The value of 'wasting' your time
I’m the kind of guy who likes to learn just about everything just for fun. I have the feeling I don’t really grasp something until I have real experience with it. That’s why redoing something other people have done is the best activity I can think for learning what’s the matter really about. But it seems some people have difficulties tolerating my views about learning. I sometimes hear things like:
Why do you reinvent the wheel? Why do you want to waste your time?
Well, if I hadn’t ‘wasted’ so much time during all these years I would still be doing terrible things like using regex to parse HTML with a crippled Perl scripts. The skills for what I’m getting my salary are mostly from wasted time. I wouldn’t be nowhere with only my formal training.
Information technology nowadays is mostly about about knowledge investment. Doing stuff is not as hard as learning how to do stuff orders of magnitude more efficiently. Learning is kind of accumulative, the more you learn the better you are at learning and the faster your efficiency grows. With computers is really hard to hit a physical limit where it’s not possible to improve significantly more by learning.
It’s well known that few highly productive people can beat large corporations made of people who work linearly with the skills they once learned in order to get a job.