I did everything wrong at SCUBA class today.

Funny because I thought that I did everything else quite well today.

I got to class late because I got into a really good discussion with Jason and Andrew about how to work through some new questions that we’re posing at work. It’s a really fascinating time for me on that front. I thought that I really enjoyed creating much more than innovating. This is a problem when it comes to joining a project, and helping to be part of the solution. However, it turns out that I really have no problem with innovating, but that I just hate doing things when I think I’m perpetuating a bad state of being.

And so I’m trying to do a better job of understanding what it means for a project to be in a bad state. Is it that you read the code, and think to yourself, “Why the fuck was it done this way?” That’s one piece, but the god honest truth is that after one month when you look at any code you ask yourself why the fuck anyone thought it was a good idea, especially when you’re that anyone. We all outgrow our code.

Fine, it isn’t the code itself. Then is it that the API is too fragile to really scale? The tough thing there is, the product requirements ask that an engineer deliver functionality*. Good engineering practices ask that an engineer deliver functionality. All fine and dandy right? No. Not at all. If a product works, and if an architecture works are two completely different sets of functionality. It’s just unbelievably frustrating when you want to build a product, and have to build an engineering toolkit instead, and vis-a-versa. However, that doesn’t put things in a bad state. It creates friction. Friction produces heat. Heat produces fire, and fire leads to the Internet (just run with it, we don’t have that much server space to draw out the connection).

So fine, we have friction, but we’re not in a bad state yet. So what’s the problem then?

I think I figured it out tonight at SCUBA. You see, I didn’t realize that I had a bad O-Ring because it looked normal to me. The teacher said you have to smell that it’s off. That made no sense to me at all. You’re supposed to put the weights into these quick to remove weight pockets, and I put them in a side, zippered pocket instead. So when we went to do the ascent technique which requires throwing away your weights…. I just sat on the bottom of the pool. I was just in the wrong mind set the whole night. And that’s the problem.

A bad state is one of a discordant mind set. I felt as if this post needed some big words, so I threw those in there. But this experience in the pool tonight really opened my eyes to a wider problem. If you’re constantly solving a different problem than the one being presented to you, there’s a problem. It gets even worse when you can’t conceive of why you’re constantly unable to achieve success. In your mind set, you’re solving the problem presented to you and solving it well (in theory). However, the truth is that you’re just solving a problem, but not THE problem, and unless they are one in the same, then you’re just plain out of luck.

So, after my SCUBA fail, I think the proper resolution is to work on understanding the macro problem, and then understanding how to decompose that into micro-level actions. The challenge awaits!