What would you advise your younger self?

Find a customer first.

This is the biggest mistake I made in my twenties, and it’s such an easy mistake to make that I continue to make it now even though I know better. I continually have ideas popping into my head. And I act on many of them. So much cool stuff. If only I can get this working, it will change the world. And I love being in this mode; it’s so much fun. And it can lead to great things…

But you have to know when you’re going too far and wasting time, money, and energy. At some point, you have to find a customer. Any kind of customer, just someone besides yourself who wants what you’re doing.

When I have had partners, they forced me into this thinking, directing our energy to where the demand was.

This always worked out well.

When I worked alone, well let’s just say there’s tons of cool stuff still on the drawing board that led nowhere.
Don’t let that happen to you.

I’m not saying to suppress your creativity or experimentation. I’m just saying the point you need to find a customer is much earlier than the hacker mindset intuitively expects.
It there was one thing I could change in my twenties, it would be to adopt this thinking.