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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is

Creating is Hard


This post is the forty-seventh part of a ramble-rant about the software business. The current posts in this series can be found on the series landing page.

This post is about creation.

Creating is Hard Work

Building something from nothing is difficult, to say the least. But often it’s even more difficult to conceive an idea worth building in the first place. I have to admit, my best ideas have come to me in dreams. I’m blessed to have a business partner – Brian Moran (@briancmoran) – who comes up with great ideas every day. I like implementing ideas, so we make a good team.

The main reason creating and conceiving ideas is difficult is…

Thinking is Work

I don’t know how you think. I know how I think, though. Maybe you think similarly; maybe you don’t. I actually set aside time each week to ponder. It’s a cool time most weeks. How do I think?

One Note!

I heart One Note. I write stream-of-consciousness style. And sketch with the touchpad. And drag documents onto the surface. And then I just close it and it’s saved automatically. One Note rocks.

At the suggestion of a friend, I recently started tinkering with Evernote. So far I like it - a lot. It's like OneNote in the cloud. I can jot down notes from my DroidX or laptop. Neato mosquito. I'm still learning to use Evernote. Perhaps when I get better at it, I'll post more.

"If Thinking is so Difficult, Why Do it?"

I’m so glad you asked! Sometimes I come up with a killer idea (like SQLPeople! Which started as a dream…). Thinking and creating is so worth it when you get to share that idea. It doesn’t matter if you get to share it with someone in a one-on-one mentoring session or in front of a user group or presenting at a SQL Saturday, Code Camp, or the PASS Summit – it is awesome to share!

And this is why I <3 community.

It's more than "giving back". "Giving back" sounds like you're paying off some old debt and that's not how contributing to community feels at all. "Giving back" is a transaction that flows from one person to another or many. That's not community! Sharing is community. Community is engaging. Community is participating. My friend and fellow community mentor Alan Stevens (Blog | @alanstevens) is a champion of Open Spaces (check out this video of Alan sharing about Open Spaces from CodeStock 2009). Open Spaces is one way technology communities organize. It was the first unconference format I ever heard about. You owe it to yourself to read the Origin and Ownership section at Wikipedia. Alan was the first person I heard present the Open Spaces Guiding Principle and One Law and he did it with panache, conviction, and passion.

Earlier this week, I hosted a Google+ Hangout. It embodied many of the same principles found in Open Spaces. You don't vote with your feet, but you do enter and leave at will. Whoever shows up are the right people. Whenever it starts is the right time. Wherever it happens is the right place. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened. When it's over, it's over. To me, Open Spaces feels like Agile + Community. Everyone contributes and we all learn. I will be hosting more G+ Hangouts.


One of the reasons I started this series is to encourage people to create, and to discourage those who would block creativity and innovation. Creating is hard work, but it is so worth it.


Published Friday, August 12, 2011 8:00 AM by andyleonard

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jamiet said:

"I recently started tinkering with Evernote. It's like OneNote in the cloud"

Alternatively you could use OneNote at which, rather than being *like* OneNote in the cloud actually *is* OneNote in the cloud. And you can edit those OneNote notebooks using OneNote installed locally.

August 12, 2011 7:30 AM

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