Eric Normand

08/25/2022, 3:25 PM
I experienced the phenomenon of "programming as theory building" firsthand. (continued in thread)
3:26 PM
I once worked for a company completely remotely (they were in Europe, I was in North and South America). I was an early employee and learned the codebase as it grew. Then I had my first child and I could still work and be very productive while my baby slept between feedings.
3:29 PM
5 years later, I had another baby. I thought I could do the same. I needed some money so I got a contracting position at a company. I was totally new to the codebase, but I and they assumed my expertise in Clojure would let me get started quickly. We were wrong. I spent almost three months trying to figure out how to get anything done. Two hours between feedings, meetings interrupted and rescheduled, I just could not get enough focus time and pairing time to work in that codebase. I probably could have done it given 6 months or more, but it was a three month contract.
3:32 PM
I was assuming the second kid would have the same effect on my productivity as the first one. But I discounted how well I already knew the codebase in the first case. For a new to me codebase, which was already very large, constant interruptions, and some other things (like people going on vacation), I just could not get into it quickly at all. Those three months were not productive at all.
Kartik Agaram

Kartik Agaram

08/25/2022, 4:43 PM
My journey was in the opposite direction, where I couldn't really get on board with other people's projects for a long time (which led me down one direction in my side project) but eventually found a well-designed codebase where my knowledge was eventually on par with the original authors. While taking care of a 1-2 year old. I did have access to talk to the original authors (they were much friendlier compared to earlier codebases), but I didn't use it very much (everyone's busy) over the year I grew into it. It was just a well designed project that wasn't too old, too corrupted by feature creep and bloat.


08/27/2022, 11:06 AM
Besides playing some interference, do you think the newborn made the difference?

Eric Normand

08/27/2022, 11:52 AM
I do think the baby made a difference. Interruptions, sleep deprivation, etc, had a big effect on my ability to absorb the theory. There were some other issues related the broken terms of our agreement that caused me some reluctance to try harder. But it's so very much neater a story with just the two newborn experiences 😃