Two things you pay for when you hire a developer

No matter what else you may pay for when you hire a developer, you will always be paying for these two things:

1) Their time. Every developer I know is busy, including myself. That means, in order for something to be good enough for them to stop whatever else it is that they are working on, you need to be willing to make it worth their time. This may be that the project is particularly interesting to them or it may be monetarily. Either way, you will be bidding on their time against any number of other projects that are already attracting their attention.

2) Experience. By hiring a developer, you are making a leap of faith that they know what they are doing. Generally speaking, experience coincides with cost — you won’t find many (if any) experienced developers working for cheap. The market tends to work these things out naturally — an inexperienced developer, overpricing their work, will end up breaking something or getting in over his/her head and will end up getting negative feedback of one form or another and lose clients.

The more you are willing to value these two things in a potential developer, the better the developer you’ll end up with. Anyone can write code, but not everyone comes with the experience and expertise to write good code. If you are  unwilling to apply value to your potential developer’s time and experience, you are unlikely to end up with a very good developer.

Perspective

When I was a meat-eater, I couldn’t fathom being vegetarian. It just didn’t seem possible.

Then I cut out red meat and pork, but I couldn’t imagine not eating chicken or fish.

Then I stopped eating chicken, but the choices for most vegetarians, it seemed, on menus when we went to restaurants was so limited, I thought that’s it, I can’t possibly cut out fish entirely.

Then I stopped eating fish. But I couldn’t see myself going vegan and the prospect of switching to a gluten-free diet seemed impossible.

Since then, our family has cut out eggs entirely, mostly cut out dairy (we occasionally eat a small amount of goat cheese), and we’ve cut out gluten almost completely. We are constantly hearing comments like “but you still eat meat sometimes, right?” or “do you eat fish?” or “so, you never go out to restaurants?” to which the answer to all of these questions is NO! 

No, we don’t eat meat; that’s what being vegetarian means. It doesn’t mean we don’t eat red meat, or we don’t eat meat on Thursdays or we don’t eat meat but we eat fish (that would be a pescetarian, not a vegetarian). In fact, we don’t drink the milk of animals (unless almonds are considered animals) or eat cheese (generally). And we don’t eat eggs (which makes baking a challenge). All of these things combined is what being vegan means (some people include not eating any animal products and include honey in this — we’re not quite that hard core).

But that doesn’t mean we don’t go to restaurants. Because there are lots of other vegan people, too — they’re just not generally thought of that way. Indian food? In India, meat is expensive, so most traditional dishes are made with just vegetables and spices. Hence, there are tons of vegan options on an average Indian restaurant’s menu. Also Thai food, Vietnamese food…we’re planning on trying Ethiopian food sometime in the near future. American food? No, that’s not generally very conducive to veganism or vegetarianism. Ethnic, and particularly Asian food? Yes.

I’ve thought a lot about the reactions of surprise and shock and disbelief to our diet and it is related to my own preconceptions about my dietary choices over the years, and I think what it comes down to, what people are actually saying when they say “I could never be vegetarian” is that sounds really hard.

And the truth is, it’s really not.

Sure, for me, the progression from being a meat-eater to vegan was probably over the course of about 15 or so years; it was a gradual process of dropping this item or that item. By the time I dropped chicken and was onto fish, it was only when we went to restaurants, and the biggest concern I had at that point was where the fish was from and whether it came from potentially toxic waters so eventually, dropping fish was more of a “I don’t want to deal with checking where the fish is from so I’m just not” decision than an ethical or health decision. But, now that I’m here, it’s not hard at all. And it’s a lot healthier, too. I used to have chronic stomach and digestive issues that magically went away when I stopped eating dairy and wheat. We make more of our food, so we know what goes into it rather than buying food from the frozen section. And it tastes better, too. I wouldn’t go back to what I was eating before in a second.

The point is it’s a matter of perspective. Like thinking I am okay designing WordPress themes, but I’m not really a developer, then I can build and develop themes, but I could never do a plugin, to actually building my first WordPress plugin and realizing it wasn’t really that hard — certainly any harder that doing a theme.

The only thing keeping you back from doing anything at all is your own voice inside your head saying I could never do that, it’s too hard. Hard is relative. The hardest part of “hard” is thinking it. It’s just a matter of perspective.

muscle memory

it’s interesting how muscle memory works. or, if not muscle memory (a term i just grabbed because it seemed appropriate without knowing anything about the actual scientific usage of said phrase) then the way your body remembers things that, intellectually, you probably couldn’t possibly keep straight.

very close to nightly i quietly enter and exit our kids’ bedroom to put our daughter to bed. our son is already sleeping. many times it’s pitch black, the room lit only by a dim, mostly concealed night-light (which, if nothing else, serves as a sort of lighthouse that i use to gauge where her crib is). often, it’s the middle of the night and i’ve been holding her, waiting for her to go back to sleep, and reading stuff on the computer, so my eyes haven’t yet adjusted to the darkness. and yet, as i make my way through their room, away from the crib and my lighthouse, i manage to find my way to the door (mostly without knocking things over or bumping into things) and, more importantly, find the door handle.

the last part is what i’m most interested in. sure, i can fathom counting steps, turning left or right when appropriate, a pattern that can be memorized. but the way my hand almost immediately finds the door handle in total darkness interests me. is it a matter of making minute, unrecognized adjustments as i’m reaching? or is it that some part of my animal brain knows exactly where the handle is located and finds it automatically?