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Category: Things We Should Teach

Geekwise Academy

The Big, Fat Idea [ 16-26 year-olds, please take the survey. ] There are some of us in the Valley that think we can do tech education, specifically for web development, better.  We think we need more geeks — good ones — to help push our region in the right direction. You see, there’s about to be a big gap in the industry.  We can already see the beginning of it.  People who are not developers are having ideas (some of them are good!) and want to build the next big thing.  Instead of hiring out to software firms, or potentially spending tens of thousands of dollars to have their idea built, the smart first step is to get a rapid prototype out there and see if the idea floats. The Problem We’ve seen a lot of this happen:  Entrepreneurs — … Continue reading

In Pursuit of Happiness. The Prequel.

Warning:  There are a lot of parenthesis in this blog post. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Over and over again you hear this thing: “Do what you love,” or, “Do what makes you happy,” or some variation on that theme.  Which, I have to say, sounds like great advice except that it’s useless to me. And if you’re like me (you are, I can tell) you have a pretty severe problem with that advice.  The problem is that you don’t know what you would love to do. Or put another way: We don’t know what makes us happy. Does that sound ridiculous?  Ok, kind of.  But not when you think it through.  Consider this scenario: You are given enough money to make your ends meet for 6 months; no strings attached.  That’s enough to quit your job and start fresh.  What do you do? (Or … Continue reading

Good Teacher

I was a teacher, once, for a year, at a high school where I learned that: There are students who will succeed no matter what you do, how you teach, or how hard you work. There are students who will fail no matter what you do, how you teach, or how hard you work. These two facts do not let you off the hook, but they will make you feel pretty stupid when you forget them. Being a good [subject] teacher, does not necessarily produce students that are good at [subject]. In my case, teaching Interactive Game Design for 11th and 12th graders, you’d think that being a good teacher would produce good game designers.  That makes sense, right?  That’s what I was being paid to do…right?  No.  That’s stupid and too simple. Honestly, we shouldn’t be aiming for that … Continue reading

Dispelling the Launch Myth

I’m just going to lay it down in small words: “If you build it, they will come,” is a crock of shit. To borrow a phrase, if I had a nickle for every time a website launch was delayed on account of the imperfections… As a web programmer, I see a lot of projects come and go. We depend on the project manager’s ability to say, “We could spend more time polishing and adding features, but let’s get this in front of some eyes,” which is a hard thing to say, I’ll admit, because there are 10,000 things that could be better.  If you happen to be the project manager, then that burden is on you. And what makes it even harder is this strange voice in your head that says, in no uncertain terms, that as soon as you upload those … Continue reading