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Book Review: The Alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a very easy read that provides more inspiration than it does practical advice. However, while there is no central theme of this blog, i would say i aim to make practical advice for myself and others a key pillar of its mission. So to leave with some practical advice, we will take a quote from the book,

If you start out by promising what you don't even have yet, you'll lose your desire to work toward getting it.

and go over it.

I feel that for software developers, these words of wisdom ring with truth regarding taking any form of investment for your project. The psychological shift that occurs when you receive money for your idea in exchange for a portion of the future fortunes can be enough to prevent you from realizing your goal. Here are the some of the negative consequences:

1. You no longer can stand up and proudly say, "this is my project, and my project alone."
2. Your vision will no longer be your vision but a blur of your vision and someone else's.
3. You will have to constantly consult all interested parties about almost every action you take. You will have extra overhead work of keeping everyone informed.

Software projects are special because they require almost no capital investment. With a good laptop and perhaps a server you can start cranking right away. If you take an investment in return for a promise of future profits, you will negatively affect the most important factor to your project's success: your drive to succeed.

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