The 71% Experience - Embracing the Human Aspect of Software Development

Exploring the pivotal role of creativity in software development through the '71% Experience.' This article reveals how personal devices, creativity, and coding converge to shape exceptional software, highlighting the profound influence of inspiration on the final outcome.


Like countless other developers, I find myself owning two distinct computing devices. First and foremost is my primary machine, a robust workhorse of a desktop designed to tackle any task I throw its way. And then there's my MacBook—an Intel i9-powered 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro. Yes, it runs hot and somewhat inefficiently. Yes, concerns linger about its compatibility with forthcoming MacOS updates. Yet, its mobility remains its virtue. It accompanies me on travels, lends itself to couch-based coding sessions with Llama, and is the trusty companion at bustling coffee shops where macchiatos are overindulged, momentarily distracting from its comparatively modest computing power and pixel count in contrast to the "primary" desktop.

So, why the label "primary machine" for the desktop? Truth be told, I wasn't entirely certain at first. Reflecting on it, I realized that my most inspired work doesn't stem from that desktop. Instead, my laptop becomes the stage for my finest work, especially when I step out of my usual surroundings and immerse myself in a different environment, fostering an atmosphere where coding flows seamlessly.

Knowledge & Development

In the realm of software development, creativity and abundant knowledge are both paramount. Yet, the community often hones in on knowledge. LeetCode challenges, Udemy courses, and mock interviews populate our corner of the digital universe. Focusing on the knowledge facet is straightforward. These skills are measurable and built upon an educational foundation gleaned from years of schooling. However, and this may raise eyebrows, these skills typically aren't the driving force behind successful software delivery.

Personally, I can't recall a bubble sort algorithm from memory, nor do Big O notation rules readily come to mind, having last encountered them during my early college computer science days. As a full stack web developer with a focus on user interfaces, this information isn't a daily necessity. It's needed, of course, but only in specific contexts. My playground is the web, and my focus centers on crafting something enjoyable, intuitive, and, most importantly, capable of reaching production.

Knowledge holds merit, but in many software domains, there's an even greater reliance on another factor.

Creativity: The Defining Constraint

Software development is my passion. I've often dubbed it my creative outlet, and I've been fortunate to translate this passion into a career. Yet, I've encountered moments where my foremost challenge is a shortage of creative energy. Unlike writers grappling with writer's block, my obstacle takes the form of a more general creative block. This is a hurdle familiar to us all, one that prompts us to devise personalized strategies for surmounting it. My approach is quite simple: I change my work environment. I step outdoors to work. I settle into a coffee shop. I close the laptop and jot my thoughts on my Remarkable Tablet. Creativity is both the core driving force behind my coding and, at times, the foremost limitation.

The "71%" Experience: What It Entails

In my possession are two monitors, technically speaking: a 4K monitor for stationary desktop and MacBook use, alongside the integrated display within my 16-inch MacBook Pro. The 4K monitor's resolution stands at 3840x2160, encompassing a grand total of 8,294,400 pixels. In stark contrast, the MacBook's resolution rests at 3072x1920—accounting for 5,898,240 pixels. While the MacBook undeniably boasts an abundance of pixels, surpassing the pixel count of most laptop screens on the market, it's "only" 71% of the larger monitor's pixel tally. While I could spend endless time quantifying every nuance of these screens, I'm keen to discuss one central point: exceptional software isn't born from cutting-edge gear. Rather, it emerges from the ingenuity of individuals. The hallmark of any remarkable product is the organic, creative spark that propels our fingers across the keyboard.

For newcomers to development, those embarking on managerial roles, or even seasoned CTOs who haven't personally compiled code in years, a critical reminder is in order: software development transcends the realm of STEM and is intrinsically linked to creativity. This creative element warrants nurturing at all levels. As developers, let's continue celebrating the organic essence of our humanity, even as we communicate with computers that only partially grasp our way of life.

The "71%" experience encapsulates the human dimension of software development. Give it a try—someday.

Originally posted on 8/13/2023


The 71% Experience - Embracing the Human Aspect of Software Development