frustrating.

Sticking to the defaults also pays dividends on projects that are not long-lived. I have apps that are many years old that still work and only require the occasional bug fix. Because I stuck to the defaults I can quickly jump in, make the fix, and go on with my day. In apps where I’ve changed them, it feels like it takes half the day to relearn how it works and why it works.

I prefer simplicity, and the defaults are simple.

Local Elections

Early voting is in full swing in my area and I had the ability to go over my lunch break yesterday and cast mine. This year was short and sweet with only the mayor and three city council races.

I know we all focus on the presidential elections but these local ones probably affect you directly more than national races ever will, and these typically have small turnouts. So your one vote could potentially carry more weight. It’s definitely worth your time to research the local candidates and make your voice heard.

Angry Email

I send a lot of emails through my various web properties. I’d say at least 200 to 300 thousand emails each month. With this many emails, the likelihood of me offending someone is pretty high, and when someone gets triggered, they sure let me know.

I’ve found that if they are from a different culture, they may not even be upset. I am just using the wrong words and phrases. To them, what they are saying is perfectly fine, but to me, it comes across as tactless and offensive.

Other times it’s just a misunderstanding, and very rarely is someone just straight up being a jerk. That does happen, though, and I always just hit “unsubscribe” in the email they are replying to and go on with my day.

Outside of those people, the way I handle these situations is to respond in good faith, thinking they meant well and are not intending to come across rude.  So far giving the benefit of the doubt hasn’t let me down.

Command + Q

As part of my normal routine, I check Twitter throughout the day and I like to see what my friends are sharing.  For the most part, it’s pretty mundane, lots of programmery topics, people sharing personal things, the usual.

But some days I’m just in a weird mood and will see a few tweets that just trigger me. Before I respond and write something I’ll regret I just quit the app and get back to work. Then when I come back later whatever annoyance I had is usually lost in the shuffle. Unless I’m using the official Twitter app which keeps wanting to show “top tweets”, then I remember to open Tweetbot.

I know stepping away is nothing new, but based on the replies I get, many of us struggle with just not replying. We love to tell people how wrong they are, and how they should feel bad for being so wrong.

 

Pros and Cons

My kids want a dog, it’s all they’ve been talking about for a few weeks now.  As a kid, they can’t understand what all is involved in having a pet.  I told them to make a pros and cons list on having a new pet, and the only con they came up with is a puppy will chew on things. Their perspective was so skewed to what they wanted they had tunnel vision. 

If we are not careful we can get this same tunnel vision when we really want something.  It could be anything from starting a new side project to releasing something open source, or a new car, or even just spending money on stuff when we shouldn’t be.  

Too often instead of thinking through everything, we jump in feet first and then quite literally pay for it later.  Where if we would just slow down, think through the unfavorable factors we’d save ourselves lots of heartaches.