Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Future Success Depends on past Lessons

One thing I've learnt during my career in software development is that if you want to create good applications quickly there's just no point in doing all the work yourself. It just takes too long to build up a decent framework of code from which you can then quicky create the necessary features you will need for now and for the future. It always sounds like a good idea at first, starting with a clean slate and building your own solution. But it never works out that way in the end.

The most efficient way to achieve a reliable, quality application is to find set of pre built tools, learn quickly how to use them and figure how best to get them working together. Then look at their shortfalls and be creative in addressing these. Now your work is on plugging gaps and building on the foundation you have put together.

This approach is successful mainly because it gives you more time to tidy up and put finishing touches on your application. any thing new takes as long to test and touch up as it does to develop in the first place. That's why it's best to take solutions that have already gone through this process, get them working for you. Then add your work on top.

I have found I can use the same approach in every other area of my life. Take sport and exercise. It's tempting to look to the latest science to uncover secrets no one else knows and then capitalise on these. What I often find though is that every new discovery simply reinforces the teaching of other ancient disciplines and ways to training. In truth it's obvious we you consider that most problems we try and solve have been around since humans evolved. That means there have been people trying to fix these problems for millenia. so the chances are someone some where has already come up with the answer before. It's only now though that we have the knowledge to understand exactly whats happening. So really we're just putting the accurate explanation and understanding bnehind the tradition or old philosophy.

That's why I spend more and more looking to history and old lesser known approaches to find knowledge that'll help me today. a friend of mine pointed me to a fascinating article Over at looking at why Cuba dominates world boxing and has done for the last 40 years.

For me the lessons I have learnt are explained here in a practical context. It's a common perception in sport that success comes from investment in facilities and coaching degrees. I firmly believe success truly comes from investment in yourself both in knowledge and skills. It's great to read articles that add to this lesson.
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