I am writing my Codex Vitae, or book of life. When I am done I will have poured everything I have learned, all my knowledge, into this book.
This is a concept from Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. I loved the book, and have read it more than once, but something about it perturbed me. The Codex Vitae were written in secret and once complete would only be read by a select few.
I learned about Mr Penumbra from a post on Buster Benson’s website several years ago. Unlike the characters in the book Buster is very open and his website is a treasure trove of thoughts and projects across many years. He had just started sharing his beliefs and was going to track how these changed over time. He was using GitHub, used extensively by open source coders, to track his changes. I was intrigued and immediately forked his repository to make it my own and have been thinking about writing my own Codex Vitae ever since.
So what will go in my codex vitae?
The truth is I am not 100% sure. While I am figuring it out I will commit to the following:
- To blog about what I am learning, building and thinking
- To update my GitHub repository with my beliefs as they change
- To read widely and note the quotes I like
- To track the key events in my life
There is one thing that I am pretty sure will form a chapter, and that is about being open. I suspect I will keep collecting examples where being open trumps the alternative.
- By sharing what you are working on you open yourself up to all sorts of interesting conversations and diverse opinions.
- Don’t worry, the people that can add the most value are too busy doing their own thing to copy or steal.
- If you are only sharing when something is fully formed you are sharing too late.
- Software projects in particular are better when you involve your customers early on.
Don’t be embarrassed. Don’t be scared. Share often. Share early.