Confidence

One of my biggest problems has always been confidence. I am easily intimidated by others, and I question my own ability to succeed. The more I worked, the more I realized that it’s rare a person knows 100% about what they are doing. Confidence is more about knowing you will be able to deliver the end result.

My policy has always been that it is better to be under-confident than over-confident. Obviously, one should have just the right level of confidence. But over-confidence is the most disappointing. When people talk too much without say anything of value, when they just like to hear their voice, when they talk about things they don’t know and promise things they can’t deliver, it is unbearable – and unproductive.

My biggest confidence issue with this project is that I am not a programmer. I studied computer science and psychology at the University of Chicago, but I dropped computer science my final year to have room to pursue more topics like economics and write an honors psychology thesis. I only had two more classes remaining: discrete mathematics and operation systems. My University did not offer minors. I truly enjoyed computer science, even the assignments that would keep me up all night to find a single bug. My problem with the program was that we were not taught practical applications. All I wanted to know how to do was web development, but C++ math problems did not take us there. I sat in the first day of discrete mathematics; the professor made a joke and everyone laughed but me. I did not even begin to get it. Maybe this wasn’t a good reason to drop the program, or maybe it was – time will tell. If this project fails, I hope to at least learn to program again.

In an excellent presentation titled Everything you wanted to know about startup building but were afraid to ask, Mint CEO Aaron Patzer hits upon everything from financing to confidence. He explains that his startup experience transformed him and made him more confidenct ($170M would make anyone confident). He also makes a joke about how when approaching investors, valuation increases for each engineer, and decreases for each ‘busines guy’. I hope to prove him wrong by demonstrating how a business guy can become a programmer.

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One Response to Confidence

  1. Luke Shepard says:

    It’s hard to learn programming without actually doing – even at UChicago I learned most of my practical skills in summer internships or campus work, not in classes. I think if you spend a few weeks or months just cranking on it, banging your head against the n00b problems, that you have the skills and ability to become a great programmer. And it’s so liberating to put ideas to code.

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