A Year of Innovative Fridays

I work for a company called Smashing Boxes. We’re an agency that builds web, mobile and IoT products for our clients.

The color is called “Smashing Pink” if you’re wondering

It’s is a great place, for reasons aside from the interesting work and catered Friday lunch and flexible working arrangements. What I love about SB are the people and the culture, and one of my favorite parts of the culture is expressed in a value we call “Stay Curious.” The emphasis on continuously learning is one of the main things that drew me to the company and software engineering as a whole. I love learning, and next to remaining in college until the end of time, this field is the best thing I’ve found. 😉

Fridays are special at SB. After the aforementioned catered lunch, we have what we call “Labs,” which, in my opinion, is the embodiment of the Stay Curious value. We have the afternoon free to work on a personal project, try out a new technology, or otherwise learn something new. It’s great!

There’s only one problem: I have no sense for how I’m spending Labs time at a macro level, and thus no way to know if I’m getting as much out of it as I should. I suspect I’m not.

Here’s a typical scenario: I’ll have a beer at lunch (we have beer on tap as well) and will then feel kind of groggy. Then I’ll roll into Labs time with no real plan or ideas for what I want to learn or accomplish. By the time I figure that out, I’ve only got a couple hours left. Or I’ll watch a video course in a state of semi-distraction instead of actually building something. I want to change that.

Random picture I found on the Internet of a Friday lunch at our old office space. credit: officefetish.co

This post is the first step in doing Friday afternoons differently. I already know my over-arching goal for the rest of 2018 is to learn and build a bunch in Rails (most of our backends are RoR), and to hopefully become project-ready fairly soon. But there’s a bunch of other things I want to learn and do, and I want a measure of accountability for how I’m using this time. Enter this post.

My goal is to write a relatively short summary after each Friday and aggregate the summaries below. Most will be code-related, but some won’t be. (As previously discussed, I have a lot of interests.) I want to record my Fridays for a year, with the hope that it will generate some discussion and provide pressure for me to start innovating with this time. In past projects, I’ve found it difficult to be consistent with writing, but I’m hoping that doing only a weekly update will help me put the updates out with high frequency.

That’s it! Let me know if you have some cool ideas for how to fruitfully spend this time.