# Applied Category Theory Check-in: Meeting #3

## Learning From Failure

Last week, my official second check-in for my Spring 2020 Independent Study of Applied Category Theory, was nearly a complete bust. While I read through and took detailed notes on the first ten chapters of Category Theory for Programmers, I hadn’t really digested any of the material. As I prepared for the meeting with my adviser, my lack of understanding became glaringly obvious. One of the topics I sought to cover was the product of categories. In a recursive manner, I groped for some understanding… “ok, a product is a universal construction”… “a universal construction is a construction”… “quite honestly, I am not even 100% sure what a construction is.”

Doomed for failure, I walked into the meeting hoping some divine intervention may fill in the serious knowledge gap in the material I was about to attempt to convey to my adviser. I more-or-less fell flat on my face.

So, this week I decided to take a slightly different approach, an approach that is actually well supported by An Invitation to Applied Category Theory. This week I focused on working through examples of all the concepts (the approach Brendan Fong and David I. Spivak take - thank you both, you’re life savers!!!). The second change-up is to prepare a slide without visuals, but symbols that say “insert drawing here.” I believe this will help by forcing me to lecture more in the style of coding interviews than class presentations… with examples and judicious whiteboard usage. I developed this skill over the course of my interview prep over the Fall, it’s time to put it to good use!

## Link for the Curious

For anyone who wants to checkout my presentation, here is a link.