The Joy

Apple announced many improvements during their WWDC keynote this year. The greatest improvement, though, was not a feature or bug fix. It wasn't an updated OS nor was it a new phone. The greatest improvement in the WWDC keynote was the closing video highlighting upstart developers talking about their first app.

This video showcases people across nations, cultures and generations who used code to create something close to their hearts. Through this diverse group, 2 things were shared: they had each created something using code, and they each had beaming smiles. They were feeling the joy.

To those of us who have experienced it, joy is solving the hard problem. Joy is creating something people can use. Joy is taking an idea so abstract you struggle to explain it and turning it into steps so precise a computer can run them. This joy is, simply, something too few people have experienced.

The reason Apple's closing video was such an improvement was it framed this joy, and development, as something open to the masses. With their video, Apple took a small step toward mainstreaming software creation. They showed real people who had done something amazing by dipping their toes in the software pool.

There is a perception among adults is that code is only accessible to a select few. But, just like art, you do not need to be Rembrandt to learn the process or create something exciting. Novices can experience the joy of creation just as the old masters have before them. Despite the parallels, however, this perception lives on.

Apple's video marks a small step toward altering that perspective. It carried an inspring impact its message. I wonder how many press folks, who have never touched code in their lives, left that video wondering if they should build something. I hope that they do.

Because everyone should try their hand at creating something. Regardless of your medium, there is something addicting about the creating process. I think this quote summarizes my feelings best:

He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.

- Francis of Assisi

By that definition, we should all aspire to artistic lives. For some who have, coding is our medium. But for many, code feels out of reach. Little do they know that the joy of coding is in the discovery and the creative process. Mastery is not necessary.

This is an important lesson and one we should each try to impart on those around us. Support friends and family who express interest in learning. Encourage them to dip their toes into the pool. There is joy to be had in these waters.

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Written by Ben
Ben is the co-founder of Skyward. He has spent the last 10 years building products and working with startups.