- Common Sense
- Computers are tools
In addition to being made for "grown-ups," I also learned that because computers are tools, people can use them to make a living. Much of the time, I associated them as being toys, or simply a device you use to play a video game. But, especially now as I learn how to program, I am seeing some of the real potential they have for making a real living and solving real-world problems.
- Breathing is required
I also noticed the way Mike handled requests to do something we had never done before: unless it was something we knew for sure wasn't logically or logistically possible, Mike just said "yes, we can do that." There was never some excuse: "That's too difficult." "Too much time/work." He just said yes, and we would figure out how to make it happen, even if it meant creating our own tools from scratch! (Which we did, fairly often.)
- You can't fail
But I'm talking about the way that you treat those experiences. Often, it is easy to look down on difficulties of the past. But if we learn from those experiences so we can do better the next time we come to the same problem, is it really such a bad thing? I look at the day I couldn't help that angry customer, and remember how the other guys handled it and what they did that was different from my approach. As much as I wish I could have worked it out alone, I now have an experience I have learned from, and that's what I remember about the situation.
- Question the copyright
But how far does the concept go? Music, programs, books, they are all products made of smaller pieces (notes, logical concepts, words) that cannot be owned by any one person, so at what point can you claim something as yours?
Anyway, questions like these come up a lot in a business that utilizes both proprietary and open-source products. I have been able to watch how the proprietary mindset behind things as simple as an updating tool affect the way it works, and how when a product is produced with open values in mind, it can succeed in ways that cannot be competed with by the proprietary alternatives.
- Don't become a fanboy
My reasons for using the tools I did were challenged in many ways, and I have since learned that the best application, software language, operating system or device is the one that solves your problem. It's really that simple! Nowadays, one of my biggest concerns is that what I use should be open source. While this is generally a good rule to live by (both for the wallet and the underlying philosophy), I notice that I still sometimes use the wrong tool for the job. However, anymore that's usually because I am advocating an open source product with less features instead of a proprietary product with years of support!
- Go the extra mile
- Stay up late
- It's about people.
And when we get tired of computers and code and the Internet, we can always get busy solving the really hard puzzles: people.
That's it! Hope you find some of these principles useful. Whether you do or not, I know I have, and it's good to have them somewhere I can find them in the future!