Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Honest Products

What makes me want to pursue a particular line of work, or not? A lot of things ultimately weigh on my moral calculus, including a very powerful "need money now, don't care" switch that can override many so-called principles...

One of the dimensions is the idea that my work is directly for making an "honest product". But I don't have a full definition of this thing... Sometimes it helps to look at the product's relationship to the company. Why is it being made? Just to make a profit, or some other reason? Perhaps it's a loss leader? Perhaps it's "free"? Does the company make anything else? Get its money from other products, or from other entities that aren't even products?

I currently feel I work on an honest product. Someone wrote a book about it, even. It's not my company's bread-and-butter, but we do sell a separate license (or licenses -- the book knows better than me!) for it. The people who purchase the product make use of it in a variety of ways, but it's all for direct purpose, which I think gets closer to what I mean by "honest".

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Quote dump on perfectionism

I once wrote a ramble on the idea of "the best is the enemy of the good enough". This is a common phrase to try and get people out of "perfection paralysis", where they never do anything or show anyone anything (not even explicitly labeled work in progress!) because it's not perfect or at least "done". The idea is to ask, is it at least "good enough"? Then ship it!

My rejoinder then, and now, is a warning against the common phrase. "The good enough is the enemy of the better." But seeing that, we also see that "the best is the enemy of the better" as well. We have three values, and they're all enemies of each other, which means you need to evaluate the tradeoffs when deciding what level you want to achieve for any particular thing. Here are some of my current thoughts about the three.

The good enough: it's some artifact you've put out there. It might not measure up to your tastes, but it's something. It may not be perfect, but you don't always need perfect. Maybe you can make it better later, but it might just be good enough that you can abandon it and move on to something else. If you always settle for the good enough, though, you'll never create a perfect magnum opus. But maybe that's fine.

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Does anime need a gateway drug?

I got into anime really late. Oh sure, I'm a 90s kid, I watched Pokemon after school and on the occasion I was somewhere with cable (most commonly my dad's) I'd enjoy watching Dragon Ball Z on the evening Toonami list (or renting episodes from Blockbuster/Hollywood Video). I watched Yu-Gi-Oh for a time, too, and a few others at random on the public networks. But I preferred American cartoons. Extreme Dinosaurs, Street Sharks, Arthur, Simpsons... And many more (on both public broadcast and when you get into the cable networks like Nick). Notably I've never liked Sponge Bob, which I use as evidence against me being a "millennial". 90s kid!

I have chat logs from June 2009 (just before I moved out onto my own for college) of a friend saying: "Maybe I'll watch Neon Gensis Evangelion."
My response was a condescending: "I'll pass on this annie may."
"Ooh, nice show. I'm watching Japanese version. Not dubbed."
"*needs dubbed*"
"Father is baaad. Hasn't seen son in 3 years. And now he asks him to come so he can pilot some machine thing. That he doesn't know how to. And might get killed."

Well, I never got around to watching it at that time. I was pretty anti-Japanese-the-language then too. My high school even offered Japanese classes, much raved about even by fellow slackers because a lot of time was spent watching anime in class, but I took French and Latin instead. Not for practicality, really, but for intellectualism.

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