In college, I started building side projects.
I woke up early every weekend, and worked on whatever inspired me. I wrote music, invented recipes, and created a stock trading music rhythm game on Android. I wrote fiction about elevators that moved horizontally, and robot investment bankers.
On weekends, I was extremely productive. But weekdays were dreadful.
I attended University of Texas at Austin and studied computer science. In these academic CS classes, I was getting destroyed. I always felt behind, and could never focus on my school projects intently enough to complete them. I was barely keeping my grades afloat by copying answers from generous peers.
I also felt like something was deeply wrong. Why was it that these tools of creativity were being taught like an education in paint-by-numbers?
Computer science is about creating new software, not rebuilding stuff that has already been proven to work.
For my operating systems class, my partner and I were so disinterested in building a file system that we found the solution to our final project online, and spent all of our pair programming time obfuscating the miserable C code.
My classes were tedious. But my weekends were liberating, and empowering. Computer science gave me the tools to bring my ideas to life in a way that I had never experienced before.
On weekends, I would work from sunrise to sunset. I went for entire 48 hour periods without interaction with another soul, except for cats and baristas. My side projects were useless, and sometimes borderline insane. But I was achieving a level of flow state that was without comparison.
I barely graduated, and as I entered the corporate workforce, my life followed a similar pattern. Unable to achieve the level of obedience required of an entry level Java developer, I floundered at job after job.
Weekdays were boring. But every weekend was a glorious exploration of creative ideas. Alone, I toiled away on projects that gradually rose in quality and sanity. Eventually I started a business and was able to use my creativity to fulfill my economic requirements.
But that only worsened the loneliness. My digital business required very little interaction with the outside world, and now I could go entire weeks without social interaction. As loneliness became an acute problem, I looked for online communities where I would fit in, and could not find one.
That is why I started FindCollabs.
The problem with side projects is that we do them alone. We barricade ourselves in our own mental palaces. We embrace a creative, solipsistic indulgence: writing code that nobody will ever use, music that nobody will ever hear, and stories that nobody will ever read.