The story of the Rubik’s Cube (or “how developers are curious beasts”)

On a recent family trip to Dartmouth, I had the pleasure of taking my children into a toy shop. It was in this toy shop that I bought my son Charlie a Rubik's Cube. 

Now, Charlie is not very old.

I’m not sure he’d really enjoy solving a Rubik’s Cube – yet!

(Though I can confirm that he takes great pleasure in messing it up).

I say I bought it for Charlie but really it was for me.

Could I finally have the time to try and solve the Rubik's Cube whilst on my trip away?

 

Solving the Rubik’s Cube

Of course - I did it the easy way and Googled “how to solve a Rubik's Cube”.

With YouTube by my side, and a beer at my elbow (well, I was on holiday), I settled down to solve the puzzle.

What was the algorithm? Could I get to the bottom of it?

How hard could it really be?

After many hours and numerous YouTube videos I managed to solve the cube from scratch without having to pause and get help from Google.

I can now solve a Rubik's Cube.

Nice.

 

Showing off my new-found talent

On my return to Thames Tower the following week, I thought I would take my Rubik's Cube into work and show the people how good I was.

Surely, they would be impressed that the boss can solve a Rubik’s Cube with ease?

And they’d say, “wow – our boss is so smart”.

So I discreetly sat there in full view trying to solve my cube. 

The phone rang when I had solved two thirds of the cube.

I only had the top row to go.

Pleased with my progress I placed it on my desk and popped out of the room to take my call.

On my return I went to pick up my Rubik's Cube to finish it off, only to find the puzzle had been solved.

 

The mystery of the Rubik’s Cube

There are only two people in the room at the time, so I knew who the possible culprits were. 

I asked, “who solved my cube? I was enjoying that!”.

But no one came forward.

They were acting as though they had no idea.

I started to explain how I could have solved it on my own and didn't need anybody to help.

And then the conversation turned to how fast I can solve it.

 

Developers know how to solve tricky challenges

I explained that I would put money on the fact that somebody in this room could probably solve it faster than me.

I was just pleased to have solved it in the first place. 

Sure enough, it didn't take long before Rob had the Rubik's Cube in his hands.

To my utter amazement, he managed to solve a completely messed up puzzle in 90 seconds.

I couldn't believe it.

The fastest time I had managed to solve it was about 15 minutes!

And this is the point of my story.

 

Developers are curious beasts

They can’t resist a challenge.

Technical. Creative. Business. Personal. Any challenge.

A tricky challenge for a developer is like a box of chocolates for anyone else. Something they simply cannot resist.

I just knew that at least one of the Slate team would be able to solve the cube.

 

Footnote

When Callum came back from Nationwide a little later in the afternoon and saw the cube he said, “great you've got a Rubik's Cube”.

He picked it up.

And he solved it in 2 minutes flat.

The best developers are quite simply curious. Curious about the world, about code, about the best way to address a challenge.

And they solve problems - fast.