startups and code

Old Repositories and Sites

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A lot of people like to go back and clean up (delete) old repositories and sites. I have over 50 repositories and have been involved with several companies over the course of my career. I love to code, I love to write, and I love to build teams. I was not always good at any of those. I made mistakes, I wrote bad code, I was a C&P engineer (cut/paste), I made some bad hires, but I learned a lot from those decisions. I learned more from the errors than I ever did from the successes. Everyone likes to see a "track record of success" and based on that, they assume they can create that same success again. That is not true. I can avoid previous errors, but that does not mean new errors that I haven't encountered will occur.

Let me tell you a story of someone you probably are pretty familiar with (especially if you watched TV in the 80's and 90's). Aaron Spelling, father of Tori Spelling, creator of 90210, perhaps one of the biggest shows of its time. He also produced Charmed, Melrose Place, and Dynasty. You see his string of successes and think he figured it out and was just a natural at creating hit shows. He was not. He was persistent. He made over 200 shows/movies and out of those 200+, about 10 of them were hits like we all know. That is an 80% failure rate. He learned over time what the "formula" was at the time. There were so many variables and even after a hit show like The Love Boat, he thought he figured it out and then made tv movies of it, "The Love Boat II" and "The Love Boat: The Next Wave" which were flops. However, Aaron was persistent. He kept going through bad and good. He never stopped and said, "I made it". He kept going even after huge success and terrible losses.

He never stopped creating.

That is what we should realize about our old code. It was old and technology has advanced and it is a learning lesson of what I used to write. It is important to be able to look back at code and realize, that is some good code for its time. I'm not embarrassed at what I did, I like to look back at it and see how far I have come. I keep creating. I create new code, I create new teams, I create new posts, and much more.

Don't delete your old repositories

They made you who you are today. They provide valuable insight into how you progressed as a developer. Sure I had 100+ Hello World projects out there in multiple languages, and they taught me how to learn a new language.

The most important thing that I learned over my career is not a technology, but a technique. I learned how to learn and learn fast. I can look back on my code and realize I didn't know what I didn't know then. I look forward now and see the patterns, the designs, and the "gotchas" that are part of being a good leader, developer, and educator.

My next post is going to talk about how I learn a new language.