Ex Plures Plures
From many, many. The phrase of a new publishing revolution.
I'm old enough to remember old me. Oh, that guy. So tired. So broken. So lost. So disaffected. But the guy that showed up at Domains19. That spoke with a burning passion about what he's doing, why he's doing it, and without fear. That guy is working towards who I want to be.
Sustaining momentum is a difficult beast in software projects, especially passion and mission driven ones. It takes recognition that hundreds of hours of work. Sleepless nights, broken builds, mis-named variables, enter and escape key pushes, all culminate in 5 minutes if your lucky, 5 seconds more than likely.
All that work. All that lost sleep, often the pain of which is detailed here in specific posts about losing time with my children to pursuit what I've been made to do, the person I want them to proud of some day.... boils down to those few minutes.
I've had "shots" before, times when I said "yes, this is it. this is the moment that people will understand the picture in my head. I'll explain it right this time. This time they'll get it ." A false fairytale that you'll ever wake up from; a scene in a movie and say there's the scene that they "made it".
Last year around this time is a perfect example; presenting to a New York based audience about HAX. Money to solve problems, audience receptive to headless solutions; and me with a system that gobbled our presenters content just hours before the talk. A tech demo blow up prior to what would be a tech talk disaster.
The co-presenters thought it went fine and talking to people after they generally got it. But I didn't want "generally got it". I wanted effect, impact, realization. And there I was.. with a broken "solution" projecting an alternative view of reality that didn't just look half baked but was.
It was painful. Really. deeply painful. To realize that I wasn't there yet. That I still had nothing to show for all my sleeplessness. I did another talk the next week and it was fine, much better but I didn't seek it to have this impact. I knew I had over hyped myself as to what would happen.
After those, I shifted gears to process. We shifted to internal workflow and process that needed realigned if we would ever make it there. It was demoralizing work; at times copy and paste, run a job that had to pass on 180 project repos in an unknown configuration taking upwards of an hour to process, failing if it didn't get every single one. We didn't know what we were doing, we just knew we had to regroup code organization wise.
But after two months, and having a process that appeared to finally be correct. I began the hard work of converting and normalizing all of our elements, our labor that was well intentioned but slightly off course if it would ever hit the quality standards of a production project / product.
I took a week several months ago and just normalized some doc blocks, some placement of basic syntax, demos, all the nitty gritty.
There are hundreds of hours. Painful, hours, that go into being able to pull off where we are now, and where we'll get to from here. It's all for those 5 minutes, those 5 seconds.
But to hear that spark. Those eyes light up. To see another human being you don't know or have just met connect with your work, your vision, for the first time... that's what I live for. I live for changing minds, teaching, helping empower others.
I have a very supportive wife and family; friends and colleagues too, all that I love. They got me through that darkness by believing that what I was saying was possible and picked me up either through coffee or venting or a drink after work or a goal on the hockey rink. They helped keep me from my darker parts.
But those new eyes. Those delights, those people we unplug form the matrix of what was. They aren't people I know. They aren't sold based on knowing me. They sometimes aren't deeply technical.