What Would You Make?

I came across an article over at 43Folders that really made me think. The article states:

If, tomorrow morning, you had 60% of the time and resources you needed to start making anything you wanted, what would it be? And, what would you do first?

At first, this question seems like a simple one. You could say that you would work on scientific discovery, pursue a passion you always wanted, or more simply just create something that gave the world a lasting legacy in your name.

I thought through all of these things, and I’d like to explore my further thoughts on the matter.

You could brush this off as a simple opinion piece, and just move on, if you like.

I thought about my novels, my ideas for video games, software and the world as whole. But I kept coming back to one concept that shapes the decision for me into a solid entity: I would make something that would make the world a better place for my son (and future children) to live in.

This is a fairly broad range of ideas, but no matter what it would be, I would have to go back to this core concept. I think too many times we–as software developers, employees or business people–tend to think too much about the bottom line. Where is our funding going to come from? What is the business plan? How long until our product or service becomes profitable?

Fundamentally, I believe this is the wrong way to think about what to do with your life and work.

The 60% is a caveat in this question, and is something that is overlooked. As Merlin stated:

The reason I throw in that “60% of what you need,” is that it’s just enough to make the question interesting and ambitious. Give someone no resources, and they have no imagination. Give them all the resources and they break ground on a Hooters in their garage. But, give someone most of the resources they need, and you have a delightful real-world challenge to the creative imagination.

While I often dream of being able to live happily while doing nothing and still getting the bills paid, I think that reading that passage really hit me.

Often I complain about not having enough time or money to really do what I want to do, get something done, and actually make an impact to the world.

The truth is I do have 60% of the time resources that I need to do what I love. Sure, I am going back to school, and will need to be getting a job soon, but truthfully, I spend a lot of time doing nothing.

What benefit does using Twitter, Digg, Facebook, Myspace and all of those other time wasters, have to my continuing goals of being a father?

So, What’s Your Answer?
If I were to actually spend the time and effort on projects that could hold some benefit to my son’s growing intellect, and his future life in this world, I would be done already.

I spend too much time worrying about the problems I face, and not enough time doing something about them.

I answered a question on Stack Overflow simply stated as “What’s the program you’ve really wanted to write but never found the time?My answer was simple:

I’d like to write a program to help parents with homeschooling their children. It would be a system that learned the child’s individual learning patterns, areas of interest, and mental levels to better tailor the experience to the individual child.

It would include, of course, the accepted standards for education in whatever state the student lived, but would also allow the student to follow their passion more to the extent that a public school education could never do.

It’s much more complicated than that, and I’ve planned out a vast majority of the technologies behind it. I guess it’s one of those “if I retire and there’s nothing like it already” kind of programs.

An insane amount of work and time would go into bringing this vision into practice, hence why I’ll never finish it.

Already, as you can see, I’ve taken on a defeatist attitude toward the idea. I’ve outlined my ideas already in these posts:

I think what the user edg said to me hadn’t really sunk in until I read the post on 43Folders:

Why not start an open source project and publish your ideas?

Wow. Now that I’m thinking about it, that is a really good idea. The whole point of the iGoverness project is to promote learning through the use of technology to augment the current teaching techniques used in schools.

Starting an Open Source project entails mostly one thing: time. Sure, making money on a project like iGoverness could be a goal, but does it have to be a goal?

The short answer to this question is no. Surely a project like this would need to be funded in some manner, therefore a business model would be an appropriate piece of the puzzle. But as I’ve stated before, all I really need to get things off the ground is time.

It’s not that I don’t have the time, it’s more that I feel like I don’t have the time management skills to really give the project the care and effort it deserves.

So, I’ll put things off until I’ve learned to better manage my time for the sake of others. Here I go again, with my Procrastination as Resistance methods.