Sunday, April 06, 2008

- Tabula Rasa -

People want a blank slate. A chance for everyone to forget your previous errors and detours. Blow away all the ugly false starts and build on solid foundation because you know better now.

A mistake. And there are two big reasons why this is a mistake.

1) Everyone messes up. There's no way you can build a tower of perfection right up until you die. By obsessing about a fresh start, the chances of getting anywhere past the foundation is slim. Painters don't toss away the canvass in the middle of the painting - they paint over it. Similarly, a fresh start in software can be suicidal. Netscape decided to redo their code from scratch, lost precious years in effort, and guess where they are now?

2) The Internet has a really long memory. Remember that site you made in Grade 5? Even if it's deleted Google probably has a cached version of it. For an offline analogy: your extremely awkward or negative situations are still remembered by people. In short, your history is less like an Etch A Sketch and more like that fully cached website.

Instead of trying to erase the doodle, it would be more productive to understand why it's there and work with it.

How many times have you tried to clean the slate?