Rock My Quote: The Rails Experiment

Rock My Quote was an abandoned, self-funded startup by yours truly. All that’s left is a pile of Ruby on Rails code. It was originally going to be a PHP site based on CodeIgniter. The power of Ruby and Rails persuaded me over and so I decided to host it on Heroku. Unfortunately, I gave up after a month of working on it. Check out the source code on GitHub at https://github.com/szahn/RockMyQuoteI have to admit that I didn’t have adequate knowledge of Ruby myself. Rails seemed so magical. I think that’s the secret of super programmers. They keep bumping their heads against a wall to learn.

Strategy of Being Awesome:

  • Hit your head against the wall for a few days
  • Search google, email friends, read papers / books
  • Prototype a few different solutions, realize they are all flawed
  • Cold email experts in the field (or get introduced by friends), set up coffee/skype meetings
  • Build new prototype with newly gained knowledge
  • Repeat

(Source: http://erictang.org/blog/2014/01/17/dirty-secret-of-10x-engineers/)

Rock My Quote was going to offer a different experience from all the other quotation sites. It was going to have  a simple interface to store, search and share all quotes from articles, books and social networks. Unlike other quotation sites, it would be ad-free and easy on the eyes.

Why did it fail? When I started, I had no team or done any marketing towards it. Unfortunately, that’s too much of a broken record. I read about great projects getting cancelled because the only person on that team was a super 10x engineer who felt they didn’t need a team. Marketing was a curse word. The harsh lesson learned is that developers need to do market validation before starting a project, and they need to build a team and do a mix of marketing while coding. Perhaps my next startup will be more successful.

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Developers Should Write Less Code

In a particular Grok Talk, Bill Hollis talks about programmers having and addiction to writing code and claims that BDD is a symptom if such addiction. Anytime programmers get to write more code instead of architecture planning, design, or documentation is a means to fulfill their craving. I don’t particularly agree with his comments, however, I agree with taking on a mindset as a developer to always write minimalistic code. The less code you can write the better. It’s kind of a catch, as a developer you have to always suggest implementations that make your job as a developer less taxing. How do you write less code? Take advantage of trustworthy frameworks, considering buying a solution instead of building one, follow the DRY principle. A solution should always begin with the end result in mind. Working backwards, developers must consider the big picture while developing the internals. Whenever a point is reached on a project where hundreds of lines of code are required, the question of how it can be written with the least amount of code should be asked.

I wouldn’t doubt that your value would increase as a result of pitching your position to a manager as one whose role is to develop solutions with the least amount of code.