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Why and How to Learn to Program

It's surprisingly rare for me to get emails with suggestions for posts, but since posting last week about my startup, I've gotten several requests for a post about programming. Good idea-I should have thought of this before.

Now is a particularly good time to talk about programming, because now is a particularly good time to start a tech business. Every two weeks I go to Startup Poker, where I play poker with a bunch of startup employees and owners. We don't talk about startups all that much, but when we do, a recurring theme is this: there has never been an easier time to start a startup.

The process of starting up a tech company has almost become standardized: two founders join together with an idea, they start building it, take funding, and change the idea along the way as necessary. Amongst the two founders, there are only two configurations that you'll see: either both are "technical" or one is "technical". Technical meaning that they can program and will actually build the product.

Bad Reasons to Hack on Open Source Projects

On CodeCombat Blog

Update: the original title was "Reason Why You Shouldn't Hack on Open Source Projects", but commenters pointed out that this title would fit better.

People admire open source contributors, just like they admire entrepreneurs and artists. That's awesome, they'll tell you. Improve the world, I love that. Go for it! (It's easy for them to say.)

But as with anything that becomes more prestigious, people recommending it to you will ignore your opportunity costs, and you may try to do it for the wrong reasons. You shouldn't become an artist so you can be famous, but because there's art inside of you that will kill you if you don't let it out. You shouldn't found a startup to make money, but because it's your life's work. And you shouldn't hack on open source projects because someone told you that your GitHub profile is your new resume, but because you want to code socially. I won't focus on why open source is good in this post, but rather warn you about some common, bad reasons to hack on open source projects.

(image: jalbertbowdenii)

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