A Ditty On Coding

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Avoiding a dispute
That's coding in a group

Making notes for a poem
That's coding alone

An Artist Of The First Rank

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Taken from the chapter on Kenneth Patchen

Startup Slingshot

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Building a startup isn’t effortless, but it has a strong component of effortlessness, that must exist before the thing really moves.

I think about this when I read books by people like Steven B Johnson, who know much more about science and history than I ever will. At first I feel saddened, that my mind doesn’t experience the gravitation necessary to pull in the facts and knowledge that could provide the insight and satisfaction that author must feel.

But then another thought occurs. My mind has limited me to certain spheres of interest, but those spheres do have a force of gravity of their own. And that gravity can do mighty things, with the knowledge and person (me) that it can reach.

There are of course many forces in one’s life. Forces of varying strength, that ebb with time and distance. But sometimes they remain forceful. Those are resonances.

All this sets up a galactic picture, where one can experience a sort of slingshot, into a future realm, using the gravity provided by one’s resonances. I would guess that most startups that survived the first 6 months experienced this slingshot of direction and energy.

I’ll be speaking a lot about resonance on this blog, because it’s real and it’s important. The point of this post is to help us realize that it’s probably the missing ingredient from most struggles. And once it’s present, the struggle becomes something much more like a ride.

How to make it present, existentially actual, will be the topic of (many) future posts.

Startup Flow

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I once was in awe of hackers.  I still am.  But one thing always got me.  They loved setting up new systems.

The flurry of terminal commands, run with pure ease.  A lengthy process, but rendered with such relish and speed.  The consummate feat of geekdom.

I’m setting up my 4th primary dev environment of the past couple years, and it feels great — just like I hoped it someday could.  I’ve caught up now with my hacker friends, and I get it.

The secret: this is the easy part for them, this setting up something new…  Because the pain is actually over.

Most difficulties have been pushed through already.  Past experience has flattened the learning curve.  The frustrations, the hours stuck, starting over, are now condensed to single commands.

And so… forty things to do, just one after another.  It’s like rebuilding an engine or a gun, after having done it enough with parts that simply fit together.  Flow comes from muscle memory.  (And a testament to good parts… open-source, naturally.)


I am thinking of this as I start something new, because I am again in awe.  I am in awe of startups, and the hacker-founders.  I am in awe of VCs and angels.  They’re so… damn effective right now.  So much that insiders speak of a minor bubble forming.

But it may simply be that there is a critical mass of people with this ease, this knack, for startups.  This may be the new normal (a phrase that typically summons doom… but seems closer to true here).


I hope so, for I am still climbing the startup curve.  This is my 2nd-and-a-half-th social startup.  The first (the half) was a young company that I volunteered for, but was acquired just as I came formally onboard.  The second I still help to build during the day… and we are in seat-of-the-pants may we make it to another payday mode.  It’s wonderful.

And then there’s this.  My first formal in-it-on-day-one (because I built it) startup, and third in a row.  Gaining speed, the first of many endeavors to come.  I know that in two or three more the startup flow will be more automatic, instinctual.  But for now, there’s a learning and doing curve to climb.