An Invisible Metric

February 5, 2021

Almost a decade ago, I started developing games and animations in Flash. Those days the entire internet was filled with websites made solely out of one big SWF. This changed after standard web technologies became more powerful. Flash is now dead.

Recently, I found my old Flash games in some dusty corner of my backups. Why was making those Flash games so much more fun than the coding I had been doing recently? One reason was that Flash was super cool. But surely there must be other cool things these days as well?

One plausible reason could be: once you understand how something works on a higher level, the magic fades away. For example: if you've always been interested in how compilers work, and then you build a toy compiler, the curiosity dissappears. Sure, you still have a lot to learn beyond building a toy compiler, but then the question is: do you actually want to learn the boring details?

I now think that the boring stuff is extremely important. An ideal situation would be if you could do what you're interested in 100% of the time. But we don't live in an ideal world. The back-and-forth between boring and interesting stuff in a healthy ratio is important.

While I like to focus more on the journey than the destination, I have realized that expecting the journey to be interesting 100% of the time never works. Doing boring stuff is better than doing nothing at all. If you stop doing boring stuff, you miss out on opportunities that lead to interesting experiences later on.