TITLE: Getting My Groove Back AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: March 31, 2006 12:19 PM DESC: ----- BODY: To soothe my bruised ego, yesterday evening I did a little light blog reading. Among the articles that caught my attention was Philip Greenspun's Why I love teaching flying more than software engineering. People learning to fly want to get better; I'm guessing that most of them want to become as good as they possibly can. (Just like this guy wanted to make as good a product as possible.) Philip enjoys teaching these folks, more so than teaching students in the area of his greatest expertise, computing, because the math and computing students don't seem to care if they learn or not. I see students who will work day and night until they become really good software developers or really good computer scientists, and the common thread through their stories is an internal curiosity that we can't teach. But maybe we can expose them to enough cool problems and questions that one will kick their curiosity into overdrive. The ones who still have that gear will do the rest. Philip worries that most students these days "are satisfied with mediocrity, a warm cubicle, and a steady salary." I worry about this, too, but sometimes wonder if I am just imagining some idyllic world that never has existed. But computer science is so much fun for me that I'm sad that more of our students don't feel the same joy. While reading, I listened to Olin Shivers's talk at Startup School 2005, "A Random Walk Through Startup Space" (mp3). It had been in my audio folder for a while, and I'm glad I finally cued it up. Olin gives lots of pithy advice to the start-up students. Three quotes stood out for me yesterday:
Scientific progress advances in units of courage, not intelligence.
... to start a business, you've got to have a high tolerance for feeling like a moron all the time.And how should you greet failure when you're staring it in the face?
Thank you for what you have taught me.