Sometimes the solution is easier than you think

I’m lazy. But in a good way. The way that makes you simplify, automate, and get rid of unncessary work.

Here’s a quick example. Our insights team had a task at hand that could not be done manually. Writing a script to do it took half an hour. They were happy. Once in a while they would send me a file to be processed, I run a simple command, and the script spits out the file with results, which I send back.

But that’s too much work. How do I remove myself out of the picture and let them handle it all? I figured let’s use Dropbox. Users drop their files into a shared folder, the script checks every so often if anything new was placed there, then processes the files and saves results.

Somehow in the beginning I got too entangled in details, thinking about a server where I’d put the script (probably Heroku), then having to add Dropbox API integration, then making sure all the dependencies are installed… Then it occured to me: my work machine already sees the Dropbox directories as local folders. Why not just run the cron job on my work machine and be done with it?

So with a little script tweaking, instruction writing and cron job testing, this is done, and I’ve just removed a task from my list (however simple it might be).


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