Build it yourself

It’s a general principle. If you can, do it. For the most part.

There’s a kind of tendency to outsource work that we’re totally capable of doing. Saves time, they say. More time to become a creative person. More time to spend with family. Right.

Clearly the time that’s being saved not doing things by hand is– for most at least–not being used to become a more creative person. That time’s usually taken up by all sorts of entertaining things, consumptive activities. Not a bad thing, just a little inaccuracy that’s told in service of streamlining and optimizing the many parts of our lives.

The point, though, is not the time “saved” by outsourcing. Sure, using a dishwasher takes less time, it’s hard to disagree with that. The point is what you loose by outsourcing.

What you loose by outsourcing is hard to define. It’s a feeling, deeply subjective, about finishing things. A hit of dopamine, a feeling of completeness. And that’s just washing dishes by hand. When it comes to building things yourself, it compounds.

It’s a bit like working in a local-first fashion. You’re able to see and control more things around you, which makes you even more competent as a generalist. It’s a goal of mine to continue to build more and more of the things I depend on, to remove the dependencies on large and opaque external systems and depend on a smaller, more visible local systems.