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Hunting For A Vision

steelvoltage profile image Brian Barbour ・2 min read

Having been a developer over a year now, I must say that I feel like my progression and knowledge has evolved to a point where I'm very happy with my capabilities.

However, there's one glaring thing that has been bothering me more and more. I'm not sure if any of you have experienced this or have suggestions on how to get past it. So, here it goes.

When I was learning to code, I built all sorts of things to just learn and experiment. I still do that, but I've been looking for something meaningful, something real to build that will actually help others.

Call it a product, call it a thing... I don't know.

I have all this power and knowledge at my fingertips. Yet, I feel like I lack the vision to turn it into more. To use it in a meaningful way.

All day at work, I turn other people's ideas into reality. It's rewarding and fun in its own way, but I feel empty... because I haven't created something for myself.

I invest time looking at things like ProductHunt, browsing app stores, and even just observing the world--scraping and scrabbling to get ideas that could lead to me building something useful.

Chasing money is something I'm only mildly concerned with. More so, I want to make a thing and call it my own. If it ends up bringing me income at some point, all the better.

For those of you who have built your own apps or services, what sort of resources or inspiration helped you get there?

How did you find a vision?

Discussion (6)

Editor guide
drewknab profile image
Drew Knab

I don't really build my own products. I facilitate the ideas of other people, I'm okay with this.

However, if you want practice ideating you can play X but for Y. Where you pick a random existing app X for some hobby Y. Then you come up with a vague outline for a set of features and a 45 second elevator pitch.

There's also the option of going to meetups. It's hard right now, but back in the before times we had a number of meetups here. Some of them were specifically for pitching ideas and getting feedback. I'm fairly certain the tech scene out in Rochester will have something similar.

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

To me it's more like you have to look internally what matters to you to find your own purpose in life. For building something I would suggest looking at Lean Canvas

octaneinteractive profile image
Wayne Smallman • Edited

Look for the struggle and the strife in what people do in their personal lives and as a profession. Listen to them, but ignore the coding side of things — that'll come afterwards. Take everything in, make it abstract, and seek out the patterns.

As for the vision? Who knows, but I imagine you'll know it when you see it.

codebubb profile image
James Bubb

Hey Brian,

I think the classic thing is to solve a problem you (or someone you know) are currently having by creating some kind of solution. I think a good acid test is to see if it can be solved manually first and then ask; would it be easier to use a web app for this?

Simple example: I want to lose weight, I can track my daily calorie intake on a piece of paper (or better use an online spreadsheet or similar), I could therefore create a web app with a UI that would allow keeping track of calories easier.

I've also recently read The Idea In You which has some interesting ways to think about your idea. One of the things the authors talk about is to 'clash' two ideas together.

With the simple example above how about:

  • Calorie counter x Fresh food delivery service
  • Calorie counter x Healthy Recipe suggestion
  • Calorie counter x Daily exercises for developers 💪

The above are a bit trite but maybe they'll get you thinking of something you could get going with?

(Also good to hear you are getting on well!)

cmonmang profile image

You previously posted about how you dreamed of being an author but then it seemed like too much work for you and so you gave up on it so you instead turned to programming and yet now you "feel empty" in your own words. Perhaps the reason for this is because you don't really have the passion for programming that you thought you did, but merely thought it would be a useful tool in helping you achieve your goal of becoming known or famous or however else you want to describe it. From reading through your blogs, you seem like the type of person that wouldn't be content with playing a game that you found fun, but would want to be in charge of making the decisions for it and I feel like this has translated to many other aspects of your life as well which has initially been a motivator, but then once you find yourself having accomplished what you set out to do (be it be in charge of a game, learn programming, etc.) you found it wasn't all that you thought it would be and you still feel that empty void and unfulfilled which I would predict has likely caused you to go from hobby to hobby.

Vision isn't something that you can teach or train or learn. Thomas Edison didn't become an inventor by reading about how to be creative. It's something innate in people. Maybe instead of chasing something that you may never have, you should focus on things that you do have and then at the end of the day that will fulfill you.

steelvoltage profile image
Brian Barbour Author • Edited

These are some good insights. Sounds like something someone I know in person would say about me. Also, I never said being a novelist was too much work for me, just the social aspects of the networking and marketing it requires didn't appeal to me. I'm very introverted, so those aren't my strong suit. I still love writing, still do it. Just I am not in love with being a "novelist" and I think that is an important distinction.

There's probably some deeper psychological reason for this void inside of me, in which nothing I do or accomplish can fill it. But, that's part of life's journey, I guess. Figuring ourselves out and improving.