Saturday, August 23, 2003

Side Projects

Since I was in full-on geek mode this last week, moving this site to Moveable Type and thus having to recode a lot, I've been thinking a lot about the value of having projects that are your own: not connected to school or work.

Many of the people I look to for inspiration were masters of this. Ben Franklin, aside from being a ridiculously successful printer (he retired at 40), had his experiments, scientific and political. Richard Feynman, when he wasn't working on Nobel-Prize-winning physics, played drums and drew.

My guess is that the mind works better when it is always engaged. This isn't to say that the mind should be a chattering monkey, but rather that you should have something to think about when you don't want (or simply can't), work on your job or schoolwork. I imagine this is why, in earlier eras, so many men had workshops and so many women sewing rooms: to work on projects. It keeps the mind limber and allows for the unconscious part of your brain to process your "regular" work.

The internet is great for side projects. The whole thing is a tinkerer's dream, because you can go nuts with just some server space and a copy of notepad. You can change things 100 times a day if you want. It's a medium for play because (almost) everything is redoable and fixable.

Side projects can, of course, turn into your actual work. Plenty of stories about hobbies that became careers. The trick, I suppose, is to find the right project that is worth your time.

Posted at 08:42 AM | comments (0) | trackback (0)


Search Entries

Greatest Hits
A Definition of Interaction Design
Designing for Gizmos & Spimes
Design Egomaniacs
Personality in Design
Putting Interactivity into RSS
The Value of Design Process
Thinking About Design Thinking
9/11: Year Two
RSS Feeds
Full Entries
Design Entries Only
O Danny Boy is About Me, Dan Saffer, and has my Portfolio, Resumé, Blog, and some Extras. It also has the blog I kept of my graduate studies and ways to Contact Me.