I had a pretty tiring day.
Being at the town, I started walking from a certain point, under the blazing hot noon sun, visiting each and every slipper shop on the way, trying to get hold of a certain brand which I had been using till now. I walked and I walked and to my surprise and dismay, reached back at exactly the point that I had started, without any luck whatsoever. Tired and wounded, not to mention disappointed, I went and had a drink. I sat and rested my overworked feet for a while. I got up again and started walking towards the bus stand in order to catch a home bound bus.
Just when I had taken 4 or 5 steps, there was this shop to my left. Out of inertia of having asked at each and every shop that had slippers in them, I simply stood outside and with an air of sarcasm , asked the owner whether he had the brand that I was looking for. I got what I was looking for from there.
The lesson that I learned from this happening is that always start the things that you want to do just before you are actually going to start doing it. In the philosophical sense, this thought has many implications. However, having experienced this first hand in real life, I’m bound to start applying this thought to the various aspects of life.
Anyway, that was just the icing of the cake and the above three paragraphs were not in my mind at all until I thought about how to begin this post that I wanted to write.
Reaching back home, I turned on my laptop and checked my mails. I happened to stumble upon this thread. I simply went through the replies and happened to click this link, with no particular reason. That was Diaspora page of Jishnu. Since I was tired from the day’s happenings and wanted to rest, I was simply browsing and as such, scrolled down along his posts. There I stumbled upon the following video, which is the primary reason for this blog post.
Usually I had this idea of talks by technical people getting boring and monotonous. This was exactly the opposite. Moreover, this was not a talk but rather a sort of Q&A session. I was not planning to sit through it completely, but the more I listened, the more I got interested to listen to the rest and hence, I finished it in one shot.
Mind you, I’m not saying that Linus is the epitome of perfection or anything of the sort. He maybe, he maybe not. I just wanted to think and improvise on some of the things that he mentioned during that session and that is exactly what I am going to do.
The fist and foremost being the title of the blog post. Is execution more important than vision? Vision as in, a dream of how something should be.
Well, according to Linus, he personally was in favor of getting things done rather than thinking and dreaming constantly of a bright future and end up doing bits and pieces. He takes the analogy of a man walking, looking at the stars. He has vision. However, unfortunately, he fails to see the potholes that are in the way that he walks because he is not looking down. Hence, he stumbles upon them and falls down. Linus does not completely criticize visionaries too as it is possible that the path that guy is walking upon might not have potholes and as such, he will achieve his vision.
This is a very interesting point because everyone can have ideas. People can have tons of awesome ideas. They can dream of things that should happen and keep on dreaming. As much as I admit that you should dream until your dreams come true, sometimes (most of the times), people simply end up only dreaming. That does not help.
What makes you different, or better, worthy of being alive, is when you get things done. Linus even quoted Edison where he said, “Success is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration”. That is more or less true. Passion, inspiration, dreams, ambitions, etc all are just thoughts in the wind until you work hard for it, and achieve it.
With this thought in mind, I thought about how I have been over the past year and it was quite interesting to see the difference.
- Started my blog – “Yet another guy who has access to Internet registers yet another blog on wordpress”
- Wrote posts – “Yet another blogger who has to put in his blog, everything that happens to him”
- Wrote posts consistently – “Hmm… Yet another consistent blogger”
- Wrote stories – “Most definitely not a personal diary”
- Technical posts – “Not just philosophy and stories. Useful posts”
- Crossed 100 posts in a year – “Wow, I did not expect this guy to keep at this for so long. Still…”
- Published a book – “Awesome. This guy is actually getting things done”
I sure as hell would like to meet that omnipresent dude who commented on my stages of blogging. However, the point that I was trying to make was that even though I hadn’t realized it till now, I was following my passion and getting things done. I needed this push as I have in my drafts, 4 incomplete posts that I started writing and half way through, started thinking about how it should be and the impact that it should bring about to a reader. That thought is good, but it should not be as strong so as to pose a hindrance to what you are doing. Otherwise it ends up as the case mentioned earlier. I have these amazing vision and thoughts but I’m not actually doing anything for it. Now that I have that idea in my head, I’ll be finishing those posts soon.
Hence, as much as it is important to have a vision, it is as important to get things done as well.
Another interesting thing that he mentioned is being open about your feelings regarding something. He quoted his own example for this statement which was that one guy who worked on a certain kernel feature, got suicidal when Linus told him that the kernel did not want that feature. This would not have happened if people clearly knew about how Linus wanted the project to be.
I was not a big fan of extremism. However, taking into consideration the above scenario, there are times where being an extremist pays off. I mean, him being like that in regard to his project does not mean that he is like that with his family. The point being that there are occasions where you should stand like the Pole star and there are occasion where you should be diplomatic. I mean, Linus could have called that guy for a cup of coffee and started the, “Listen, I knew you’ve worked really hard” thing, but seriously, that attitude would have left the entire kernel project in once heck of a mess.
To the question of whether all the students should be made aware of the open source movement, his answer was thought provoking. The point is that everyone need not be made to learn programming or anything of th sort. However, the ones who have the spark in them should be given the chance and the proper encouragement for learning and improvising on it. He mentioned the cheap Raspberry pi board available where out of 100 boards, 99 of them might be lying in the dust. Still, the important thing is that one board gave an interested person the opportunity to learn and that is what matters.
This is true in real life also. When you try to do something for the people, instead of worrying and spending time on getting everyone involved and interested, you should be more set and concentrate on helping out those who are genuinely interested. We tend to forget that in our path of achieving a “noble cause”. Once you get through to those who are interested and when they start to do wonders, the influence will become bigger and will spread.
Well, that’s about it I guess. That session was something that I desperately needed and I’m glad I did not stumble upon it any later.