Announcing the Timeboxed Challenge

I came across this Month to Master series by Max Deutsch during my recent Lunar New Year holidays. And I found it intriguing. You can dig deeper, but the high level idea is that Max will pick a challenge to master a skill within a month. He’ll also blog about his progress on a daily basis.
He has already completed 1 full year of 12 challenges in 12 months. Some of these are insanely tough. Like this one on How to build a self-driving car in one month. In any case, the idea of a timeboxed challenge seems to fit right in with my systems-obsessed brain.

One Stone, Many Birds

I haven’t really thought this through. It may turn out to be a bad idea. Currently, I am busy with many projects at the same time. I run a full-time software business in workflow and decision automation. I’m aiming to write a blogpost every week as part of my Year of Consistency theme. And there’s a weekly newsletter I’m writing as well. Not to forget, my addiction to reading and learning new stuff. Which includes topics such as design and Javascript that I intend to help me in my software business.
Given that I have not blogged two weeks, I want to restart my blogging momentum. And I’m doing that by (wilfully) adding more to my already packed load.
I like to take all my problems and lump them together. šŸ˜€

The First Challenge

So this post will signal the start of a series of timeboxed challenge. The first challenge is to produce a Graphical Linear Algebra for Humans post.
Some background information. I came across this field called Applied Category Theory a year ago. I tried reading free resources about it to understand more. But I have made no progress whatsoever. It piqued my interest because it reminded me of the Lego toys I played in my childhood. And in a sense, I’ve been trying to replicate the joy I had with Lego in my work building systems for enterprises.

Applied Category Theory

Recently, and by that I mean today, I came across Applied Category Theory (henceforth ACT) again. I joined a telegram chat group started by StateBox. Statebox appears to be a group (company?) dedicated to building composable programming language. In other words, they want to build a programming language for developers to use it like Lego bricks.
One thing led to the next. And I came across something that looked a lot simpler than the free ACT resources I discovered a year ago. A website trying to explain Graphical Linear Algebra in 30 “episodes”.

Feynman Test of Understanding

Hence, my challenge is to create a summary of those 30 episodes. A summary so simple that a freshman can understand it. Basically, it’s a test of true understanding. The idea was popularized by Richard Feynman, a Nobel prize-winning scientist. He firmly believes that if you cannot explain in simple terms, you don’t really undertstand it. I call this the Feynman test.
I pick the level of freshman because that’s the level Feynman sets for himself.

The Logistics

Today is already the 10th of February. I’m giving myself only till end of February anyway to complete the challenge. Another logistical detail to add is that I will write a post every day on my progress anyway. This will force me to make sure I post something worthwhile every day. Thus, ensuring that I will, at the least, achieve my weekly post habit I have now started to struggle with.

Let the Challenge Begin!


In summary,

  1. I’m setting a Timeboxed Challenge every month starting February 2019.
  2. Beginning with producing a freshman-level summary of Graphical Linear Algebra post for February
  3. While posting every day about my progress

This is post #6 in my quest for publishing weekly.

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