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?


echomyst said...

Why blogspot? Now I have to add yet another IE bookmark to my browser!

Echo said...

Don't worry, it's crossposted to LJ =) So really, you don't have to check here.

Anonymous said...

I like this post. I think I can relate to the desire for a blank slate, but mostly I try to get a "fresh start" after things go wrong by letting them go, not necessarily forgetting them or wiping it clean from my memory, but just...moving on and determined that the next thing I do will be better than my last mistake =)

Tabula Rasa as a phrase sounds so cool.