summing up 51

i am trying to build a jigsaw puzzle which has no lid and is missing half of the pieces. i am unable to show you what it will be, but i can show you some of the pieces and why they matter to me. if you are building a different puzzle, it is possible that these pieces won't mean much to you, maybe they won't fit or they won't fit yet. then again, these might just be the pieces you're looking for. this is summing up, please find previous editions here.

  • programming sucks, the truth is everything is breaking all the time, everywhere, for everyone. right now someone who works for facebook is getting tens of thousands of error messages and frantically trying to find the problem before the whole charade collapses. there's a team at a google office that hasn't slept in three days. somewhere there's a database programmer surrounded by empty mountain dew bottles whose husband thinks she's dead. and if these people stop, the world burns. highly recommended
  • the hundred-year language, inefficient software isn't gross. what's gross is a language that makes programmers do needless work. wasting programmer time is the true inefficiency, not wasting machine time. this will become ever more clear as computers get faster
  • how to be a great software developer, it is all too easy for smart lazy people to flash spikes of brilliance and wow their contemporaries but companies are not built on those people and product does not sit well on spikes. companies are built on people and teams who day in, day out, commit good code that enables others do the same. great product is built by work horses, not dressage horses
  • tdd is dead. long live testing, maybe it was necessary to use test-first as the counterintuitive ram for breaking down the industry's sorry lack of automated, regression testing. maybe it was a parable that just wasn't intended to be a literal description of the day-to-day workings of software writing. but whatever it started out as, it was soon since corrupted. used as a hammer to beat down the nonbelievers, declare them unprofessional and unfit for writing software. a litmus test
  • "while learning something new, many students will think, 'damn, this is hard for me. i wonder if i am stupid.' because stupidity is such an unthinkably terrible thing in our culture, the students will then spend hours constructing arguments that explain why they are intelligent yet are having difficulties. the moment you start down this path, you have lost your focus. i used to have a boss named rock. rock had earned a degree in astrophysics from cal tech and had never had a job in which he used his knowledge of the heavens. once i asked him whether he regretted getting the degree. 'actually, my degree in astrophysics has proved to be very valuable,' he said. 'some things in this world are just hard. when i am struggling with something, i sometimes think: damn, this is hard for me. i wonder if i am stupid. and then i remember that i have a degree in astrophysics from cal tech; i must not be stupid.'", aaron hillegass
  • emerging adults need time to grow up, it's in the interest of all of us to help young people make a successful transition to adulthood, because when they do, everybody benefits. emerging adults want to contribute to their societies, not be passive dependents. nearly all of them are striving hard to make their way in the world, and they aspire to find a form of work that does some good in the world. but their societies are not doing a very good job in reforming educational and employment systems for the modern world, in order to make it possible for young people to make the most of their talents, abilities and energies. the lack of access to high-quality educational opportunities is a scandal in a country such as the united states, which is the wealthiest the world has ever seen. it represents a colossal waste of human potential
  • rate-of-learning: the most valuable startup compensation, a high rate-of-learning is the most bankable asset you can have in the startup world because it's the vehicle by which longterm value is created, both within yourself and for your startup
  • the power of the marginal, i disagree here with yoda, who said there is no try. there is try. it implies there's no punishment if you fail. you're driven by curiosity instead of duty. that means the wind of procrastination will be in your favor: instead of avoiding this work, this will be what you do as a way of avoiding other work. and when you do it, you'll be in a better mood. the more the work depends on imagination, the more that matters, because most people have more ideas when they're happy