One of the 477 things to love about Berlin is its tech meetups. In the twelve weeks I’ve been living here now, I’ve been to a number of them: Angelhack Berlin, Codemotion, the UXcamp Europe, the github Drinkup, three instances of berlin.js, apps.js and the Angular.js meetups – and there were many more in my calendar, for example the Scala usergroup and the SoundCloud tech meetups.
I really enjoy these events – it’s awesome to get together with people, get inspired and hear what’s hot on hackernews without having to read any of it. But while listening to the talks at last week’s berlin.js, I realized that I never got past the hello world example with node.js, and I couldn’t stop thinking that I should probably hack something cool with it, rather than sit there and have no idea what everybody’s talking about. — Because, as much as I enjoy having beer with other coders, unfortunately, human knowledge can’t be transferred by osmosis.
So it’s important to keep a balance between meetups — this feel good, inspiring, social stuff and the beer — and, well, actual hacking and hands-on learning (without the beer). Too often, learning feels like doing – you’re reading or hearing about the new cool shit, but you’ve never actually touched it. You might be able to strike up a conversation the length of half a bottle of beer, because, yeah, of course you heard about WebRTC – but that’s about it.
Hanging around with smart people —these people who already know what you want to know and do what you want to do — can be really addicting and eventually become just another form of procastination. You can easily cram a dozen meetups in your calendar every month and not make any progress.
A similar thing exists with writers – of fiction, not code. Some of them love to discuss the book they’re working on. They’ll talk about it at meetups and in forums. They’ll happily tell you all about it. But when you ask them about their actual progress, you’ll see a painful expression creep into their face. Because it’s much more fun to talk about all the awesome ideas in your head than to get down to work, sitting your butt down and rewrite that damn dialogue again and again.
So, what can
you I do about it?
your my butt down and code, so you I have something to talk about at that next meetup.
So what’s my plan? Learn vim (and blog about it), keep up with the Coursera Startup Engingeering Course and finish my rails side project. And then, maybe, finally: Scala and Play. Along the way, see you at a meetup!