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Live streaming as productivity multiplier

pretzelhands profile image pretzelhands Originally published at pretzelhands.com ・2 min read

Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

This post was originally published on my personal blog.

There's probably a few of you who know some form or another of this meme

20 minutes of coding, 5 hours of coffee breaks - Perfectly balanced

Sometimes this is very much me when it comes to side projects. Don't get me wrong, I love building side projects and really want to get as many things out there as possible. But sometimes the rabbit holes of the internet can be crazy deep and what starts out as a quick check in the documentation can end up in hours of reading about some esoteric programming language you'll never make use of.

I admit that I might have a bit of a procrastination problem. It happens to the best of us.

But there's a nice way to fight it and share with other people at the same time: Live streaming while you code. This has been a thing for a while now, but especially since shipstreams.com by fellow Austrian programmer Armin Ulrich showed up, there's been a bit of a boom around it. And I joined in back when it first started.

Turns out streaming is a bit like pair programming on demand but with more of a social factor. Having someone watch you and help you when you're stuck is like a super power. At the same time you get to talk about what you're doing and interact with people who are actually interested in what you're doing feels both incredibly humbling and motivating.

Generally there's only like 4-5 people at any one time watching my stream, but knowing that they are spending their free time to see me code makes me a lot more focused and prevents me from accidentally wandering off on tangents of non-productive behavior. In the end it's a bit more exhausting than coding by yourself, but it also feels like I get at least twice as much done in the same time.

Also whenever you find an error you will be doubly invested to fix it and to keep things moving along. Yes, your code might not always be super pretty while you're live, but at least you get stuff done! And sometimes that's the important thing. You can fix code that has been written, but you can't do anything with code that does not exist.

So if you ever find yourself in a creative rut, give streaming a shot! Set up an account on Twitch and Shipstreams, learn how to set up your PC/laptop for streaming and off you go! It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be ultra professional. People will be happy enough to watch you either way. It's great fun and maybe you can learn a thing or two.

And for a shameless plug: You can follow me on Twitch to see when I go live. I'd love to chat with all of you!

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pretzelhands

@pretzelhands

Software engineer and web developer with a soft spot for shell scripting. I like working on side projects in my spare time.

Discussion

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Thanks for sharing, will check the links, and your Twitch, out!
Was contemplating starting streaming this year, but it seemed like there isn't an audience for live coding.

Not that you need a bigger audience, but it is one of the datapoints I took into consideration.

But that was just my superficial 30 minute research - is your experience different?

 

You're welcome! And there is some audience for it. Of course it doesn't have the size of, say, Fortnite streams, but some more well-known streamers do manage to rack up 200-300 simultaneous viewers or more. (Example: twitch.tv/noopkat)

I'd consider it a community at an early stage of development. The return on investment could really vary for everyone.

 

200-300 is impressive for coding stream for sure, I would not expect game-stream levels, so that makes sense.

Again, thank you for your insight! Hopefully will be able to catch you streaming some time :)

You're so very welcome. I'm glad if you managed to gain some useful knowledge from it. And I hope so too. If only I knew when my schedule next permits!

 

Thanks for the share. I have been tempted to start doing this when I am working on a game or game art, but haven't taken the leap yet. I stream games I play on Twitch already, so it felt like the natural place to do so. Does shipstreams offer anything unique or better over Twitch?

 

My pleasure. And I hope you can take the leap at some point in the future!

As for shipstreams vs Twitch: Shipstreams basically just collects the live coding community in a more centralized place and offers a way to find like-minded people. Their streaming integration is literally the Twitch embed. :)

 

Thanks, I will take that leap soon I hope! My desire is to stream more than games and blog more in 2019.