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We’ll explore the consequences of this seemingly short attention span in a bit, but for now this project is the other big thing your nerd is building and I’ve no idea what is, but you should.
At some point, you, the nerd’s companion, were the project.
A nerd needs a project because a nerd builds stuff. It’s unlikely that this project is a nerd’s day job because his opinion regarding his job is, “Been there, done that”.
First, a majority of the folks on the planet either have no idea how a computer works or they look at it and think “it’s magic”. The nerd has based his career, maybe his life, on the computer, and as we’ll see, this intimate relationship has altered his view of the world.
When the illusion is broken, you are going to discover that… The reason for this typeface selection is, of course, practicality. Ten letters on one line are same width as ten other letters, which puts the world into a pleasant grid construction where X and Y mean something. These types of system-redefining events force your nerd to recognize that the world is not always or entirely a knowable place, and until he reconstructs this illusion, he’s going to be frustrated and he’s going to act erratically. I’ve written about The Cave elsewhere, but here are the basics. Each object in the Cave has a particular place and purpose. You’ll have 10 minutes before he’ll come stomping out of the Cave — “Where’s the Mac?
These control issues mean your nerd is sensitive to drastic changes in his environment. I develop an incredibly short fuse during system-redefining events and I’m much more likely to lose it over something trivial and stupid. The Cave is designed to allow your nerd to do his favorite thing, which is working on the project. ” The Cave is also frustrating you because your impression is that it’s your nerd’s way of checking out, and you are, unfortunately, completely correct. The joy your nerd finds in his project is one of problem solving and discovery.
In many jobs, it’s easy to discern when progress is being made: “Look, now we have a door”.
If you want to understand your nerd, stare long and hard at his Cave. A correctly designed Cave removes your nerd from the physical world and plants him firmly in a virtual one complete with all the toys he needs. As each part of the project is completed, your nerd receives an adrenaline rush that we’re going to call The High.
Every profession has this — the moment when you’ve moved significantly closer to done.