Motivations To Code

A few months back, I had an idea for a recommendation site for politicians/political candidates. The thought is, a user browses through a list of candidates that they can vote for, then clicks on an icon to “endorse” them.  I also wanted a way to not recommend a candidate by having a “reject” button. Then I would allow the candidates to include a script on their site that listed all their endorsements, ideally replacing/adding to the Endorsements page that many political candidates have on their site.

Basically, it’s a Facebook “Like” button, but with an option to “Not Like”… and all the candidates would be in one place.

The problem is, it’s just me doing all the coding and design, and being new to Austin, I don’t know anyone else that might be interested in helping out.  Add to that, the hours I spend at my  job, and having an 18-month old baby, and  going through a seemingly never-ending move… and it’s difficult to find the time, or the motivation to work on the project.

When I do find time, there will be brief spans of productivity and clarity.  Then eventually, I’ll hit a wall and a particular programming problem will stump me.  Instead of pushing through it with OCD abandon, I’d rather just stop and play with the baby.  This has been a circular pattern that has gone on for the past 9 months or so.

Tonight, I watched The Social Network movie, and the scene about the creation of FaceSmash made me long for the days when I would have an idea and stay up all night working on it.  Like when I bought a copy of “Creating Cool HTML 4 Web Pages” and spend all day and night reading every word, and creating “cool” web pages.  In those days, had I known PHP (or at least PERL), I would’ve had my endorsement site done in a week.  Of course, I didn’t have a full-time  job, a wife, or a baby at the time.

Then, I read the latest Email from Jason Calacanis and I’m not sure whether to be defiant or justified.  He basically argues that entrepreneurship is for single, young people… at least if it’s your first foray into creating something.  In the past, he’s also argued (essentially) that if you’re not working 18 hours a day, you’re not working hard enough. But I think 37 Signals shows that that isn’t always the case.

And no, I  don’t think my little idea would qualify me as an entrepreneur, but I think it is something that would have some appeal. I had also considered rolling it into another idea I’ve been working: creating nice-looking, dynamic web sites for candidates in local elections. In fact, I’ve got TONS of ideas… ideas constantly running through my head. Many times, I’ll spend a week or two on them, get them to a functional place, and stop.  And up until a year or so ago, I would immediately register a domain name to go along with it.

For example, was going to be a video blog where I reviewed movies, but only having viewed their trailer. Or was going to be one of Santa’s reindeer anonymously posting about the dark-side of working at the North Pole… and more recently, I was thinking about registering ReindeerLeaks, and then “leaking” documents about Santa, the elves, etc. And why do I own

So anyway, I’m now looking for the motivation to get back to coding, or more specifically finishing some coding.  My biggest motivation right now is just about learning new technologies and keeping my skills sharp.  But that doesn’t require a finished product… just a continual process. My hope is that I can blog more, and get these ideas I have out in the wild. At least that way they’re  not just filling up my brain space.

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