Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How To Release 10 Open Source Projects In 3 Months

In December, January, and February, I released about ten open source projects (and initiated more).

The reason is that three things happened at roughly the same time.

Debugger Flamewar

The debugger flamewar made me disinterested in blogging.

Chess Club Poseur

Charles Nutter persuaded me that writing code is worth more than writing about code. (I disagreed with him at first, then saw the light.)


I spent too much money and had to forego acting classes for a month.

You might think that's a minor thing, but it was actually the most influential thing, for two reasons.

First, people in Hollywood observe an utterly psychotic work ethic. Startups only hit the lower bound of the Hollywood work ethic's range. Seriously. They're demented. In a good way. People in Hollywood make Jason Calacanis look like a stoned slacker sleeping on his mom's sofa in the basement. Even the lazy ones. So taking a break from acting classes means freeing up a lot of time.

Second, acting classes train you, more than anything, to associate into your experience. "Associate" is used here in a technical sense which comes from hypnosis. The technical meaning is enormously difficult to compress for the uninitiated, especially if you want a great deal of precision and accuracy, so I'll simply say that acting classes cause you to become more intense and dynamic. For more details you really need to find some very good books on hypnosis/NLP/etc., or just take some exceptionally good acting classes.

So, I spent a ton of energy developing an intense work ethic and becoming a more dynamic person. I decided blogging attracts people who have too much time on their hands. I decided that writing code was worth more than writing about code. And then I suddenly had a bunch of spare time. So I released about ten open source projects in three months.

I kind of hope my progress will slow, because frankly, I'm back in acting classes, so it's messing with my sleep schedule, but if you want to know how to increase your productivity as far as the open source community is concerned, there's one way to do it.

Edit: I started this blog post a while ago and left it in draft mode for a while. My progress hasn't slowed, but I did narrow my focus. I'm really only working on my favorite of all the new projects now, which is probably kind of irritating to people who are using and/or developing the other nine. Sorry.

Anyway, there's an interesting footnote here, and it's the reason I took this thing out of draft mode and finally posted it. One of the most popular programming bloggers I used to read was Jeff Atwood. I can't read him any more. His blog turned as boring to me as a weather report from Antarctica. "Snowy, with a strong chance of snow. Next up: we interview penguins to determine how they feel about this recent development." And that was before he decided to bravely tackle the fascinating topic of Mac vs. PC.

I bring this up, unfortunately, because I just learned that Atwood left his job to make blogging his main thing. I left this post in draft mode for such a long time because I didn't think it was worth blogging about; basically, the point of this blog post is that blog posts are not always worth writing. It's like, oh, I better blog that one right away. The world must know!

Sadly however this is now topical, and unfortunately not in an entirely positive way. For every blog post which sharpens your saw there's a ton which are nothing more than daytime TV for programmers. Every once in a while Atwood writes something very good. I've got nothing against him. But I have to say, even if I had the gazillion readers Jeff has, I think I'd be much more likely to shut down my blog for good than to go pro, and I'm kind of proud of that.