What good is experience?

When I didn’t have any experience, I thought that experience was totally worthless. Emmett and I taught ourselves how to build web applications in a few months in college and built the first version of Kiko pretty quickly. I did the front end by piecing together javascript tutorials until we had something that resembled a calendar.

We thought we were pretty awesome. If we could build a web app that easily and drum up a bunch of public interest, then it seemed to us that everyone should be starting startups right out of college, and that anyone who wasn’t was just too scared. What was the point of waiting? You aren’t getting any younger.

When I think about that first codebase today I want to vomit in my own mouth. I am glad that I no longer have access because I want to deny it ever existed. It was a mess of spaghetti code, and even though we built it quickly, it took a lot longer than it should have.

Ironically, now that I have experience, I think experience is priceless. What’s made me change my mind?

I still think there are some potential downsides to having experience that are worth watching out for:

And lastly, something I’ve been wondering: is it possible to fake experience by getting advice? Perhaps for highly specialized topics, like how to scale your exploding website. However, I think that there are a great many things that people are destined to learn themselves the hard way. So, don’t worry too much about trying to find a hack to get experience, when you get enough experience you’ll be experienced enough to know one doesn’t exist.


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