Lauri Liimatta

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Just learn javascript, man

For the last few years this is what many people have told me. Just learn javascript. Just, that easy, that simple, right? Many times I wished it really was but in reality learning any new language is not matter of just. It takes a real motivation to take on something as challenging as learning a new language.

I've always learned new things the best by doing. When I was still in school I would rewrite texts from books to better memorize things I thought were important or likely useful in an exam. When I first got into making websites at the age of 12 I didn't read books, I just downloaded templates or took html straight from some site and then started making my own adjustments to it.

You could say that same could be applied to learning javascript and until a few months ago most of my javascript experience was mostly like that. Taking pieces from jQuery docs or Stackoverflow and then tweaking those things to fit my own needs. I never really got any further than that though, I just wasn't motivated to learn more and dig deeper. I felt like didn't need to.

Friends and many of the people who I work with have known and heard how I've wanted to do an SaaS business of some kind for a long time. I bet you know someone like that too, one that talks about wanting to do this or that but never seems to accomplish that goal because of some excuse. My excuse at the time was that I was designer and I couldn't find a developer to co-found a company with me. This complaining went on for years although there were moments when me and some of my friends actually tried to build something. Those attempts however always failed due to lack of time or commitment.

Then eventually this summer I came to my senses that if I ever wanted to see this dream become reality, I needed to stop waiting for this miracle co-founder to show up at my door and instead start learning this stuff by myself. You might be asking yourself why didn't you go out there and find a technical co-founder in your circles? My answer to that is that I think in business it is really hard to find people who have combination of:

  1. similar thinking/values
  2. time
  3. effort/hustle
  4. willing to start small/do it on the side

This has been my experience so far at least.

meteor

Photo by: Mike Lewinski

Meteor strikes

Earlier this year I had read a book about Meteor which was more like a long tutorial actually. It was called Building your first Meteor app. It got intrigued because for first time learning Javascript didn't seem like such a daunting task. I made the little leaderboard app as instructed in the book and moved on with my life soon after.

Then came the summer along with my conclusion that I really needed to learn this stuff. I downloaded the updated version of the book and started figuring out how I could use the core lessons of the book and turn them into some kind of different app. Much like I had learned HTML ~15 years ago. That app eventually became Basement, my first very own software as a service product.