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Why You Should Build Less, Not More

I try to solve to many problems and it’s making most of those problems worse.

Similar to the challenge I’ve had with “good enough”, as a technologist I suffer from NIH syndrome.

Its Ok To Use Someone Else’s Solution

I’ve been learning to code for thirty five years. In that time I’ve written code that has never seen the light of day and code that’s been used by millions of people.

To this day, I still see useful tools and think, “I can build something like that.”

Yes, I Could Build Something Like That

The deviousness of that statement is it’s true. I could probably build something like whatever tool I’m looking at.

However it misses the key question, “Should I build something like that?”

Very often, the answer is “No.”

Developers And Engineers Constantly Undervalue Their Time

I create a ton of content. To keep that pace, I use a lot of very handy tools. Most of these tools do one thing very well. Focus is a great attribute for a tool.

It also moves that tool close to the “I can build it” zone.

This isn’t just a “me” problem. This comes up constantly with teams building technologies. Teams always feel that urge to write their own solution instead of leveraging a great open source project or paying for a tool.

Teams that fail give in and spend time reinventing the wheel. And then maintaining wheel 2.0. Great teams can push through this urge and put an importance on their time.

Focus On What Matters

The biggest frustration with this issue is that it often occurs in areas that aren’t tied to the core problem that I’m trying to solve.

It’s often the technological equivalent of trying to make your own butter when you’re trying to make chocolate chip cookies.

Could you? Sure. Should you? No.

Just use the off the shelf butter and focus on getting those delicious chocolate chip cookies in the oven and then into your belly!

When building technology and writing code, you need to constantly remind yourself to focus on what matters.

Focus on what gets you closer to your goals and not whats simply possible.

…now I have to go make chocolate chip cookies 😉