Saturday, January 22, 2011

How to be a hacker?

I get asked "can you teach me to become a hacker?", and I'll be honest, I have no idea. Asking me puts me in an uncomfortable state of cruelty where I say "just got to work hard at it and not be a n00b". This got me thinking about how did I become a hacker?

First, what is a hacker? Well, I'm going to be general and extend the concepts of a hacker beyond computers. I think hacking is the ability to see the system in place and the willingness to exploit the system to make it your bitch. There are many systems in the world, but computers are easier to hack because the time to fail is so quick. Hackers are not confined by the boundaries of computing. I've met people that hack people over the phone (really good salesmen). I've met people that hack the human body (doctors and medical enthusiasts). I've met people that hack the fear of death (preachers).

I've thought about writing a book called "Born to Hack" inspired by "Born to Run" as I believe the two are related. We are here today with all the flashing lights and buttons because we hacked reality and made it our bitch.

We are the people who hack, yet some of us don't. So, I'm going to give three simple steps that someone who doesn't view themselves as a hacker to try.

Pick a medium

I chose computers because they are shiny, and I have no sense of patience. I can't wait a week for cultures to come back, so I would have failed at medicine. The key here is to pick a medium that you can readily manipulate and measure effects.

Work really hard at making the medium your bitch

Here is where you just work at it. If the massive neural network in your head is good enough, then you will make it work. You will understand the system, the rules governing the system, ways to manipulate the system, how to break it, and how to fix it.

Do something new

This is where you must see something as a goal and work towards it. Everyone I've met is a genius in hindsight, and the trick is to realize that everything can be made better since nothing is perfect.

The entire process takes either 10,000 hours/ten years give or take 5,000 hours/five years. The key to being great is waking up everyday and working towards your goal. I code every day. What do you do everyday?

After all, you are what you do.

1 comment:

  1. Being a hacker is another way of saying be a "top class", the point is that people don't realise it. How to be one? As you say, work your ass and you will get to be one of the best.


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