Possibility and Probability

A Python programmer with a personality thinking about space exploration

30 September 2020

It's ok to change your mind

by Nick

While it is good to be persistent, sometimes you are just on the wrong track. When you hit that point, it is important to stop, reassess what you are doing and ask “Is this what I want?”

I’m at one of those points now.

For a few years I’ve been really into entrepreneurship and how this is a golden age for software developers to use those skills to build a business for themselves. I have gone to conferences, built things, launched things, made a few sales, and lately… been really stressed out by it all.

When I started this I was really gung-ho to make my mark. I had read a lot of seminal works by trailblazers who made it seem like nerds like me could make a living on our own terms: work on the things we want to, make the money we want, and be our own bosses! After a series of long stints in corporate America, this sounded so invigorating.

And for the most part it was. It does take a lot of hard work, but it was exciting at first. For some people success comes easier than for others. “Hey, that’s ok I’m running my own race over here” you tell yourself. And to an extent it is true. But it is hard not to get bummed out by your lack of “success”.

But every day there’s new advice on what you should be doing. Some of it is dated, some of it is conflicting with other things you’ve heard. Some of it isn’t appropriate for you. But you listen. You take it all in and try to apply as much of it as you can. Even if it seems counter to what you want, or more importantly: how you want to play the game.

This is where I was a few months ago.

Try as I might, the project I was most passionate about (remotematcher.com) just wasn’t making the progress I wanted. I tried doing a sprint. I tried the 12 week year (which is a great book). I tried getting organized, I tried getting comfortable with shipping things half done so I could “always be hustlin’”.

Around this time I started to notice I was drowning in noise. So many commentators giving out so many bits of advice. So many “life hacks” that I needed to start doing every day after I wake up at 4:30am… Eventually I just stopped. I was so unhappy.

Thankfully there was something else going on in the world that was able to help me throw the brakes on and get out of this tailspin. Who woulda thought a pandemic could have an upside?

Now that I’ve had several months to get off the roller coaster and look around, I’m wondering why I would want to get back on? Ironically one of the last bits of advice I saw from that community was to “blog and learn about the thing that excites you the most, build an audience, then build something to help them!”

That’s pretty solid advice for building a business. My interests don’t seem to be anything that I think I can build something for, but I have decided that this sounds more fun that what I was doing, so why not give it a try.

So for the foreseeable future, I’m going to focus on 2 things I am really interested in, and not worry a bit about “product market fit”, or “lead magnet conversion rates”, or “does this blog post have enough longtail content and SEO signals” or any of that other bullshit that while important, makes me unhappy.

I’m going to focus on space exploration and doing fun things with computers.

tags: thinking