Lessons from Avatar

Ideas, ideas, ideas. My mind is filled with them, and they keep swimming around. I want to go after each one, catch it, and give it a chance. I want to build them and see where they go and what they turn into.

But not right now.


I just finished watching Netflix’s live action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender (my favorite show). I think that the new adaptation has a lot of potential to be great in future seasons, but what surprised me most was that watching it inspired me.

It made me think about my writing when I was a kid. When you’re in grade school, you often have assignments to write about anything for a certain amount of time. I used to write about crazy, fantastical, mystical worlds, such as unicorns and ninjas. I would let my imagination loose and write about anything that came to mind. There weren’t any limits to the stories that I could tell.

And then I grew older and started coding.


Coding is a great way to also tell stories. I started coding by ading new features to existing games, sometimes creating entire worlds and new experiences for people to enjoy together in a multiplayer fashion. I like coding because I can take anything that’s in my mind and make it real.

It’s similar to writing a book in many ways. I set the rules and I let people into my world. They’re able to see just a glimpse of the things that go on inside my mind.

But one key difference is that the things I build through code usually let people join me in my world and help to shape it. They’re able to be a part of the story. They’re able to decide where the story goes. They’re able to talk to me directly to influence new features I might add, which contributes to everyone’s story.

I think that’s a big reason why I like coding so much, and why I liked working on game servers in the past. For reference, game servers that I build usually go something like this:

  1. A game studio creates a game
  2. A group of fans create a multiplayer platform for it (so people can play together in the same world)
  3. Developers like myself create new experiences on top of the fan-made platform so players can experience the game in entirely new ways

I really like this approach because it means I don’t have to create an entirely new game from scratch, because that can take years and years and a lot of people. Instead, I build on top of the great work people have already done creating a game and a world, and I use it to tell new stories in it. Often times, I’ve created “survival servers,” which means players start with nothing when they join and they have to slowly build up their resources over time, create and fortify their bases, and interact with other players to survive.


Avatar has inspired me to start writing books. I want to create epic fantasy worlds like Brandon Sanderson’s books, or magical worlds like Harry Potter. I want to focus on the story, character building, and world building, but also add some magic to it, such as elemental bending of some kind, similar to Avatar.

I want to let my imagination run wild and see where it takes me.

I want to eventually turn my books into movies or TV shows. In cases where the creators of the original work were involved (Harry Potter and others), the adaptations turned out to be amazing. I want to take people on a journey inside their minds.

But I have to wait.

To go after all my ideas, to really do all these things, I need time and resources. I need freedom to do these things.

I’m building a startup right now called Simmer. Simmer is the only thing I should be focusing on right now. I will make Simmer the best it can possibly be and see where it takes me. Building a successful startup like Simmer is the key to unlocking even more ideas in the future.

One step at a time. Working backwards.