December 4, 2016
by Alan Vitek

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My brother and I like to joke about “scrubdev” — the art of doing something without knowing all the intricacies of that thing.



However, I believe there is inherent beauty in scrubdev, as it affords us advanced creativity that usually can only be gained later on.

Consider this for a moment — have you ever wondered why we believe “beginner’s luck” exists?

Here’s my theory. Beginner’s luck exists, not because of luck, but because of one’s lack of knowledge of the rules.

For example – let’s say you are playing a game of chess. You are aware of how the pieces move, but that’s the extent of your knowledge. Because you lack experiences that could give you insight, you make decisions based purely on your intuition. Let’s say you end up winning. In the subsequent games, you might end up not winning. Sound familiar?

I like to believe that this is because you begin to exert your new knowledge gained from the first experience to make decisions – the problem with this is that since your experience is so limited, your decisions are based off of a very small sampling of understanding. Therefore you over-reach, and end up making bigger mistakes than you did before you had any knowledge at all.

So what happens next? If you continue to play chess, you will continue to learn from your mistakes and build your knowledge, and at a certain point, you will begin to play as well as you did the first time, but this time it will be because of your understanding, not lack of it. And from here you can continue to get better – far better than even the best “beginner’s luck” could have afforded you.

Scrubdev is kind of like defining that first experience – lack of knowledge of the subject allows for freedom in decision making… as a creator aren’t limited by the rules because you don’t know them yet. The downside is, eventually you will begin to learn the rules, you must follow them until you learn how to properly break them.

There is a right way and wrong way to break the rules, but even breaking the rules the wrong way can only be right if the intention was there to begin with.

So enjoy your ignorance while it lasts – once it’s gone, it may be a little while before you’re that good again.


Check out this graph for a similar concept. Never give up!

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