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Ryland @ Stackbit for Stackbit

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An alternative way of looking at your career as a developer

The computer scientist, Bret Victor, empowers people to think the unthinkable.

He’s become famous for it. And he’s done it with an approach to his career (and life) that’s not normal.

I’ll explain Bret’s approach.

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Bret is fascinated by ideas.

He believes great ideas in the form of art, story & invention give meaning to people’s lives.

Hence, bringing ideas into the world is one of the most important things people do.

So he asks: What tools create a healthy environment for ideas to grow?

Let’s take coding. Here’s how a normal code environment works:

normal-coding-environment-example

Your time is spent working in the code blindly.

To better nurture ideas, Bret invented a different coding environment.

Here Bret's coding environment, next to this picture:

bret-victors-code-environment-1

Say you add code for the sky and sun.

bret-victors-coding-environment-2

That's become Bret’s principle:

“Creators need an immediate connection to what they create.”

Meaning if you make a change, you see the effect immediately.

When he notices that principle is violated, he takes it as his responsibility to fix it.

Here's another example.

In this game, we want the little guy to bounce through the
little passageway.

bret-victors-time-space-example-1

He built in immediate controls of space and time.

bret-victors-time-space-example-2

So Bret has this principle — that creators need an immediate connection.

When he notices it being violated. He builds tools to right that wrong.

But why is this important?

As a technologist, you can recognize a wrong in the world. And you can have a vision of what a better world could be.

You can dedicate yourself to fighting for that principle. Social activists typically fight by organizing. But you, you can fight by inventing.

The takeaway is that this lifestyle is an option that’s available to you. And it’s one you’re not going to hear much about.

You can choose to sleepwalk through life and accept the tech world defining you by a skill. But you don't have to.

If there’s something in the world you feel is a wrong. Then you can have a vision for what a better world could be. And you can find your principle

So after this, think about what matters to you. What you believe in. What you might fight for

Decide to define your life your way.

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