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Friday, March 23, 2007

Stop whining and build!

Years ago I often read and posted at the Joel on Software forum. In mid-2003 someone started a thread to complain that the best days of software development were in the 1980s and to ask the forum's opinion about his chances in writing some successful software on his own. Of course, out of the woodwork came a solid crop of Eeyores, right on schedule. What is it about complaints and pessimism that attract such a following? Remarkably, Eric Sink - whom I admire - joined right in with them. But I guess if you are fixated on desktop software, today is boring and barren. Just like mainframe programming wasn't any fun any more in the 1980s...

Anyway, I had to object. So I posted:

No. TODAY is the best of times, and software is the best of businesses. You forget that back then there was no way to get your product to customers except through the computer stores at the local mall. The internet is the most open sales channel imaginable, linking producer of IP to customer directly. Those old timers had it hard.

No matter how endless the possibilities and bountiful the opportunities, there will always be those whose covetous eyes are drawn to the crowded streets of exploited opportunities instead of the open blue yonder of infinite possibilities. If this is you, please, start exercising the creative parts of your brain, build some castles in the sky, and stop underestimating your own potential to build something new.

I ran across that today. Metaphor! Poetry! I must have been pretty outraged. That silly pessimism merely irritates me these days. I'm no longer inpired to purple prose. ("Covetous eyes"? Sounds like an Eddie Money song.) But I'm standing by it.