How to kill the Imposter

A while back, Jay Smooth, one of my favourite anti-racist vloggers, posted this video on youtube. He called it ‘Beating the Inner Hater’ and it’s one of those I always come back to every now and then:

Like most people with social anxieties, I have a pretty bad case of Imposter Syndrome. One of my personal goals has always been to try to handle her appropriately – as I’m sure is pretty familiar to anyone in a similar boat reading this, there’s always this fear of killing her off in case you become one of those arrogant entitled jack asses you hate. On the other hand, you’ve come to realise that, well, she’s a bitch and needs to be ended.

To be frank.

My exciting journey to defeat my inner hater is what partially led me to giving a talk at Brum.js on Thursday. Brum.js is a great meetup for people who like or want to learn more about javascript. It’s led by the ludicrously talented Jack Wearden who I sort of informally knew from my days at MadLab and met there by sheer bizarre coincidence. I haven’t been there for many of them, though my attendance will improve now its summer and the venue will have moved from the creepy spot by the canal (sorry).

I’ve been working on an interactive history app using the meteor.js framework. It’s not yet on Git as there’s a few more features to add before I’m happy with poc and getting more users on board to test it out, but I thought it would be a useful milestone to present something and get some feedback.

Of course I was nervous – there’s a lot I don’t really understand still about web technologies, and I knew a lot of the attendees really know their stuff when it comes to javascript. Whilst all that turned out to be true, it also turned out that everyone there was really great, helping me answer tricky questions and giving me new ideas, including additional open source mapping frameworks like Leaflet (which I will try, I promise!).

Aguguala as the app is called, uses the meteor.js framework to provide the full stack. However, as the raison d’etre is about plotting history and data visualisations to maps, most of my time has been spent getting the Google Maps JavaScript API v3 to play nice with the meteor.js set up something which has turned out both incredibly difficult and surprisingly simple at times.

I had a great time, not least because I got to meet up with familiar faces and have interesting discussions about the world of african history, start ups, code and sociological impact of technology and access to it. As you do.

Nick Banford – another really chill dude – then gave a talk about his experiences using React to develop apps which I found really cool. It’s funny because I was inspired to use meteor.js by the first Brum.js meetup I ever attended and it struck me that every time I go, my mind is blown open by seeing just how far javascript has come. It’s why I love the world of mobile web technologies. Stuff that used be only good for making things dissolve in and out of the screen is now capable of enabling offline storage and reaching into hardware systems.

So I guess if there’s one good thing about the inner hater, it’s that she keeps me actively learning. Maybe I’m not going to end her after all if we can come to a warped ladies agreement in the end. We shall see. In the meantime, well, I’ll keep doing me.

Related Links:


Thinking in React


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