Pure Danger Tech


clojure-conj: Hammock-driven development

25 Oct 2010

I got to sit and talk to Rich Hickey at lunch and at the conference a few times. Rich has an uncanny ability to accept a fumbled half-sensical question (my specialty) and respond with some koan-like answer that defies my initial attempts to understand or even parse the answer but later yields great upsight. I feel like Neo talking to the oracle every time I talk to him. I’m still pondering the implications of conversations like this with Rich from #clojure.

Rich’s Saturday talk about getting away from the computer was an excellent “rant” to step back from the computer and your editor and think first about what problem you are trying to solve. He asked when was the last time you really thought hard about a problem for an hour? Or a whole day? Or a year?

Rich said he had the luxury of thinking hard about a problem for a year three times, and Clojure was one of them. (Which to me greatly begs the question of what the other two were!) This talk was about the process of analyzing and tearing apart a problem, and then building up a solution. He talked about the importance of deep focus (hammock-driven) by the active tactical mind and the companion feeding and care of the background strategic mind, which produces insight, connections, and solutions.

from: Phil Hagelberg

I can’t and won’t repeat his whole talk here although there are excellent detailed notes from it here and here if you want to peruse them.

For me, it inspired me to dedicate more time for quality thinking and focused thought on problems of importance. You might have seen the recent expanding meme “wdydwyd?” (why do you do what you do?). I think that is a question worth asking. Not just in work or your fun project but in your life.

I won’t clutter this post with my own personal answer to that question but I ask you to consider it yourself. I for one am deeply grateful that learning a programming language has made me contemplate how I live my life.