I started planning this newsletter about a year ago with the original aim to focus on communication theory. That didn't last long and slowly I branched out, with one branch really taking me in a surprising direction: I'm waiting for a smart contract I've written using Solidity to deploy on the Polygon network.
Don't worry dear reader if that makes no sense to you, a month ago I also had no clue.
I am not, to put it bluntly, very good at learning. The only way I can start grasping things is by doing, usually by copying someone else and making a huge number or errors until I get comfortable and can start making my own thing. And that's what I did with this programming language called Solidity.
After many hours of making mistakes, circling back to the beginning, and repeating the mistakes before circling back again, it will be quite a little personal achievement if I manage to get some code to interact with that metaverse thing that seems to hover around us somewhere.
I've been struck by the quality of the learning resources out there for anyone interested in coding, but even more so by how supportive and open the coding community is when it comes to sharing code and allowing others to build upon it.
A while ago I reviewed Scott Newstok's 'How to Think Like Shakespeare' and he speaks often to the importance of copying the best in order to hone your craft. Shakespeare was quite the copycat early in his career.
"Thinking like Shakespeare," says Newstok, "means thinking with each other's harvest."
It strikes me that big chunks of the coding community champions this method.
If you visit a library of code like GitHub, you'll see codes created for everything from accounting software, football games, to Latin dictionaries and I honestly really can't imagine what else, just trust me when I say it's a lot.
What's more, you're actually expected to take other people's code and use it, play with it, make alterations, and build upon it.
Coding can be a creative act. When I began to understand a tiny bit of Solidity, I began to be blown away by how people can think, by how they can sit at a computer and through lines of code with things like uid256 and ==> to communicate ideas that create anything you see on a screen.
But it also struck me as funny that Web 3.0 is seen as revolutionary because the open source world of coding could herald a better future, while up until the last hundred years or so it was perfectly normal to take and use other ideas in order to improve the world.
And it all, I suppose, comes down to ideas. It's many people wanting ideas to be open source versus many people wanting to own the ideas.
Those are, while I sit waiting to see what happens with this code I've written, the thoughts percolating in my head, as well as this: it's been a strange year.