by andre briggs

You Don't Know Jack

Back in the mid-90’s I used to beta test for a trivia game called You Don’t Know Jack. Every couple of weeks I would receive a CD-ROM in the mail and play the game.

I didn’t really beta test…instead I was just excited that I was having free games (on CD-ROMS!) mailed to me over the new fangled Internet. Back in 1995 I was experiencing what people experience via Amazon today in a sense. Of course I never looked at the bigger picture back then.

A task that wholly leans on the research side can seem boring, even uncomfortable when you’re used to designing and writing software.

The typical software development feedback loop isn’t there. How do I know when I’m done? Is this the right direction? How do I make sure I’m not duplicating my effort?

For some this can lead to existential questions around their project, job, then expanding out to interpersonal relationships and eventually what is the meaning of all this?

What ever your task is you most likely have to complete it. As with most things in life, it’s about finding a reversal, or the pleasure in the pain.

In my case it was about finding the opportunity to learn.

I realized I was getting the opportunity to work with a high level developer who is the guru of his area. I thought to myself: “It would be great to have the knowledge this guys has.” First I would have to admit that I don’t know everything.

Moreover I realized my boredom was coming from a place of fearing the unknown and not taking the time to orient myself with concepts outside of my usual areas.

Sometimes labels, titles, and status can make us lazy. They make us separate ourselves from the realities of life.

At the beginning of my career I realized was that one must see learning as an apprenticeship is the truest sense.

For instance if you’re an unpaid intern (this is anti-“Lean In” btw) who is working towards the uncertainty of a paid position you are exercising your survival skills in a literal sense.

As in the intern you’re in the position because other people think you don’t know shit. That’s okay though. You’re being given room to experiment and get feedback but the end could near. You can be cut at any moment. You have to have several back up plans.

We live a culture of overnight celebrities. People are jumpstarting modeling/escorting careers via Instagram and 23 year olds getting lucky and creating naively fawned over applications like SnapChat. Everyone thinks they are an expert.

Coming from the point of view that you don’t know shit can sometimes be the supremely better option.