Dylan Vassallo 😁

Doesn't Mean You Shouldn't Try

September 9, 2013

Soon I’ll be leaving Khan Academy’s Coach and Class team after roughly nine months of part time and full time work on it. (So long, Plato. Next stop: Atlas.) If you know me then right about now you’re probably cringing in anticipation of a “nine months → baby” joke. You can stop worrying; this thing isn’t anywhere near finished. Some thoughts I’ve thunk in the last week alone:

  • “Gah, the onboarding experience needs soooo much work.”
  • “Gah, the general usability needs soooo much work.”
  • “Gah, the backend needs soooo much work.”
  • “Gah, the API needs soooo much work.”
  • “Gah, the frontend needs soooo much work.”

Rough. But also kinda not, because a) there’s no such thing as finished software and b) soooo much of what I’m whining about didn’t exist at all less than a year ago. That’s fun to remember, and by that measure I’m pretty proud of what we’ve built and are continuing to build.

Coach and Class wouldn’t be a software development team without having to confront those pesky tradeoffs that sometimes conspire to give me the willies about the entire freaking prospect of using computers to do anything. “Shipping beats perfection,” one of our core values, is actually more nuanced than pithy. But it really helps to be mindful of that. You’re not gonna get it exactly how you want it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.