I’m a stickler for solving problems, much to the dismay of my better half. I’d blame it wholly on the fact that I’m male and an engineer so anything that comes to me in the form of a gripe or whine instantly sets itself up as a problem, just waiting for the right solution to come along and fix it. It’s gotten to the point of many people not wanting to discuss any kind of problem with me, lest they get a volley of solutions when realistically all they wanted was a sympathetic ear and 10 minutes of my time. This became quite obvious last night when I spent a great deal of time working on another project of mine which was created out of one of my own problems: my incredibly disorganised media collection.
Far be it from me to actually spend a day or so rifling through the hard drive cleaning everything up and instituting a filing system (that would be the easy way out!). No instead I decided to build an application that would do that and 100 more things for me, neglecting the fact that I really should be dedicating my time to other, more mature projects. Still I’ve managed to come up with yet another project that has the possibility of being something rather cool and useful to a select bunch of people (HTPC nerds currently) and subsequently felt another chunk of spare time disappear into the ether.
The easy solution would be to just not do anything and take the easy option out (either doing nothing or just organising my damn files). Being the egotistical person I am though I can’t really let this slide since I’m always telling people to act on their ambitions rather than putting them off for another day. I can’t stand feeling like a hypocrite and the second I start talking to people about an idea I have I feel compelled to start working towards its realisation. It’s quite disasterous for my work ethic since I always feel like my time would be better spent on my own projects, rather than fixing someone else’s problems. It all comes back to that idea of scratching your own itch, since the reward for solving your own problem is infinitely higher than solving someone else’s problem.
Taking a step back for a second I could also reclassify this as a function of time. Right now I spend 40 of my prime time hours working for someone else mostly so I can pay the bills and keep enjoying the lifestyle that I’m accustomed to. The last 6 months have seen me attempt to put into motion several plans to try and alleviate this requirement with the hope to spend a solid 3+ months on developing and marketing my own ideas. That would’ve worked to, save for my desire to travel to the US to see the last shuttle launch (budgeting is a bitch when you forget to account for something like that!). Putting this all together it becomes rather obvious that I’ve managed to get myself tangled up in a web of inspiration, workaholism and my own ego.
Some say that for all the problems I could myself tanlged up into this one is probably one of the best. I’d have to agree with them as I’m never starved for something to do (unless I’m at work, of course ;)) and when people are interested in what you’re doing there’s a real sense of achievement. I’m still a long way from the dream of working in my own startup but as I said over beers with a group of friends recently “Shit’s starting to get real”, as the roots of everything are starting to take hold. The rest of this year is going to be interesting to say the least and I can’t wait to see how everything pans out.