I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

Bret Victor, presenting in the present as if he was speaking from the past at the DBX conference, said this:

The message of this talk is if you want to be open and receptive, to invent new ways of thinking, I think the first step is you have to say to yourself, “I don’t know what I’m doing. We as a field don’t know what we are doing.” I think we have to say, “we don’t know what programming is, we don’t know what computing is, we don’t even know what a computer is.” And once you truly understand that and once you truly believe that then you are free and you can think anything.

If you don’t follow Bret’s work, he is one of the most fascinating thinkers, programmers and designers in computer science today. Substitute other terms for ‘programming,’ ‘computing’ and ‘computer’ and we have a simple recipe for every disruptive innovation in the history of the world.

The path to invention is the willful ignorance of everything we knew before.

One thought on “I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

  1. I think it’s more a matter of selectively relaxing “proven” guidelines that are acting as constraints. I can see ignoring 10-20% of what you you know to find a novel approach that’s useful. An alternate, and equally powerful approach, is to cross-fertilize or transplant: take techniques that work in one field or industry and apply them to the challenges you are trying to address.

Comments are closed.