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YouTuber Tom Scott created a very inspiring video that hit me to my core.

He speaks about the early days of Web 2.0 and how APIs were open and free. He also goes on about how these once open and free to use APIs were subsequently limited or removed altogether.

This 10:38 minute video summed up my feelings about the internet, APIs, and how the web today is slowly losing its whimsey. I thought I was going to leave this video upset, angry, and in my natural state of defeatism. Thankfully, Tom didn’t stop with the downfall.

He left with hope, all because of what the backdrop of his video was: The White Cliffs of Dover.

And that’s why I chose to film this here. The White Cliffs of Dover are a symbol of Britain, they are this imposing barrier, but they’re just chalk. Time and tide will wash them away, a long time in the future. This, too, shall pass.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t build things anyway. Just because something is going to break in the end, doesn’t mean that it can’t have an effect that lasts into the future. Joy. Wonder. Laughter. Hope. The world can be better because of what you built in the past.

And while I do think that the long-term goal of humanity should be to find a way to defeat entropy, I’m pretty sure no-one knows where to start on that problem just yet.

So until then: try and make sure the things you’re working on push us in the right direction. They don’t have to be big projects, they might just have an audience of one. And even if they don’t last: try to make sure they leave something positive behind. And yes, at some point, the code that’s updating the title of this video will break. Maybe I’ll fix it. Maybe I won’t. But that code was never the important part.

Jeff Perry @JeffPerry