Between the age of 8 and 12 I was a big Street Fighter II fan. I played every chance I could. I was amazed the first day I learned about a combination of commands on the control pad that let me and my friends gain special features in the game. This opened me to the world of cheat codes and that eventually led me to the Konami Code, the most famous sequence of all time. When you press "up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B A" in a whole bunch of games you get all sorts of easter eggs and new features, this sequence is part of gaming culture, from the era of arcade games that still survives today. It is a hat tip from game creators to OG gamers that they are in this for them... that they are on the same team.
Reading Ben's article about how to choose your stack for your side project, I realized that a lot of times I have picked a brand new stack I am unfamiliar with for a project, I did this because I was wrongly focusing on my personal needs of self-actualization and learning as supposed to the problem I was supposed to be solving.
Like my previous post about putting play first, an author writing a book has to be into her story and characters for it to really shine, similarly I too have to find a reason to enjoy the process of creating software, sometimes it can be learning a new technology, sometimes it is learning a new industry and sometimes it is just making something you think is fun and you want to see in the world. Enjoying the process allows you to create a well thought out project that also exudes compassion for the user and attention to detail. Discovering what this fun thing in each project is can derail your project if not well defined.
While designing Trade Journal I tried to make my own fun. Inventory management is not something I need in my life and it is not especially tied to any particular industry. It is boring data entry, and number crunching. I decided to look for a way to make my own fun out of it.
One section is the activity feed. If you have not recorded any activity on that day, a box shows up at the top of the feed, telling you there has been no activity and offers an inspirational/funny quote like:
- “People Who Are Crazy Enough To Think They Can Change The World, Are The Ones Who Do.”- Rob Siltanen
- Almond milk + cinnamon crunch = major key to success. – DJ Khaled
Going one step further in the spirit of having fun with the product, I added an easter egg. If you type the Konami code on the activity page, You get a pop-up with a bonus motivational quote for the day.
Is anyone gonna pay for Trade Journal for this sole feature? nope. Did I use the time it took me to create this feature in the best possible way? nope. Did I have a blast making it? Yes!
I had a lot of fun compiling inspirational Quotes from the likes of Ghandi and laughing my ass off adding DJ Khaleed quotes. Every time I open up the application to do some more coding I am greeted with fun quotes I even forgot I added and for some reason this aspect of the app makes it feel like a well thought out product.
For now this is just a feature I love, I hope its also a hit with people who beta test it in the coming weeks. Will it be a hit? I don't know, but coding it was worth it.
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