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Ask HN: How much do you study in order to do/make something?

I find myself studying too much in order to make something that I want. For example, I want to make a dashboard of some sort. So I start learning about the history of dashboards, state of the art dashboard components, best information to show on dashboards, whether to implement them as a native, mobile, web application, and it keeps on getting deeper and deeper. I just need to build a dashboard! I sort of don't know when to stop because I like studying too much. Feels like I'm in a never ending recursive rabbit hole of rabbit holes.

I do tell myself to just "study enough to produce" but I just can't get the right criteria for "enough".

I wonder whether this type of behavior is called anything so I could study about it.

  • 29 points
  • β€’ 6 days ago

  • @robinrheem
  • Created a post

Ask HN: How much do you study in order to do/make something?

@philomath_mn β€’ 6 days

Replying to @robinrheem πŸŽ™

Hopefully this doesn't come across as too aggressive, but it seems like the other comments are pulling their punches.

There is a difference between

> I find myself studying too much in order to make something that I want


> So I start learning about the history of dashboards

The former is a classic problem in engineering, the latter is kinda nuts. If you are studying the history of something before building your first version, then you are almost certainly avoiding the work.

If you want to read up on the history as you build it, that is one thing. If you are going to build a company around dashboards and want a good first-principles strategy, then history might also fit in.

Otherwise, dive in, validate your idea, and make something work before you start reading about special topics, let alone the history.


@PaulHoule β€’ 6 days

It depends on what I am doing.

For almost 2 years I have had some art projects that involve doing something every day so that gets me learning gradually.

I want to start blogging again though to write up what I've been doing and when I start setting up a 2022-technology blog system I find myself getting stuck in the weeds (this Hugo template example looks good but put some real text in there and there is just no room...) or generally dissatisfied (like Hugo is great for anything that doesn't involve art or math except that's what I'm writing about.)

I'm not going to be happy blogging unless I can understand the whole graphic design system and I just haven't gotten my head around it but writing about my art project just now I start thinking I'm going to have to attack CSS the same way I attacked printing.


@d--b β€’ 6 days

I don’t study anything, I just jump right into it and study while doing it.

I do this with programming, but with other stuff too. I am teaching myself to sew right now. I just bought a sewing machine, wanted to make a yukata in african fabric and just did it. It’s all weird and not very well put together, but I am happy to wear it. Then I am making more complicated stuff.

β€œJust give it a shot and see how far you can go” is some advice I read somewhere and that suits me sell.


@rufus_foreman β€’ 6 days

It's interesting looking at the etymology of the word dashboard:

"board or leather apron in front of a carriage to stop mud from being splashed ('dashed') into the vehicle by the horse's hoofs"

And you can go back further to what "dash" and "board" even meant!

Like dash was "strike suddenly and violently" and board was "piece of timber sawn flat and thin, longer than it is wide, wider than it is thick".

I'm pretty much done doing or making things though.


@newusertoday β€’ 6 days

i do that as well, i look at it as investment. Recently i wanted to add pub/sub in my app so i looked at multiple libs and i found most of the libs are doing it synchronously and leave async to user however the reason i want to add pub/sub was to continue with the main thread while leaving async to the libs also most of them are taking the lock for the entire time they are publishing which kind of kills the performance. If i had not investigated this i would have taken the latest lib and than would have to do lot of work later so i can see it as time wasted or time saved.


@bckr β€’ 6 days

Might call it analysis paralysis.

You might also call it research.

Consider putting your studies together as blog posts or videos so that your research becomes art in its own right. "Process is art".


@tonguetrainer β€’ 6 days

Tongue Trainer is a merging of Jewish laws of ethical speech (from a book called Chofetz Chaim) and Tibetan Buddhist mind training called Lojong. It took me about a year and a half to practice and understand Lojong and about four months to learn the Jewish prohibitions and laws against lashon hara (evil speech).

Maybe that is a lot of study, but I enjoyed the journey and became a better person in the process of learning these two time-honored practices.

My advice to you? Enjoy the journey: https://tonguetrainer.com


@nobodywasishere β€’ 6 days

As little as I possibly can to get something working, then iteratively improve and learn from there. After I have something working do I branch out and try new things, always having something to revert back to (thanks git!).


@drakonka β€’ 6 days

I usually just get started hacking out a prototype of what's in my head, and then Google for information as questions, ideas, or uncertainties come up. I still end up diving into best practices, existing approaches, etc, but more incrementally as I build as opposed to all at once in the beginning.


@mindcrime β€’ 6 days

I've always just called it "rabbit holing" and I'm guilty of having a problem with this as well. That said, I do still manage to get stuff done, so clearly I manage to break out of the recursive rabbit hole process at some point. What I can't do is tell you that I have any kind of definite / deterministic / repeatable process for managing this tendency. I usually just reach a point where I'm like "OK, enough is enough, time to start building." Maybe it's just that my innate tendency to build balances out with my innate tendency to research at some point, and when they hit equilibrium, I'm able to shift gears? I honestly don't know.


@u2077 β€’ 6 days

> I find myself studying too much in order to make something that I want.

> I wonder whether this type of behavior is called anything so I could study about it.

Personally, I start building.

There are certain things you should plan out, but honestly: just start building. Move fast and break things. Make mistakes faster, learn faster, create faster.


@loquor β€’ 6 days

Exploration vs Exploitation in ML. It seems you explore a lot to find whats 'best', but it keeps you from implementing (in this case Exploiting) a set of ideas. There is an optimum between the two. You could read up on this.

My 2 cents: Learn by need. Figure out your needs (e.g. required feature) and go get just that knowledge from the internet, and put it to practice.


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