Wednesday, November 20, 2013

10,000 Hours

I personally am a firm believer in the '10,000 Hours to Mastery' house of thought.  Not so much in the exact number, but in the idea that "Nothing is achieved without work.  And mastery takes A LOT of work".  This is how I approach both my in-game work and out-of-game projects; I can read and theorize all day, but it won't count for anything without actually doing the work.

Aideron Robotics has made me focus more on this topic lately.  With such a vast sampling of players, many of them in their first 6mo, I've caught myself being an elitist jerk.  Having made almost all the mistakes one can make in science and industry, I have a burning desire to save and shelter my friends from making those same mistakes.  Unfortunately, I'm realizing very quickly, the value of that advice is not appreciated until you've suffered through some of your own mistakes.  I'm also quickly realizing my initial newbro industry advice is a poor cop out.  Watching Manufacturing Confusion's new blog shows me I'm way too entrenched in my position to be very helpful to our newbros.

Snuffing Out the Spark

What's really bringing this reality into sharp focus is the constant ribbing I'm getting on my code.  I got a serious talking to the other day about efficient data structures, and my complete disregard for efficient database design.

This behavior is the ire of my existence when it comes to learning code.  When pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, there is a ton to learn.  Without direct mentorship, there are a lot of sins that Stack Overflow isn't going teach you avoid.  Furthermore, any one facet of code is infinitely deep, and without keeping a keen focus on goals, it's easy to get lost in optimizations and perfecting a piece of code.  Just like writing books, articles, or blogs, there's as much art to saying "good enough" as there is to actually producing good work.

Personally, I've been jumping on the anyone can code bandwagon.  After making progress and looking back at the pain, I really believe a lot of the elitism is unwarranted.  Also, the resources out there for learning skills out there are unprescedented.

When all else fails, Google has been instrumental in helping to bridge the gaps.  Personally, I work very best with ample examples, and it's not hard to find snippets to walk through to add to the tool belt.  Though the very best option would to work with a team or master who can help you avoid the sins of CS, but we're all extremely busy and sometimes DIY is the only way it will ever get done!

Furthermore, an ugly tool is better than a beautiful tool that doesn't work.  For the last two years, I've leveraged gdoc sheets of increasing complexity to get where I am today.  I even still use my super-terrible-perl-kitbuilder to enable my manufacturing lines.  And you can post about how terribad my tools are, but I'm still making progress.  Don't worry if your tool or program or plan isn't perfect, make it crawl, then make it run!

But You're Doing it Wrong!!!

Being on the other side of the coin in-game, I'm starting to see why my input isn't helping anyone.  I could write a thousand guides, record YouTubes, make infographics, and I still won't save most people from pitfalls.  I can only hope to guide them away from the most egregious issues (Mined Minerals Aren't Free, T1 is a sucking hole, etc) and save them the effort to reinvent the wheel.

I will be sitting down with my new corpmates over the following weeks in the hopes of building some less jerky tutorials and help get our youngest newbros fully integrated.  I really feel AIDER has done an excellent job avoiding the traditional PVP grind (tackle until you have enough SP to be useful), and there have to be lower fruit worth picking on the industry/trade side of the coin.

Some sins must be committed to understand the value of another route.  Whether that takes a code refactor (or several) or some ISK is lost, as long as we're mentoring friends to avoid the largest and most painful pitfalls, they can still contribute to the team.


Ragelle said...

Your work seems to be very advanced to someone who last programmed in Fortran =D. I've found in my teaching (in RL and in game) that the only really good advice involves basic and clear demonstrations of the simplest concepts, followed by discussion after the new bro comes back and says "hey, that worked but what about this idea". I'm trying to write that way as well as I work through a lot of these industry problems myself. I'm still waiting for that moment where I make some fundamental mistake, it gets pointed out, and I have to start over. The hardest thing about Eve is it is easy to become surrounded by very negative people that attack failure from a fear of experiencing it themselves. To everything I've heard about Aideron you've got a good group of people around you --- that makes the biggest difference no matter where you are in game, bitter vet or new bro.

Thanks for the link and be sure to poke me with a stick if you see me off track.

Brian Smith said...

I've taken your advice, John, and avoided trying to get into T1 industry. I'm doing a little bit, since Heyd 13 has a factory, I have blueprints and some minerals/salvage lying around, but I won't try and scale up into anything serious. Your entry in our wiki should probably start with big bolded huge font saying "DON'T DO INDUSTRY!" before continuing into your excellent explanations on how to do industry :)

For the record, I'm making Small Anti-EM Screens (selling for 125K, cost about 20K for the parts), and researching an "antimatter charge s" blueprint, since there's very little for sale at Heyd 19.

John Purcell said...

I don't want to go so far as to say "Stay out of industry" because there is a lot of gameplay there I find rewarding. I wouldn't still be in EVE if it weren't for industry.

I am trying to figure out how to guide people away from the largest pitfalls and avoid the well-trodden path of what doesn't work. I'd like to push forward more of my gdocs at least, so people can see all the numbers in one place and start from a more educated place.

The sad truth is there aren't a lot of opportunities for low-SP work in industry, since if something is cheap or easy in EVE it will quickly be stampeded on by everyone. But there is a lot of low-effort/decent-margin work to be done in T2 and some of the more specialized products.

I have to tune my guides to be less min/max, and more "how not to get screwed in industry". Expect better guides in the coming weeks.

DominatingOne EVE said...

John do you have any suggestions for someone trying to create a website registration using the eve api? I've been trying to figure out how to create a registration page for corpies for over a year with no luck. I developed the website in PHP using the Pheal library. For the life of my I can't figure out the registration page. Do you have any suggested sites for codingg newbies?

DominatingOne EVE said...
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DominatingOne EVE said...
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