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If Today Was Your Last Day… To Code

February 6, 2011 3 comments

This post comes courtesy of Nickelback, one of my “top 20” bands. I’m listening to their song “If today was your last day” and thinking happy thoughts, so walk with me for a bit. Pretend it’s your last day to code, what would you do?

If today was your last day [to code], and tomorrow was too late…

Would you spend time in meetings discussing the next cool project? Sit through yet another status update meeting while a coworker reads bullets from a powerpoint?

Would you write new wiki pages / document all the arcane parts of the system that nobody else understands? Would you finally finish the interface documentation you keep putting off? Would you clean up your desk and blurt out epithets at random passers-by?

Would you spend an extra hour teaching a coworker or junior engineer how to write cleaner/better code? Would you spend your last day tutoring, mentoring, making sure those you leave behind get the last ounce of wisdom before you go?

Would you start a new project, cut your teeth on the euphoria of starting something new and creating something from the ground up? Or would you rush around trying to fight the last few bugs blocking your product from shipping next week, in the hopes that your efforts will make the product better for the customer?

Would you seek out the hardest, gnarliest, most beasty multi-threaded race condition and kick it to the curb? Would you grab the nearest flyswatter and quash a few bugs just for old times sake? Or would you coast through, take an extra long lunch, and try to enjoy the last few hours of your coding existence?

Would you rewrite that one butt ugly section of code you’ve been ignoring? You know, the one that makes your skin crawl and makes your eyes bleed. Would you rip it to pieces and give it another go?

Would you explore new tools, migrate to git, drop MySQL for PostGres, check into the new code profiler or finally use valgrind to kill memory leaks? Would you improve the validation for your project, check out cruise control or Hudson / Jenkins?

Would you write in C, assembly, python, perl, Ruby, Haskell, C#, Java, Erlang, Go, Lisp, or would you invent your own language just for fun?

Would you write a new compiler, OS, GUI, database, web browser, or iOS/Android app? Would you migrate up the stack to functional programming or get into research? Or would you learn more about hardware, get closer to the processor and learn more about transistors?

Summarizing the song… Live today like it’s your last day, and do what you really wanted to do all along.

“It’s never too late to shoot for the stars regardless of whoever you are. So do whatever it takes…”

Best

Atto

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