by Leon Rosenshein

Weird Person #2 or First Joiner?

Who’s more important, the person who comes up with a weird idea, or the person who validates it? Sure, if no one comes up with the idea then it won’t come to fruition. But if you someone comes up with the idea and no one joins in then it probably won’t happen then either.

According to legend Steve Wozniak was happily building technology demonstrators for himself, but probably would have stayed at his HP day job if it wasn’t for that other Steve. Steve Jobs, who saw what he was doing, thought it was cool, joined in, and started a movement. That movement grew and the rest is history.

Or consider the Sasquatch Music Festival in 2009. Some got up and started dancing. Nothing happened for a while. The guy was clearly noticed. Someone was recording him, so he was noticed. But not joined. Then someone joined him. That did two things. First, it encouraged the first guy to continue. Second, it changed the narrative from being one weird guy dancing to a couple of guys enjoying the music. The second guy made it acceptable for others to join in. Eventually the whole group joins in and it turned into an event.

dance party

It’s the same if you’re developing tools and libraries. Someone builds an API. It doesn’t matter if it’s REST, gRPC, a C++ shared library, or a Go package. Until someone uses it it’s just like that dancing guy. Out there, noticed but unused, waiting for someone to try it out. Your job, as a potential person #2, is to decide if you should try it out. Does it appear to fill a need you have? How reversible is the decision to try it out? While you’re trying it, what are you not doing? If it fills a need, appears to add something valuable, is a reversible decision, and you’re not risking too much time/energy, maybe give it a shot. You might end up being person #2, bringing goodness and joy to the world.