Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Staying in the Zone (The Social Network vs Inception)

One of the best things that I liked in the movie "The Social Network"  was the concept of "wired in". In November, I was looking back at the effort of the last few months and was wondering where did I go wrong. I thought it took me way too much time to come up with a stable release of CAT-Ninja. Why did it take me so much time and what could I do to improve? 

One of the many things I came across was people talking about getting in the zone, or what was depicted as "wired in" in the movie. This struck a chord with me. I was never in any zone, rather I was always on the HIghway to the Danger Zone.Things that could go wrong, went wrong. Things that couldn't go wrong, also went wrong. Being a one man army (definitely not like this one man army :P) I was unable to manage tasks properly and was most of the time firefighting. Also, what Raghu of Recruiterbox calls the challenge of context switching, is magnified when you are working alone. Its very difficult to sit and code right after your vendor informs you that they will be missing yet another deadline.

So I decided that I shall plan my tasks keeping in mind that most coding work shall be done in time-slots with absolutely no disturbance. That I shall try and get in the zone or be wired in. So with the New Year, I decided to start that practise and started work on a mini project which I have to finish by Jan end. I am also using this mini-project as an opportunity to switch from webforms to mvc, so when I started coding and learning mvc on the night of 2 Jan, I was amazed that I had spent the whole night learning, reading and trying stuff. The same continued on the night of Jan 3. I wasn't going to Jaaga as I was pretty sure I was heading into the zone and that too pretty soon, I would be cranking code out like anything. My new Dell and the switch to Windows 7 from Vista also added to the pleasure of coding. 

However, as I was deep into thinking about TDD and mocking frameworks, something happened. Inception. From within that peace and quiet at 2 am in the night, when I was thinking about TDD, came an idea into my head. A brainwave! A Eureka moment. Suddenly it was very obvious as to why the current product did not gain traction and what could be the possible pivots in the coming months. Excited I tried getting back to work, but was unable to code. The incepion had happened and I was way out of any zone. All I could think was the new approach. 

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