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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Build something cool in 24 hours

The notion is this: stick people in a house for 48 hours, with a goal to have something created at the end. Depending on the nature of the goal, participants may be collaborating (like building a game together) or working alone (musicians composing, writers writing, etc.). The key is the process--a process that forces you to supress the "inner judges" that stifle creativity, and gives you not just permission but an order to create as much as possible, as fast as possible... even if what you end up with is 97% crap.

The point is to learn something valuable from the experience... something you'd likely never get to in your day job, even when--as it is for Squirrel and his game developer cohorts -- what you do in the jam is what you do in your day job. In other words, by working under the ad-hoc/jam constraints, you're able to "improve your craft" and discover things about yourself and the work that you might never find in your traditional work environment. It takes the idea of rapid iterations to a completely different (dramatically compressed) time scale. What could take weeks, months, or years to evolve suddenly happens in hours. And the work never leaves your personal brain RAM! No more cost of switching contexts as you go from personal life to meetings to actual work to commuting to whatever... this is 100% being in the zone, where each hour spent in one of these jams is worth perhaps 10 or more hours at work in your usual environment.

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