Day 37: You’re a better programmer than you think.

STATUS: I played the role of Thinglistr and posted events on Twitter using my early thinglistr tech. This is when I go on Facebook, Yelp and Twitter for local businesses and find out if they’re doing anything, then post it on Twitter if they are. This process normally takes me two hours for 20 businesses.

Today, it took 15 minutes. Computers are great.



The subject of what I do for work often comes up when I go out. Despite having written tens of thousands of lines of code to do all sorts of business magic and doing software engineer-y things to prevent that code from circling out of control, I always felt that calling myself a software engineer would be lying. Those thoughts would look like these:

“I’m not good enough.”

“They do way more complicated things than I do.”

“I’d fail the interview in two seconds if I tried getting a real programming job.”

In other words, I felt much like this:

so I spent years telling people that I’m a systems administrator, and a god awfully many number of minutes attempting (and mostly failing) to explain what the hell that is.

The truth is that I spent a lot of time lying to myself. There are seemingly infintely many articles on the Internet that attempt to educate people on what a “good developer” looks like.

Want to know what I think? Good software developers are the ones that writes easily-manageable code for stuff that people want in reasonable time.

The number of programming languages (or the languages that you know, for that matter) doesn’t matter, though it helps.

The number of data structures and algorithms you know don’t matter, though it helps.

The number of git incantations you know or Linux kernel hacks you spout don’t matter, though it helps.

None of that matters.

Are you making stuff that people want? Are you make them on time? Are you listening to them and refining where needed? Can others on your team edit your code if/when needed?

If so, then congratulations: you are a great developer!

This seems tangential to my startup journey, but I wrote about it because the thoughts I mentioned above were the same ones that prevented me from traveling down this road. I thought I wasn’t smart enough to do something like this, but here I am.

There are plenty of people that can probably develop what I’m making in a weekend on nothing more than a 12-pack and some Ramen. There are also plenty of people that can roll their own Linux kernel in their sleep. I’m not one of them, and that’s okay. I know what I want to see, and I know that I can make it happen. That’s good enough for me.

Day 37: You’re a better programmer than you think.

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