Story of my hobby hacking life these days:
- Think of an idea for a small application to write to learn a new technology and incidentally make my life better.
- Prototype the app.
- Plan a MVP, estimate costs in time and money to develop.
- Search Play Market and/or IOS App Store, find that reasonable equivalent already exists, and is only $2.
- Buy the existing app, get on with life.
This happened to me last week with the concept of a “comic book reader”. I wrote a prototype that let me browse my collection. I was starting to list out all the features I needed to add (zooming, panning, sorting,RAR archive support…). And then I did a web search for comic book reader, spent a couple of minutes reading reviews, and bought one of the popular ones for $2. Sure it’s got UI issues, and bugs, and doesn’t quite work like it should, but I saved myself weeks of development time.
I need to think through how best to spend my hacking time in today’s world of super abundance. What’s my comparative advantage in this new world? What’s my compliment? What am I trying to learn, trying to achieve? What is worth working on? Existential questions on a Sunday morning. :-)