Sid Vicious couldn’t play bass, and only recorded parts of a single bass track on Never Mind the Bollocks.

Sandy Miranda can play bass, and in 2006 released a studio album, nine 7″s, three cassettes, and a CD.

Omar Rodríguez-López got bored of playing bass at 12, started playing everything you can imagine, and has written, released, and/or produced more music than I can possibly imagine.

Actually, that award goes to Buckethead.

Even so, the Sex Pistols are generally considered as one of the most influential British bands. Causing the formation of The Damned and The Clash (Paul Simonon also couldn’t play bass, at first) with both bands playing their first gigs as openers for the Sex Pistols. Then, as the apocryphal story goes, a gig at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall on 4th June 1976 had attendees who would end up founding Joy Division, The Fall, and The Smiths.

How does a band with a bassist who can’t play bass have an influence like that?

Or, a better question – how do have the confidence to join, or even start, a band when you can’t play an instrument?

Sid’s snarled expression helps, you just fucking do it. Because who’s stopping you?

A more restrained statement may be that everyone must start somewhere. Edin Blyton didn’t wake up one day and decide that she was going to write 762 (slightly problematic) books. $FamousFootballer wasn’t born being good at SportsBall. The chef’s on in the Michelin Guide didn’t go from microwave mini-pizzas to whatever it is Heston is doing right now I mean come on.

You may have a vague notion or hope that, some day, you’ll fill a room with your creations, but thinking that success is only that – and nothing else will do – will destroy you.

It is a rather trite statement, but you must see how perfect is the enemy of good, and that it’s actually much more important that you do the thing, rather than obsess over it.

That’s how you learnt every skill you have, and that’s how you’ll continue to improve. Oh, and you’re probably not destined for greatness, and that’s ok! Literally no one is! Again, something doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be worthwhile, or the right thing for you to do.

Even Sid Vicious got better overtime, and by the time he died was…alright? I guess. I mean, he wasn’t John Entwistle – but who is?

Don’t let perfection stop you. Don’t spend more energy talking yourself out of doing something than it would take to just do it.

Print that 7″, and move on.

Release, repeat.

Foolish is he who builds his house on an outdated tech stack

This was originally scribbled, in haste, in April 2015, where it has sat, to be published now without change.

Production works.

Production pays your wage.

Don’t fuck with Production.

In recent months I’ve been noticing that what I thought to be true is not necessarily the case. There is a certain belief within our industry that while ‘new is awesome’ new should also be feared, new is unknown, new is untested, whereas Live is – that – Live. We know what it does, we know its problems and its limitations, and more importantly it’s been proven and is currently responsible for everything that is going on.

Burning it all and starting again is simple when you have no vested interests, when you’re not making money, when you’re still looking for that breakthrough. But, once that has happened, you can’t be scared to re-write, to re-build, to retread old ground, and potentially kill the goose.

We work in an industry that proclaims desires to fail-fast, to pivot, to constantly improve, but is also terrified of bucking the tread due to our continual reliance, nay – obsession, with hockey sticks. We tweak, we change, we iterate, and we lurch based on hunches and hopes, on superstitions and gut-instincts towards what we believe will work, and if we’re fortunate enough to get the right thing at the right time we end up being one of the ten percent that ‘succeed’ we probably didn’t get there by a single plan, an single vision, and a single tech view that took us from launch to exit in 19 months.

Most of us have changed; most of us have had bad ideas; have wasted time, effort, and development resource; we’ve wasted money, hardware, Clouds, and careers on foolish notions and frankly terrible thoughts (I’d in fact put a serious amount of cash on the claim that virtually no one has ever got it right first time) and if, when, we do finally gain traction, we need to – eventually – undo all the errors we made.

A tech stack is exactly that, a stack.

Stacks are inherently disorganised, messy,

Fuck Your Good Idea

This was originally scribbled, in haste, in May 2015, where it has sat, to be published now without change.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, or so the saying goes, and never has this been truer than in software development. Everyone knows best, everyone fights their corner, and everyone stops anything actually being achieved. The irony of this post is not lost on me, my intent is something different, I’ll concede judgement to the reader, but I’m likely to fail.

Clarity in vision, with the supporting determination and stubbornness, is what is required to inform people that their idea is not just misinformed, it’s actually detrimental to the continuation of the company.

Everyone champions ‘fail fast’ and in the very next breath caveat its rules, instead of really trying and failing, we continually tinker and delay for months until we have a perfect test and so we have too much invested to allow ourselves to objectively fail. We lose our vision, we lose our sense, we don’t want to watch our baby suffer. We shield ourselves from our possible failure, only to fail even harder.

We are human, we think emotionally – and that is why we are ineffective.

If only we could burn it all and start again.

Baggage is a part of life, it’s a part of love, and it’s part of creation – you will be bias to your own opinions, dismissive of others, and, well, we’ve all heard of “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature”.