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Big Nerd Ranch: RoR Camp: Day 3


I had a late morning this morning … because I had a late night last night.

Last night, per BNR tradition ( and I can say this because of me experiences at the Cocoa camp ), post dinner ( and occasionally a drink or two ) many of the students returned to the classroom to review, invent, create, etc. under the tutelage of our teacher.

I basically re-ran all the exercises from Day 2 again, inventing scenarios to make sure that I truly “got it”. In training, it’s very easy to simply nod and do the exercise but, as my math teacher says, when you are working the problem alone, you will get the loneliness. You will say, “Where is my teacher? Where is the format, I’m so lonely, I cannot solve this problem.”

So, to make sure that I could work through the loneliness me and a few other students were here until about 1:30…and I wasn’t the last to leave! We Big Nerds be hard^)core.

I moseyed into class about 5 minutes behind and Charles had already begun the lecture on “Data Validation”. It’s a pretty gentle way of starting the morning.

Outside, Georgia has tuned cold and windy, a lot like the Bay actually.

This morning we did a lesson data validation and man, I hit a tough bug. Rails was telling that the error was at some line in some process. With the help of another patient peer we commented out all the lines of my code and methodically worked through and found out that the error message was completely un-helpful, the error was some 6 lines earlier!

BNR classes always leave me with the feeling that working should be more like this: patient people focused on exploration and the delivery of solid products with understanding produced as a natural side-effect (oh yeah, and having an absolute guru around to ask questions to is not a bad part either). I’m pretty sure you could take any BNR class, tell them to attack some market problem, and they would be able to deliver it as a successful startup.

Consider the self-selection principle at play. People pay ( or are in positions where employers are willing to pay ) what, on paper, might seem like a rather steep fee ( in reality, it’s entirely reasonable for the type, depth, and knowledge provided ), this indicates a certain level of success obtained in the world. Further, even people of that level of success are usually rather loath to take one-fifty-second of their life and spend it doing “work” for at least 9 hours a day. Paul Graham said that the magic of a startup wasn’t that it was a small amount of people, it was a small amount of people like you. During these sessions you feel like you’re part of a larger community of people like you.

For 5 days people like you, focused on learning, learn, work and talk together. It’s kinda special. Sorta like camp, but instead of popsicle stick birdhouses you build powerful computer applications. If, in 5 days, we could do something like this, in 90 days what sort of application could we build?