The Joy of building

Philipp Eichhorn • • coding

FauDroids has been running for some time and we he have now published 5 apps in total of which we are very proud. What started out as a small experiment to help us become better programmers and build something to show for all the effort that goes into that, has affected me in more ways I could have ever imagined, and I’m not just taking about the utter lack of time to push out a new app month after month.

In the beginning it was just Simon and I, two slightly bored students how wanted a little more than the day in day out routine of university, which consists mainly of going to class, doing homework and hammering exams in an sometimes seemingly endless loop. So we decided to make a deal and start building android apps, one for every month. It wasn’t necessarily about having a great impact on others or changing the world, FauDroids was (and still is) for us. Who else would build a multiplayer memory game if not for the pure joy of making something new and having a laugh with friends?

Eventually things changed slightly. At first Julia joined the team, which was a great morale boost since FauDroids was no longer this crazy idea with nothing to show for, but instead it was really happening and people started to take it more seriously. Then two months ago Richard joined as well to help out with servers, another milestone in the FauDroids history. Around that time we published MrHyde, and android client for blogging with Jekyll and GitHub pages, which I am using now to write this post. This was our first “serious” app which actually meant to solve a real world problem: using Jekyll on a phone. That was also the first time we met users who seemed to care about what we are doing and were happy to try out MrHyde.

While the amount of feedback is in no way impressive when compared to any other moderately successful app, it was enough to get us exited about actually building stuff, stuff that would have an impact and not just creating funny gimmicks (they are still awesome though).

Of course this is only a glimpse of what it could be like to build software that people love, but it has massively changed how I value my day to day work. Previously, especially during my early semesters, getting good grades at university was everything for me. I used to spend insane amounts of hours studying, doing homework and generally making sure that I excelled in every course. Now I just can’t do it anymore. Even just listening to lectures feels like a waste of time, time that I could have spent on trying to have a real impact on the world, instead of idly doing tasks that at the end of the day nobody really cares about. Studying has gone from being my one and everything, to being this annoying chore which just doesn’t seem to end. I’m not saying that university can’t teach me new things, just that my time of learning by listening is about over, I want to learn by doing (and probably failing a hundred times in the process of doing so).

Maybe this is a dangerous development, one that will impact my grades and leave me with less opportunities at the end. Maybe I’m wrong and university is really the best place to be right now. Maybe. But still, working on FauDroids just feels right. I have never had so much fun spending time with friends, building awesome (and sometimes just plain crazy) apps and learning how to apply all that hard gained knowledge in the “real world”. FauDroids is awesome, the people are awesome and I would not trade it for the world. So for now I’m sorry university, but you are just going to have to wait.