Cassidy Williams

Software Engineer in Chicago

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The small, private wins

There’s a bunch of random projects and skills that I work on where I’m hyped to make progress on them, but because it’s pre-launch or private (or just not useful/understandable for other people to know), I don’t really get to talk about how cool it is.

It’s kind of like short-term vs. long-term satisfaction, almost. It’s satisfying to work on in the moment, but then sometimes the launch doesn’t happen, or it happens so much later that it’s not as gratifying when it actually comes out.

It kind of reminds me of this blog post that Rach Smith wrote, about how learning in public is challenging when you’re very deep in layers of niche engineering. It’s hard for me to lay out, for example, a specific type of strategy I learned in the game go, because so few people I know actually play it. It’s hard for me to explain the details around keycap designs I’ve worked out, because so few people understand how much effort that takes or why it’s exciting. It’s hard for me to describe some of the little (and big) problems I’ve solved, because y’all simply don’t have the context I have to understand why it’s thrilling that it’s finally done.

I admit I’m not sure if there’s a solution here, I think it’s just a lesson in patience. And probably contentment, too. We’ve gotten so used to sharing out all the things on social media that when you have small wins that aren’t public, it’s not as intuitive to celebrate on your own. All I can really say with most people is, “I had a fun win recently!” and I gotta learn to be happy with that.

So, though I can’t really share the little wins I’ve had recently very fully, I’m going to share the little parts of them that were exciting for me that may or may not ever matter/become public later:

  • I got the Portuguese translation part working
  • I’ve fully transitioned from the lil HTML script to the lil Markdown script
  • The connection has finally been made between these two people who could make a cool project happen
  • That goal is… so… close… after literally 8+ years of effort
  • I think I finally got the colors right on a design I’ve been dabbling with
  • That episode we recorded turned out really great
  • The thing I learned how to do in class the other day is actually working

And… some of these, you will never know what I’m talking about, but some of these, it’ll all make sense soon, heh.

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