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“Eat, sleep, code, repeat” is such bullshit (signalvnoise.com)
357 points by ingve on May 21, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 179 comments



I don't know if the author knows anyone who is an artist, but if they knew an artist it might add perspective on the t-shirt.

There is a type of person who is driven to express their ideas and emotions. They can be moody and quiet or loud and extroverted but they get consumed by the process of creation and go into something like a trance state while creating.

I have been that type of person and when I let myself go, would spend hours and hours writing and rewriting code as the design evolved. I thought I was just oddly broken until I got to college and met an art student sculpting a rock at 3AM on my way back from the computer science building (its a weird thing to hear a rock hammer going 'tink, tink, tink' at 3 in the morning.) I watched in amazement for a while until they stopped and we talked. Turned out they had a very similar "mode" that I did, thinking about the work and then suddenly they could "see it" and at that point they were compelled to chip away the rock and let the rest of the world see it. I felt the same way about programs, all at once it seemed I just "knew" how it should go together and would work through the night banging it out.

It isn't a terrible or horrible thing, its something which is very satisfying. And its also true that no one else may appreciate your creation so you have to be ready to just be happy with creating it :-).

Later in life I met people who were programmers who just "turned it on and off" like a spigot, they go into work, get their assignment, turn on the programming spigot and write code, then turn it off again and go home to their life. Their t-shirt might read "code, get paid, go home."

I read the headline and disagreed, I read the article and realized the author isn't driven to create with code. That is totally understandable, it is a small percentage of the population that is. But the phrase speaks to that small percentage and not to them. Like art, if it doesn't speak to your soul then just ignore it and move on.


Very well said.

It falls somewhat along the lines of "work to live" vs "live to work (or create)."

This is why you choose your company carefully based on its culture and mission. If it's a place that's not doing work that really excites you, they shouldn't expect you to get into that "mode." To some extent the less interesting the work is, the more the company has to spend on perks and salary to get people to even want to work there in the first place.


I think something that needs to be discussed then is not to exclude the spigot people from the hiring process just because they aren't driven to create like you are. Unfortunately, it comes across as attacking you, the creation types while it should be attacking employers who think Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. spigot would be a worse worker than you.


I think that is a really important point. I got dinged[1] on my Intel review for "sand bagging" because I had estimated it would take three months to write an instruction assembler for a chip I was working on validating, I got it done but my manager claimed I had spent almost all the time "goofing off" and then wrote it in the last couple of weeks. Unlike hardware which had all these great milestones to indicate progress, creating a new program was think, think, think, blammo!

This has always been a challenge for me (and at this point I suspect always will). I don't know exactly how I come up with the stuff I do, it just sort of pops into my head. More rigorous people who can write down a series of milestones and check points are great at giving visibility into the process. My workaround has been to work with good project managers when I can and talk to them about what I know and don't know about a project. The "don't knows" become future deliverables, the "knows" become steps that can be done now and shown as progress.

Looking back on my career I have been the most successful in a group which is a mix of types, call them artists and engineers. There is probably a management book out there somewhere that addresses that question.

[1] Or "constructively criticized" using the Intel vernacular.


Yep, this is really common from the people I've met that perform at a high level.


Turning it on and turning it off is what everyone does on a day job, whether they want it or not. But eventually it leads to poor productivity and burnout.


Would you consider freelancing, or creating your own company, as a way out?

What's your solution to this dilemma?


I think pretty much anything, that doesn't involve full-time coding job, works. Be it freelancing, your own company or even a part-time job.


Generally, this is an easy stance for young, unmarried, and otherwise unattached people to approach their career. A warning to those that think this will enhance their opportunities later in life. It won't. Sure there are a few great employers out there that will reward you with loyalty (or massive sums of money) but that is the exception.

After a life of nothing but work, no matter how much you love it at the time, you fill find yourself middle-aged and burnt out - and possibly regretting your entire career choice. This is coming from a person who was the class computer nerd, who ate, slept, and drank everything computer and software tech related for 25+ years.

I'm not saying tech is bad career choice - it isn't. But once you get burnt out at something, digging ditches out in the sunshine (or rain for that matter) looks much more appealing.


I think the issue here is when people take that viewpoint as a career.

I code for a career.

I also code for a hobby. I code for fun. They're different. You can eat. sleep. code. repeat. without it being eat. sleep. work. repeat.

And you can mean it lightheartedly/halfheartedly as well. "Eat, sleep, game, repeat." can be the same thing.

Obviously taking it literally is unhealthy, but I don't think anyone is proposing people do that other than employers with an unhealthy obsession of getting as many possible hours out of their employees as they can.


I don't know if you're young, obviously, but this is a young, or at least unattached, person's point of view. I taught myself to program in the 80's when I was in my early 20's. In my later 20's and through my early 30's I did it for fun and profit, often working on a project 14 or more hours a day. By the time I got into my early 40's I had a wife, three young children, a house, a couple of pets, etc. to go along with the job. Suddenly, or perhaps not so suddenly, there were a great many demands on my 18 hours per day of waking time. Unless you're different from most people this is how it will likely proceed with you as well. So one way of looking at this mantra is "we want young, unattached people who will throw themselves into their work and not coincidentally do it for less money than a middle-aged person with a family."


I know what it feels like to have a lot of demands on your time when you're combining a family, a job and hobby projects. At one point something ends up always having to give, and typically it's the hobby projects.

I found this passage from the works of Thich Nhat Hanh very helpful to deal with that, YMMV.

“Then Allen said, “I’ve discovered a way to have a lot more time. In the past, I used to look at my time as if it were divided into several parts. One part I reserved for Joey, another part was for Sue, another part to help with Ana, another part for household work. The time left over I considered my own. I could read, write, do research, go for walks. But now I try not to divide time into parts anymore. I consider my time with Joey and Sue as my own time. When I help Joey with his homework, I try to find ways of seeing his time as my own time. I go through his lesson with him, sharing his presence and finding ways to be interested in what we do during that time. The time for him becomes my own time. The same with Sue. The remarkable thing is that now I have unlimited time for myself!”


25. I have a wife and kids whom I spend a lot of time with. Most of my free personal time is slacking off.

I often find myself wishing I had more time to collect my thoughts and program things I want to program. I don't have the time to do all the things I want to, while keeping a healthy balance in my life - and that's OK.

But I still connect with the mantra - because that's who I am as a person. I code. I think about coding. I enjoy coding.


I was a gardener until I was 25. I hated it. My father is still a gardener and he loves it. I am 35 now an I eat sleep and live software and I love it. Although I do try to work on l my own projects in my own time. I have 2 young kids and admit I find the balance hard. If you love what you do then it often doesn't feel like work, but like a hobby that you also get paid for. You see this is sports and many other vocations not just software.


Were you a gardener, as in Master Gardener? I imagine that's a bit different of a job than a Landscaper or Yard Maintenance type of position. Having known lawn mowers/maintainers, and landscapers galore (most of whom hated their jobs), but only one Master Gardener (who loved their job), I gotta think they are very distinct positions.


The other phrases (like rave or game) is fun because it represent a dream as in wishing one could only do that. "Eat, sleep, code, repeat" is very much something you can do while working at Google or any other tech company. In fact you might even be, essentially, forced to do it during "crunch mode". It's not a dream, it's a nightmare.

I get that some marketing person thought it would be funny, but work/life balance is and should be a serious subject for developers. This is "real life shit" that decides what relationships you have with your friends, family and colleagues, where you end up living in the future, if you have kids, keep your health, are happy, don't die alone etc.


So is game to video game testers - often even worse off than our industry when it's crunch time - and far less respected.

It's about how you view it. View it as job and it sucks. View it as hobby, and it's fine.

Just like Gaming


I also feel that way; in the sense that to me at least in this point of my life coding doesn't really feel like work but rather something that is a hobby, a game and a way to create value for others and myself. I do have to make time to work out again though.


I distinctly remember sitting in yet another dull sprint retrospective and thinking, "Boy, I wish I were a firefighter."

Granted, that line of work comes with its own drawbacks and I would certainly get bored of it the same way I get bored of software (or else worn out from the demanding physical aspect), but some days I'm surprised to find myself wishing I could "dig ditches out in the sunshine" or something of the sort for a living.

This combined with the "eat, sleep, code, repeat" mentality I see in others makes me wonder if I'm really cut out for a software development career.


I have had a literal ditch digging job, and I hated that even more. But I still find myself longing for such a thing. Maybe if I could just have 3-4 days per year? xD


My ideal would be a mix. One sprint of code. One sprint of building houses.


Buy a house. I love doing yard work on the weekends after 50+ hours of tech startup bombardment all week.


I have a 30-hour-a week coding gig that is pretty easy stuff (enterprise integrations for WordPress plus a little Rails and a lot of "fix this CSS"). I spend the rest of the week playing music. It's a lot of moving boxes and equipment around and performing isn't super rigorous, but it's on your feet for 4 hours, and can be somewhat physical. I got a blister from a jazz gig on upright last night becasue I am out of practice.

I've had physical labor jobs (refinishing airliners, sanding gym floors, bussing tables), and playing music is about as physical of an occupation as I'd like.

IMO, 40 hours a week for a single thing is a bad job. I get plenty of work done in 30, I have a lower pay and live in the sticks, but I like it a lot.


> Maybe if I could just have 3-4 days per year?

Look for a company that offers VTO (volunteer time off). I worked for one that would organize a group volunteer event once per quarter and gave us a maximum of 8 individual days to volunteer per year. There's a ton of fun, physical volunteering opportunities. I've done habitat builds a few times and there are a bunch of parks in the Bay Area that are always willing to put volunteers to work on trail restoration, habitat restoration and other strenuous outdoor activities. One year I even combined all my VTO with a few days of PTO and volunteered in a national park for a couple weeks.


You might something like Habitat for Humanity.


We call those "reminders."


Do you know somebody with a garden? Or maybe there is a community garden nearby?


I second this. I find nothing more grounding after a caffeinated day of coding than pulling a beet out of the ground. Good food gardens (esp. permaculture ones) are fascinatingly complex systems that appeal to the engineering mindset, but involve neither 1) reading nor 2) looking at a screen.


My father was a firefighter for 20+ years (retired a few years back, made it to Captain), and I almost regret not following in his footsteps. It'd be the perfect job for a freelance web developer. 24 hours on, 48 hours off, most of those 24 hours are sitting around the station, so I imagine I could code a good portion of those, not to mention on the other days off.

Plus great retirement.


It probably depends on the city, but I've heard that since Firemen work in long shifts living at the station a good deal of them also run contracting businesses on their days off from the station. It was explained to me that this was usually construction, but I imagine there are more than a few Fireman-coders out there.


It might just be particular to here (Australia) but firefighter is actually a very highly sought after and difficult to obtain job.


It is in the States as well. I don't thing the OP was saying it was an easy job to do or get, just a totally different job that would be completely refreshing. I've felt that same feeling too.


Oh man, retros :(


That response sounds like it's something that should be discussed in the retro, :p


Key takeaway - Don't do it for an employer.

Do it for you.

As a hobby, or as a business where you're rewarded for hours worked and quality of final product.


If you code for yourself as a business, it's generally horrifically stressful dealing with the money, marketing and contract side of things, all the while still having to churn out the code.

Very few people can do this successfully for long.


In that case keep it as a hobby. Just don't kill yourself for $15/hr when you're creating $1500/hour in value.


This where you learn to hire a CEO and let them run the business while you turn put the value. Team effort


I wouldn't wear this to "enhance my opportunities". I love coding, that's why I chose this career. Coding at home as a hobby is quite different from coding at work. I love both.

Why shouldn't I embrace my hobby and my job? Because somewhere some people might feel offended, like in this thread? I don't care. I had to giggle reading the shirt, I like that shirt, I wear that shirt. It's as simple as that.


I can relate. After doing this for over 15 years and many of those in the "Eat, sleep, code, repeat" mode, I sometimes lay in bed at night and imagine what it would be like being a gardener. I picture landscaping plans I would design and it feels like heaven being outside all day making those plans come to life.

But as they say, the grass is always greener on the other side.


“Eat, sleep, code, repeat” is a path to burnout but it's also path to freedom which may make it worth the cost.

Never before have the tools to turn ideas into code into money been so easily at our disposal.

So while coding for the love of coding may lead to dissatisfaction after X years, coding a service/business has a good upside if at the end of it you've turned an idea into something with a revenue stream.

That said, a path fraught with failure and an easier choice for those who are either young or have few responsibilities.


> But once you get burnt out at something, digging ditches out in the sunshine (or rain for that matter) looks much more appealing.

Spoken like a person that's never dug a ditch.


I've done both, and honestly if I could get paid 6 figures to work outside with my hands I'd probably switch back and forth between the 2 every 3-4 years. Sure manual labor is hard but it has some rewards to. Sadly one of those rewards is not a decent living.


> I've done both

Me too.

Even at its worst, the flexibility of a programming job outweighs everything else. I'd still rather set my own 60 hour schedule than have a set-in-stone 40 hour one.

> Sadly one of those rewards is not a decent living.

You must not know any plumbers, garbage haulers, streets employees, masons, finish carpenters, or electricians.

I have friends and family in each of those categories, and they all do well. They live better than every single one of my friends who graduated college with non-engineering degrees.

You can make a decent living with manual labor if you choose wisely, and most of that work will never disappear - people will always have toilets, for example.


That's all well and good but we were talking about ditch digging not being a skilled laborer. Of course a plumber or electrician can make good money, especially if they own their own business and manage it well. That is a far cry from operating a shovel though isn't it? You'll also notice I mentioned 6 figures specifically, and while I do know ONE plumber who makes that much, it is because he has a rather large multi-employee business and is more of a manager at this point than a plumber. The benefits I was talking about was the ability to sort of mindlessly put your muscles to work. You can do that with a shovel. Mindlessly working with electricity, water mains, or finishing touches on someones house is likely to at best get you fired and at worst get you injured fairly severely.


I don't know why anyone would do that for loyalty unless you were really sure about the people.

For monetary gain/prestige to retire earlier? Sure. Unless we get very unlucky with the tech industry in the next 20 years.

Digging ditches is great until you ruin your bones/joints.


Fuckin' A, man.


Go to war. You will have lot of experience and memories. It is easiest way to escape the cycle.


To anonymous cowards: I did not said to "participate in war" or "go to army". Every war has lot of victims, which need help, and lot of other tasks. Just go to war and you will see lot of places where you can help if you have money and free time. I am single and have 25+ years of experience in programming, and I was in same cycle as above. I participated in revolution in Ukraine, then I was volunteer at war. I also met volunteers from Italy, Azerbaijan, Canada, USA, Israel. I have true memories about that and it definitely changed my life.


You'll also realize that civvies have it pretty easy and that you can put up with almost any amount of bullsh*t.


> You'll also realize that civvies have it pretty easy ??

> you can put up with almost any amount of bullsh*t.

It is not true. Good people are good, bad are bad, even at war. War just proves who is who.

Yep, thinking is changing from libertarian to utilitarian style, because you cannot help to all, and will need to chose what to protect, which lives to save, etc.


Maybe I wasn't clear in my comment. Being in the military is onerous, boring, soul sucking and awful. Being a civilian is much easier. Once you've been in such a crummy situation, nothing can faze you.


Can you translate to simple English, please? I cannot understand that.


'civvies' == 'civilian', as opposed to a soldier.


I think the OP misses the point of the shirt. Lot's of different subcultures and activities have this type of shirt. Someone could just as well wear a shirt that says "Eat. Sleep. Hike. Repeat." And people wouldn't actually think the person _only_ hikes. The shirt is completely ironic because to suggest someone _only_ codes all day is ridiculous. The OP misses the irony.


Most folks don't hike for a living. On the other hand, lots of folks code for a living. While it is indeed ridiculous to think that someone only does coding, the current culture in some places is that the job should come first - before family, sleep, health, and other such things. So while it is just a bit funny when placed on Hiking, when placed on coding (or any other job activity), it just seems to reinforce such a culture instead.


Some people code for fun too.


Sure, but this shirt is being produced by a corporation and sold at a professional developer conference.


Why does that matter?

I'm sure a "Eat Sleep Hike Repeat" shirt would be produced by a corporation and sold at "hiking conferences".


Again, for the most part, folks aren't out there hiking for a living. Which makes the "hiking conferences" more of a hobbyist convention... outside of people that develop products for hiking.

And I'd still recommend those people to hike for enjoyment in their free time and not be out there developing products or trying to sell what their company makes.


I just don't get the distinction.

If I program for a hobby, who are you to say how I should spend my free time?

Yeah, it would be sad to see someone slaving their life away for their company, but I'm not doing that, and I'm not going to hide that I like to program outside of work (and 100% unrelated to work) because some people on the internet say I should...

And I don't think shaming those who program for a hobby is going to stop companies abusing their workers after-hours...


Maybe not seeing the forest for the trees?

The 'forest' in this case is that tech companies have been trying to transform work into a lifestyle for 20 years now. And, it has now gotten to the point where one is expected to be 'all in' at one's job or not have a job.

The shirt is cool - I kind of like it. And, coding can be a lot of fun. Both are fine things, in of themselves. But, the problem is the larger context of what's going on: companies are tying to trick people into working more and for less money.

The 'elder wisdom' is that a lot of developers have gotten burned out in this industry over the past 20 years. The best of us have worked hard and long and spilled out our creativity and passion. We have developed successful products that have made some people extremely wealthy. And, yet, we never got our implicitly promised reward.

The shirt should say:

Eat. sleep. code. get paid. repeat.


I code for fun as a way to restore myself mentally after coding for money...


Luckily you get time to do the fun part of this. Imagine if you had to do company-approved products in your spare time or if you didn't have that time to be able to work on such things?

I understand - I tried to go to college for graphic design, thinking it would leave my more "fine-arts" type of projects as a hobby and enjoyment.


  >Imagine if you had to do company-approved products in your spare time
What company does that? That's thee worst company ever (and if they don't compensate you for your 'spare' time, then there's probably a lawsuit there)


Some folks don't get spare time because of their work. And it might be something I read along the way, but my understanding is that some places do limit what you can work on in your spare time with coding - clauses that they own whatever you work on, cannot make competing products, and things like that. Some places care very much what you post on facebook (don't say you had a stressful day at work) or whether or not you smoke cigarettes in your free time.

And yes, I'd agree, that does make for bad companies, but some of the places exist.


If your manager and/or corporate environment (whether big co. or startup) encourages you subtly or not so subtly to eat, sleep, code, repeat, there is no irony. The shirt reflects an unhealthy reality.


Correct, the problem is that in this profession they believe in the irony, and suddenly you're presented with bad working conditions as if they were normal or even desirable.


I think the irony is kind of offensive. It might work for other subcultures, but in software coding all the time is a stereotypical desire of an employer, who doesn't care about his employees.


Agreed. And you see this pattern used all over the place, for example [1]. It's just a way to say, "I'm, enthusiastic about ____". Fill in the blank with whatever you want.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eat,_Sleep,_Rave,_Repeat


So, that's predated by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eat,_Sleep,_Repeat and I suspect many other things. The saying goes back a long time, and it's not clear when it was first adapted to this usage.


Variants go back to at least 1887: https://books.google.com/books?id=1Vk3AQAAMAAJ&dq=Eat%20Slee... "There was nothing to do now but to eat, sleep, rest, and get ready for another raid on the frontier settlements."

But my guess is it entered popular consciousness with the Lasting Kiss lipstick commercial mentioned in http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/29/magazine/beauty-lips-that-...: "Put it on. Eat. Work out. Eat. Go to the office. Eat. Sleep with your man. Eat. Repeat the cycle. And guess what? Your lipstick lasts until you take it off. You can kiss those lipsticks stains good-bye!"


I'm pretty sure this is a take on the popular edm track "eat sleep rave repeat". I'm surprised how much it blew up on this thread.


Lot's of different subcultures and activities have this type of shirt

In that case, I'm waiting for the first doctor to proudly wear his "Eat. Sleep. Operate. Repeat" shirt.


I just woke up with the explicit plan of coding for the next 12 hours...

I do this usually 6 days a week. I don't think it's as ironic as it sounds. I see your point, but I am definitely your counter example


I go through periods where I only code all day.


The difference is, Hiking is good for you.


Hiking all day everyday would be a literal death march.


Working the brain is just as important as working the body.


Money can be good for you.


What's the point of money if you have no time to spend it?


You can drive a BMW and wear a Rolex on your way to work and feel better about yourself.


Don't wear a BMW nor a Rolex but I imagine that the novelty and the "feeling good about yourself" caused by the possession of these two items would fade out pretty quickly.


No problem. You just buy a suit then. And then a huge telly. And then a new pair of shoes. Believe me, you'll never run out of shiny stuff to buy.


You need money to get to the places to Hike... and not be barefoot while doing so.


Or, you can be a broke-ass cracker in Appalachia - although most of them aren't much into hiking if there isn't a trout pond at the end or they're actually driving deer...


I could theoretically just hike my way off to somewhere to hike. Land use laws are different, and as long as I'm not messing up someone's forest, I'm good. And public transport will get one closer.

Indiana, most of those ponds and hunting places were state parks or privately owned places with "no trespassing" signs up, and far out of the way of the city.


I wouldn't say it's irony. The joke is more "ha ha only serious" than not.


The ordering of activities is also a bit strange. I don't like to eat right before sleep; I'd rather eat after sleep, then code.


So transpose the eat and sleep, it rhymes better anyway ;)


Transposing printed text on a T-shirt is not so easy :)


If you're looking for a non-coding hobby, why not make your own T-shirt though


This. The OP is one of "those" people that just likes to find things to be faux offended by.


You're the one who missed the point of the OP, not the other way around.

It's pretty well understood that the shirt isn't itself trying to enforce an actual "eat sleep code repeat" mentality. But that mentality exists and isn't rare at all. A lot of people identify with that mentality. Maybe you identify with that mentality and that's why this post bothers you.

It's.. sad you think anybody here is "offended". You're the only one who seems to have been offended.


I'm married and have four kids, though two have now left the nest. When I read this, I think about all the times I set aside my code to do something more important - interact with my kids, nurture my wife, and pursue hobbies outside the technology world (I run, bike and sail).

But ... you might be surprised to learn that I love that tee-shirt. I think there are many who are misguided enough to ignore balance in their lives completely (this shirt is not for them). For me, technology is my main hobby. I get paid for it at work (aren't I lucky), sometimes I get paid for it at home (I have a consultancy) but most of the time at home, I'm coding (or even building electronics) for fun. Other times, it's a project I'm playing with that I wouldn't otherwise get to do at work.

In any case, I'm not advocating living an unbalanced life. Nor am I describing a life of crunch-time (my home projects very rarely have deadlines). What I'm saying is that I truly love the time I spend on technology and identify with the shirt as a statement of that affection.

EDIT: It's a rainy Saturday morning here ... I got the lawn cut last night, my daughter is away playing viola at a concert and I'm kind of chilling with my wife and son. While we're siting in the living room watching the rain, I'm updating the Ansible scripts I use to keep my laptops, and workstations up-to-date [1].

I've got two hardware projects planned for next winter - I'm going to get my COSMAC ELF [2] running again (my first computer based on an RCA 1802) and I'm going to turn my old Sun E450 [3] into a TEC-based mini-fridge for my office (if anyone needs Sun E450 parts let me know).

[1] https://github.com/selesy/workstation

[2] http://www.cosmacelf.com/

[3] http://www.tech.proact.co.uk/i/sun_enterprise_450.jpg


I'm married with a 11 month old son, but definitely identify with this perspective on it. I'd never sideline my family to squeeze in an extra bit of work for the sake of work, but still strongly identify with the passion for technology that got me to where I'm at today. I hope I can raise my son to appreciate an appropriate balance.


I've had a lot of fun working on technology projects with my kids. I'd say these projects are too numerous to mention but as an example, my daughter and I wrote a program (well ... I wrote it and she specified and QA'd it) that finds CRISPR sites in a mouse genome for her lab project at Johns Hopkins (she's a doctoral candidate in molecular genetics).

So share your passion for technology with your child(ren) ... it's really never too early to let them touch it if you're careful. My daughter once deleted C:\Windows because she never "played that game" and wanted to install another game before I got home (her mom told her to wait). That OS never booted again ... we switched from Win98 to WinXP that night so that I could have a bit more control.

In general, I think it's good to let your children fail at things they want to try themselves - my job as a parent is to keep them from failing at things that are fatal, or have long-term consequences. And you'll find that they're fearless around your computer. They'll just click until it works if they have to. It's a funny contrast to teaching computers to senior citizens, who are afraid any wrong keystroke or errant mouse-click will permanently break something.

Of course, if they're not interested, you can't effectively force your love of technology on them. But I'll bet you can find something that they ARE passionate about that you find interesting too. And isn't that a better way to spend time together than sitting in front of a TV?


"My daughter once deleted C:\Windows because she never "played that game" and wanted to install another game before I got home (her mom told her to wait). That OS never booted again ... "

That's hilarious. I'd have never considered that risk.

"It's a funny contrast to teaching computers to senior citizens, who are afraid any wrong keystroke or errant mouse-click will permanently break something."

The contrast is interesting. Both cases lead to a piece of advice I've been giving for a decade or something: backup anything extra critical onto write-once media like CD-R's or DVD-R's. Make sure it's certainly recoverable. Then, you're worried about a temporary loss of PC access instead of permanent loss of important data.


> we switched from Win98 to WinXP that night so that I could have a bit more control.

That sucks, poor kid. I knew my Windows 98 activation key by heart in my early teens :)


She was five at the time ... she obviously didn't know what she was deleting. And there have been plenty of times I've "paid extra" (in money and/or time) to allow my kids to keep a fearless curiosity.


AHA! Someone else who knows about 1802's and has Intersil's datasheet! I'll probably be sending you an email or two as I've considered reviving 1802 with a clone for high-reliability, verifiable embedded. Plus, an associate told me the Intersil datasheet was one of best he'd ever seen in terms of technical data. It performed really well on SOI tech back in the day with long runs in harsh space environments. Something to be said for such tech. :)

Btw, what do the 1802's from Intersil cost these days in low volume?


I have no idea what the 1802s cost today ... my tube was purchased in the late '70s.


I am exactly old enough to be jealous of your COSMAC ELF. It's an artifact of a time when hobby computing was much more like trailblazing in an unknown land.


I had a couple of Hazeltine RS-232 terminals I wish I hadn't sent to the recyclers. On the other hand, I might have some spare parts for a COSMAC ELF in my shop (which my wife calls Dexter's Laboratory - No you youngin's, it's not that Dexter). If you're really interested, you can still find everything you need I think I still have a full tube of the RCA 1802 processors (10 per tube for a 40-pin DIP). My email address is in my profile if you have any questions or want a "retro-computing companion".


Yeah, fuck enthusiasm! /s

I can understand that we might want to avoid the obsessive behaviors of some developers that could be considered unhealthy, but blaming a simple catch-phrase isn't going to get us anywhere.

What if the shirt said, "Coding is rad" ?

I say that all the time, and people just give me that look that says, "Ha, what a nerd" and it's fine for me because I can maintain my enthusiasm. Other people need a little bit more of a push to continue to push themselves to be the best developers that they can be.

Should developers be monks that only exist to program? No. Should developers take pride in spending their time learning and improving? Yes. Should developers be upset over a t-shirt that has no impact whatsoever on their life? No.

I hate this sort of reactionary outrage, it's more counterproductive than buying the stupid shirt is.


It's not the shirt that bothers me, it's the fact that Google tries to create this kind of work culture internally with perks designed to keep you at work longer, and then they sell this shirt so they can profit even more from the wider developer community's passion.

I know that Google pays their developers well, and personally I am a bit of a workaholic myself devoting long hours to my company, but still there is something that I find unsettling. I wouldn't deny anyone their passion, and I wouldn't judge someone for spending all their time programming; the hair I want to split is doing so as part of a cheerleading exercise for a major corporation just feels exploitative somehow. Maybe that criticism is unfair, but Google is no stranger to handing down unfair decisions ;)


Don't they have the right? I mean, a developer that's talented enough to attract attention from Google then surely they'd be smart enough to know what constitutes working 'too much.'

I don't think Google exploits its workers anymore than they exploit themselves. If you think you've worked too much, then go home? If they ask you "hey, do you want to pull a 80-hour week this week?" why should you say anything other than: "fuuuuck no"

Going even further, it wouldn't shock me if at least a subset of Google programmers go home and -- sit down and start programming something else. If they were going to do it anyways, and Google's going to pay them their dues, hell, I'm all about it.

Eat, sleep, code, get paid, repeat.


> I mean, a developer that's talented enough to attract attention from Google then surely they'd be smart enough to know what constitutes working 'too much.'

Of course not, not at all. We all have different skillsets, and good coding ability does not mean you're good in everything else.


Which is not at all what I said. I didn't even mention coding abilities.

A developer does a lot more than just write code, but let me clarify: Anybody that's smart enough to hold a job should know when they are being asked to work too much.


I don't think knowing when you're being asked to work too much is a thing that comes automatically with whatever job skills you're hired for. Even if you work in management or HR, where having a sense of "too much work" is part of your job, you might not be objective enough to apply that expertise to yourself.

And even if you know you're working too long, you might not feel empowered to do something about it. This could be because you literally don't have the power—your employer requires everyone to work unreasonable hours—or because you lack the confidence or skills to use it.


Ear, Code, Perk, Sleep, Repeat is quite a different story!


There's a difference between enthusiasm and obsession, and I'm pretty sure there's a difference in how you object to enthusiasm vs. obsession. "John&Paul&George&Ringo." is a great T-shirt. "I spend all day in my bedroom listening to the Beatles" is saying something very different. And if there is a subculture of people who literally do the latter, to the point where it's not obvious that it's hyperbole, it's valid to object to it as "Dude, that's a bit unhealthy" -- which is a very different criticism than "The Beatles sound awful".


I understand the distinction, and you've articulated what I was trying to say. Where I think we differ is that I would argue the shirt is implying a positive, upbeat attitude. To me, that shirt says "Yeah, you rock, keep going" not "Don't come out until you're done no matter what"


What do you think of the recent spin-offs, like "Larry&Sergey&Eric&Sundar"?


I get the feeling those t-shirts were thought up by someone who doesn't "code" for a living (i.e. a higher up management type). Before I got professional full-time work as a developer I was obsessed with "coding". Now, I've become a little jaded through working with horrible spaghetti code legacy systems, solving problems I don't care about, whilst doing all this "agile" stuff. Now I've become obsessive trying to think of business ideas / products I can create to help me escape it all (and just program for fun, or as a means to run a business or supply a product).


A business will consume you in ways you'd rather not think about. If you're a founder, you won't be sitting coding all day long for happy customers. You'll be juggling tons of crappy responsibilities and shipping code that is good enough to work (kinda).

Just find a better company or work on Open Source and then grow this into a business (look at how Ansible or GitLab pulled that off for example).


I guess I mean I'd like to run a "lifestyle" type of business; something where I don't make a ton of money, but enough to get by (rather than a startup where I'm hoping to solve humanity's problems with a single app and make millions or billions from it). Actually the company I work for is the best company I've ever worked at! I think I just don't find satisfaction in the 9-5 corporate grind.


Yep, but even that mystical "lifestyle business" (otherwise known as "a business") is a lot of non-coding work. For a healthy dose of realism, I suggest you watch some of the MicroConf videos [1] (and definitely go there if you can).

[1]: http://www.microconf.com/videos


Meh, it's all about how you choose to run your business. I run a small business and spend a few hours a month on non-technical tasks (accounting, etc...).


I'd be OK doing non-coding work, if it was for my own business, I think. Might even enjoy it! Thanks for the link, I'll definitely check out some of those videos!


Most programming jobs have a lot of crappy coding to do as well


One day, everyone has to decide what they want from life...

We only have finite time and need to use it carefully.

I was a big nerd in school and from 11 - 17 I put most of my time in video games and coding. This helped me greatly in my carer, but I ended up without any of the typical experiences people have in that age.

Later I decided I also want different things from life. Finding partners, learning instruments and getting fit was a huge cut for my coding skills.

What I learned was, that there are always people better than you, but they bought this with their lifetime. You don't need to be the best developer around, it's okay if you're average.

But I have to admit, my girlfriend made me an ESCR shirt and I like to wear it, so people "think" I'm 100% dev, haha.


> there are always people better than you, but they bought this with their lifetime

This is so true. Unless you spend your life doing something you will never be as good as them. You gotta choose what you want, but being the best at something is a heavy life decision.


I didn't see anything alarming in this phrase, but from responses in this thread it's clear it strikes a nerve with some people.

And that's really helpful to know. I came into the thread seeing nothing wrong with it, but now have a sense that it might be a bigger issue than I had realized.

Another commenter mentioned that many groups use the ol' "Eat, {VERB}, Sleep, Repeat" slogan on t-shirts to express enthusiasm for something, rather than a top-down expectation. But maybe the issue of separating work / personal time is hot enough in tech that the slogan ends up reminding people (like OP) that there's a risk others will try to convince you to take it seriously as a requirement for your career.

This kind of thing comes up in academia, too--where there's a pervasive I-love-science-so-much-I-work-late-into-the-night-every-day mentality. Eat, research, tell people how late you were up researching, sleep, repeat.


The first featured post from the same author reads "How I fell in love with a programming language" [1] and dissect his "love" for Kotlin (the same way DHH "loves" Ruby).

Being a dad, I'm pretty sure he's able to appreciate the difference between him saying "I love Kotlin" and "I love my son". Well, that t-shirt is no different.

I've often liked the no-nonsense talk coming out of 37Signals/Basecamp, but this sounds like over-reaching.

[1]: https://m.signalvnoise.com/how-i-fell-in-love-with-a-program...


While I don't agree that programming needs to be all consuming, spend enough time around new programmers and you'll see a difference in passion. Someone who does programming because they can earn a pay check vs someone that does programming because they truly enjoy it.

You don't get that passion by doing it 9-5.

Programming CAN be all consuming if you let it and for a while, I did. I had so much work to do be it at my day job or side projects that it left 0 time to do anything else. Because of that, I gained weight and generally feel like crap most of the time (let's not even talk about actually sleeping through the night)

It's important to take some time and do something else. I'm trying to make it a point to spend at least an hour a day bike riding or roller blading or just even spending time with my wife. You'll go insane otherwise.

The eat, sleep, code, repeat may be originated from this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBoRkg5-Ieg but I don't think that's the first occurrence of a "repeat" phrase...


> You don't get that passion by doing it 9-5.

You can't get passion for a subject by dedicating a majority of your daily hours on it? Seems like that could be the very definition of passion.

I get what you're trying to say, but I firmly believe you are wrong.

> I'm trying to make it a point to spend at least an hour a day bike riding or roller blading or just even spending time with my wife.

One hour out of 15 you spend awake? Seems like your hobbies are getting the short shaft here. But then again, so are you - having a diversity of experiences will make you a better programmer by opening your mind to other experiences, rest, and the time to allow your brain to bake a problem into an elegant solution.


> You can't get passion for a subject by dedicating a majority of your daily hours on it? Seems like that could be the very definition of passion.

I've been wondering this myself lately too. What's the difference between someone who spends 100 hours doing something with rigorous discipline because they're trying to cultivate a passion, and someone who spends 100 hours doing something because they're passionate about it? Warm fuzzy feelings?


> I don't think that's the first occurrence of a "repeat" phrase...

I always thought this came from shampoo: "lather, rinse, repeat."


Really you can't be passionate about something if happens only during normal work hours - 9 - 5? I did not know that. What hours do you need? 10 - 6? A night shift?


One of my co-workers occasionally says, "I just want a steady 12-8."


I think the larger issue here is that few people are going to drop $25 for a t-shirt that says, "EAT. SLEEP. CODE. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BALANCE OF BOTH PROGRAMMING AND NON-PROGRAMMING RELATED ACTIVITIES."


I created a Teespring shirt campaign to test that here. I think we definitely need a lot more counterpoints to these CODE ALL THE TIME movements.

https://teespring.com/eat-sleep-code-go-outside


I think there is an entire population that would find that infinitely more entertaining.


I may have to steal that idea so I can test the hypothesis.


I'm against long hours as much as the next guy but these shirts are just meant to be enthusiastic. Pick your battles guys...


And the author says as much. He's saying that the choice of slogan seems to have a larger subtext. There's no battle being waged. Maybe reread the article?


I share the sentiment of the article, but have another issue. What is this obsession with "coding"? As in producing lines of code? I'd encourage programmers to "code" less and think more. And the best time to think is away from the keyboard, perhaps on a walk, or with your family.

Consider that some of the cleverest things in programming, be it algorithms like sorting, hashing or whatever, ideas and inventions that actually make the computers do what they do can usually be implemented in very few lines of code or explained in a page of text, but may have taken collective lifetimes to come up with.


At least it is still "eat, sleep". Soon it will be "soylent, provigil".


I never forget the years working Christmas and Thanksgiving at the movie theater, or bagging groceries at Harris Teeter pretty much every holiday(that was actually a huge step up because I didn't have to work Christmas day). Sure work sucks sometimes but I keep those days in the back of my head at all times and I never take what I have for granted. While my roommates in my late teens and early twenties, sat around smoking weed and playing video games and racking up student debt, I worked on paying cash for community college and learning more and more about programming which I had already started learning at an early age.

I still get up every day happy to go to work. I haven't dreaded work in 9 years. I have a 10 month child now and yea I don't eat sleep code, but it's actually given me more motivation to start a small Saas companies on the side. Just side projects to see if they stick. Bring in a little extra cash. If my employer wants a little extra work here and there that's fine. If they begin to expect it every day then I'll just go to the next thing, but I sure as hell rather sit at a desk and do something I enjoy than bag groceries or do construction.


That's a funny sentiment, because I'm here on a saturday morning (like all mornings for the last 30 years) browsing the internet for news with a particular interest about programming.


There is a song called "eat sleep rave repeat" which is about taking drugs and going to raves every day. Eat sleep code repeat is, I think, just an attempt to make a funny play on that song. Obviously eat sleep anything repeat is not a healthy life style. Pretty funny how this joke was lost on the author and the entire thread.


The OP is overreacting big time. Offended and horrified by a humorous shirt. First world problems.


We should be careful to not conflate intensity (at one's work) with being a one-dimensional human being. Intensity is generally a good thing. Being one-dimensional is not.

Regardless of whether you're just starting out and are the most intense programmer ever, or if you've been at it for 20+ years, there's immense value in understanding and being proficient at many things other than software.

Many big discoveries happen at the intersection of two fields. A lot of our latest breakthroughs in AI are based on our newfound understanding of the human mind. Same with computational genomics. Black Scholes for option pricing. The list goes on.


I am bothered as-well by the "Eat, sleep, code, repeat" phrase. We must not make things complicated just to create work. Work should lead to freedom. I understand it is scary when a work is no longer relevant. But this is not a technological problem, it is a political problem.

BTW, I think Universal Base Salary is a great answer to the speed at which work gets irrelevant. UBI gives exactly the confidence to evaluate work without pressure and bias, which I believe leads to even greater freedom and productivity.


I know this phrase from the electronic music artist Fatboy Slim's "Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat"

(Warning, explicit lyrics)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wBoRkg5-Ieg

It's a fun dance song, but the literal total opposite of a healthy lifestyle.


What's with the articles lately discouraging hardcore programming? Are we hackers or not? I just want to sit in a cellar with a big Unix beard, drink Jolt cola and do programming 24/7.


One hard issue I've been coping with is the fact that coding was my hobby before it was my profession. I think that's a fairly normal thing for developers. I mean, who wouldn't take a job doing what they were already doing for enjoyment.

It's not that I want an unbalanced life, but when your hobby merges into your career it becomes hard to diversify. I'm fortunate that I have a wife and kids to help balance me out; without them I'm sure I'd be coding for most of my free time.


It's Bullshit but... the exception to this is if you're consulting corp-to-corp hourly or doing you're own startup that's fine but otherwise it is exploitive culture propaganda praying on the naive. (overly dramatic, its just a fucking t-shirt). Also, "hump" should be added to this list prior to "sleep" and possibly inserted after "sleep" and after "code" as well to cancel out the long durations of solitary activity.


The "Eat. Sleep. Code. Repeat." mentality, if understood in the context of workplace environments where for all practical purposes this is the expected modus operandi, should give any person who thinks the unexamined life is not worth living reason to pause.

This story helps illustrate the mindset from a particular angle. http://www.hobodrifter.com/the-fisherman/


I think the post might be misinterpreting the intent behind the phrase. My first impression was that it is a parody of the famous electronic dance song with similar lyrics.


No I think most people get that, but even recommending it in a joking manner is worrying.


Even if you want to eventually you won't be able to code around the clock.

I', now 29 but working for startups putting in 8-14 hours a day takes its toll, and now I can't sit at a desk or my acid reflux will kindly tell me to take a walk.

That or too much stress is hit, I'm out for the day with chest pains for the next day.

Whats worse is you tell this to others and they don't understand because those that have not experienced it don't understand.


I understand. You're probably sick of hearing it, but try meditation. Either a few minutes a day, or an app like Headspace, or jump in the deep end with a 10-day retreat, it doesn't really matter. You need to exercise your brains ability to observe without reacting or that ability becomes weakened. It's worth asking why it's so hard for the average person to do something as simple as sit still for 5 minutes. The benefits of practice compound rather quickly.

Personally I found that a 10-day silent Vipassana retreat had huge lasting benefits even after I fell away from a regular practice. To be honest, just preparing for a structured environment where there was no way for me to be reached, and no reading material let alone Internet, was all by itself a revelatory and detoxifying process. The ten hours a day of meditation made it possible to get through it.


Is just sitting there doing nothing enough, or do you need some technique? Do five minutes have any effect?


5 minutes does have an effect. A lot of the published research uses a dose of 20 minutes a day, and it can be a struggle to work up to that, but it is a good goal. In a 20 minute session it can be common for me to feel distracted and fidgety for most of it, but get a few glimpses or a minute or two of detachment from the "monkey mind", and it has a big impact on the rest of the day, and a compounding impact over time.

I think the easiest way to try mindfulness meditation out is the headspace app, but there are a lot of different styles if that doesn't appeal to you. Most mindfulness-oriented meditation taught in the west today won't demand a set of beliefs and compatible with a secular rationalist perspective on the world.

There is definitely technique; it's quite different from just daydreaming or following every thought that enters your mind. You will typically have something to focus on, usually the breath is used to start, but it varies by tradition. The idea is to have something neutral that you can pay attention to so that you can begin to observe the thoughts that arise in your mind without reacting to them. There's a popular free book available online in various formats called Mindfulness in Plain English that lays out the basics of Vipassana style meditation, if you want a decent primer. The retreat I mentioned was offered by dhamma.org aka the Goenka school.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions I might be able to answer.


Holy shit you need to slow down. Even the corporate lawyers finally backed off from this list lifestyle.


Every subculture that requires some level of above normal commitment has a phrase like this. Basbeall, ballet, musicians, dancers. It seems the current Medium post flavor of the month is some semi formed shot at a tentative of programmer/tech culture. Most end up being so overblown, like this one, it just sound like middle schoolers in the cafeteria.


Just be sure to love the shit out of most of what you do, otherwise what you're doing just isn't sustainable for you. There are only a very, very few exceptions to this.

Edit: also, it's almost never good on you, to blame others for when you are stuck; it's better to be active yourself and fix things and try to get yourself into a better place.


Personally, I like to focus on one thing for a long time, and then focus on another.

Unfortunately, it is very hard to do so in a society that tries to level everyone in the same way.

The best possible situation to me would be working nonstopping for months, then do something else for months and so on.


I have been trying to be a 10x engineer for the past 10 years and only been somewhat successful.


What do you feel is limiting you from getting there?

I can tell you one thing that will get you close to a 10x developer almost immediately: when you're at work, turn off your phone, and never open distracting websites (like news.ycombinator). Most programmers are so severely distracted, you can level up several times above the average just by focusing.

Another trick is to slow down somewhat, think more, and write fewer bugs (and less repetitious code). Because fixing a bug after it hits QA (or a customer) takes longer than testing it quick while you are writing it.


I do that, but my anxiety kicks in when I face a tricky problem. Much time goes into bringing focus back. I don't think I have ADD. But something's wrong. Or I m just a slacker.


Everyone figures out that balance is the key to happiness in life. Some are wise and learn from others while they are young. Some of us have to spend many years and figure it out the hard way ourselves, which brings some regret. Be wise!


I disagree. Balance doesn't bring happiness. First of all I do not believe balance is a definitive state but rather a constant work. You need to constantly put things back into balance which is exhausting and time consuming.

Secondly nothing great ever happens when things are in balance. Everything is just average. You work enough to be able to do enough "life" things.

I strongly believe you need to be out of balance to really enjoy things. You need to go all in at work for the necessary period time to be great. This is when you really get pleasure out of it. But at the same time you must counter balance by doing every life events available (i.e. never turn down a friend diner, the gym, a date, a concert, ...). Go long at work and short in life basically.


> Go long at work and short in life basically.

Does that mean work late hours? If so, I very much bet you are young. As the saying goes, nobody lies on their deathbed wishing they had spent more time at the office.


This guy must be overworked to take such issue with something so innocuous.


Many really good programmers "eat, sleep, code, repeat," some of the time. Highly intelligent people tend to have intense focus. That's how they got to be so intelligent.


I used to be like that, then I realised there's better things in life. So my conclusion is that you need a balance. Too much work is bad but too much family time is as bad.


Man, people really do get butthurt over all kind of stupid shit.


Similar opinion I've had about the phrase "never stop learning", which is a common sentiment but can also be menacing threat depending on your situation.


Learning is extremely broad and diverse.


I think this whole "you need a work life balance" propaganda can be as misleading as "eat, sleep, code, repeat", especially for younger programmers who have no idea and rely on more experienced idols (such as the guys at Basecamp).

It really depends on what kind of life you want to have. If your priority is more towards making a huge dent in the world, I think trying to have a "work life balance" is a terrible idea. Here I'm speaking statistically because there are rare cases where people stumbled upon success even without putting all their life into it, but I would say these are exceptions, not the rule.

Most extremely successful people have had very abnormal life--far from a balanced life--(Maybe you hear about them talking about having a balanced life here and there but that's them speaking after they have achieved success. Of course if you spent all your youth on working on something you would want that time back. But I doubt they would be where they are if they actually did what they say).

Take a look at Basecamp for example. I don't want to pick on them but there's no better way to argue with their philosophy than what's going on with them. Sure they were one of the pioneers in their space, sure their co-founder created Ruby on Rails, and I totally admire what they have achieved, but what have they achieved in the last several years otherwise in terms of their own product innovation? They have killed most of its other products, and their main product--Basecamp--is not exactly the mainstream product that everyone uses. If anything it's Slack that will become what Basecamp could have been. I watched one of their interview videos where they were talking about how they thought about building an awesome new product but decided not to because they didn't want to waste time maintaining a new product. Personally I cannot sympathize with that at all.

Of course, it sounds like this is exactly the type of business these guys want, which would let them live the lifestyle they want, but if you ask me, I would choose a life where I create something that has extremely huge impact in the world--hopefully even after I die--even if it means sacrificing a lot of my "lifestyle". The Basecamp guys decided to live a life where they are mildly successful and enjoy their life, but they probably won't achieve anything world-changing if they keep doing what they do. That's fine and I'm sure they don't care, and I'm not saying everyone should live a crazy life, but I'm just saying it's as "such bullshit" to say everyone should live an unambitious life as saying everyone should give up their life to be successful.


Such bullshit. With Soylent you can code while you eat :)


They were all sold out of “Eat, sleep, code, travel, meet friends, shop, shower, jog, date, travel, watch GoT, procrastinate on HN, repeat” t-shirts.


> horrifying

is definitively too much. And also the interpretation is too strict. Why being outraged for something like this?


The author sounds like he's defending himself ; but from what attack?


Eat, sleep, work, complain about working, distract yourself, repeat.


Hyperbolic slogan contains hyperbole, news at 11!




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