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.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Emergencies Are Expensive

Coming back to Aideron Robotics has been an incredible boon on my desire to play EVE.  Mostly because they are enabling me to try new and exciting parts of the game that I hadn't done before.  The first is the POS Reaction Farm, which is something I've wanted to try for a while.  The second is stocking a market hub.

Though I am shying away from open market orders, I'm embracing with both arms open wide fitted ship contracts.  With our ambitious goal of taking and keeping Heydieles for the Gallente, this seemed like a great opportunity to use my industrial skills as a big force multiplier.

After tinkering with a sheet from another corp member, Vic Vorlon, I was able to really enable the work on the scales I'm used to.  Thanks to the members filling out a table of fits, I am able to task out a JF load with extreme efficiency.  In the last week, I've pushed over 3B in fittings to Heydieles... to say nothing of the shipments for the POS project along with that.

Experimenting with published sheet data.


But, I'm running into some issues in providing these contracts.  Chief among them is "20% markup?!  You're crazy! #goonfucking".  To which my chief response is "Push Button, Receive Bacon" comes at a cost.  If I can't get paid for the time required at rates I think are appropriate, then I will simply stop the practice.  Flying in fleets is way more fun than the JF dance.

Yes, my rate is high.  But I would counter that "emergencies are expensive".  If you're stocked ahead of time, and put your efforts into being prepared, you don't have to pay my margin.  If you're lazy, or too busy focusing on the major corporation goal to stabilize Heydieles, then the mark up should be gladly paid.  Someone else spent the time for you!  I know for a fact that these contracts have enabled local FC's to reship the fleet quickly and flip fights that would have otherwise been lost.  That edge has a cost.

I by no means hold a monopoly, and I am doing my best to tune prices effectively.  The margins on frigates are wider since they are our primary tool, but narrower on the cruisers to prevent price being a reason to avoid an escalation opportunity.  There are at least two or three other guys who can help shoulder the burden, but haven't been able to meet the immediate demand.  If we can get more effective coverage, I am more than happy to bow out to others.  I'd even prefer to not be in the business... it's a lot of cash to leverage, and the payout time is slow.

I hope to have a more complete report of the effort once Heydielese is properly secured.  The hope is that I can ween down stocks after this weekend or next weekend.  But until then: For the Federation!!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Universe is a Small Place

I have a particularly terrible loss on my record that my friends in Aideron Robotics will never let me live down.

Due to a big mistake on my part, I did not change my AP route planner from the previous night's PVP roam.  Thought I was flying gate-to-gate, I was not paying attention to the route.  Once I realized my mistake, it was too late.  Didn't help that the loot fairy was so damned generous.

I continue to defend that despite such a monumental loss AIDER still managed to meet its obligations to its staff that month and the industry program continued as planned.  So in the scale of fails, though that might have bankrupted anyone else, and caused members to ragequit, we came out largely unscathed as an organization.  Also, it helps that we didn't lose the freighter we have a particular sentiment for.

Fast forward to yesterday.  One of the guys who ganked me, EURIPODES, was in local and struck up a conversation.  After shooting the shit back and forth for a bit, he told me a rather interesting story.  It seems his cut from the gank (1B) was used to get him from being constantly space-poor to instead invest in sustainable income.  Now he's among the space-rich... all thanks to, as I joked, "Unintentional Philanthropy".  He continued to thank me for the leg up, and returned the 1B as karma.

Sometimes this game is amazing.  Though I am not hurting for ISK, I really appreciate the gesture.  It's fun to see something go full circle like that.  Just to get the story is worth the loss at this point.