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April 6th, 2020
Motivation is a catch-22. You only start feeling it after you get going, but when you really need it is when you haven’t gotten going yet. The literature, talk and discussion on this topic is simply endless, as large as the gulf between doing nothing and just doing it.
One way to get motivated is to leave yourself no choice – to design a forcing function that requires action and leaves will power out of the equation.
Such a funny forcing function recently occurred with Tinkered Thinking, though it wasn’t necessarily by design.
On April first, Tinkered Thinking released a little April Fool’s joke that resulted in a large number of people signing up to be subscribers. This little prank went off quite a bit better than it’s haphazard design anticipated. The problem? The code for sending emails from Tinkered Thinking to new subscribers was broken. It had been in need of a revamp for some time, but the huge influx of new subscribers finally forced the situation for this code to be dealt with. In the mean time, individual emails were sent out one by one. And frankly, not only did this take forever, and it’s an absolute palm to the face for any coder to hear of this gross inefficiency, but more importantly, the joke backfired in a wonderful way.
Tinkered Thinking played a little prank in order to draw in some subscribers. The joke, as it turns out, is that it worked.
But humor and stupidity aside, the event put a spotlight on the real problem which was that something needed to be fixed.
It’s a good example that we should never let the good be the enemy of the perfect. Was the code perfect? Absolutely not. Was it good? Well, all those emails were captured, so at the end of the day, it did the most basic and important part of the job. So yes, it was good.
However, the point here, is that if that innocent little prank had never been played because of an awareness about problems in the email code, then not only would the subscriber list be much much smaller right now, but chances are high that the broken code wouldn’t be fixed.
Sometimes, we can get ourselves going by making the problem we need to work on, bigger.