Joel on Software - Fire And Motion

I read Joel’s essay Fire And Motion the day it came out about three weeks ago. I’ve re-read it almost every day since. It’s the most concise, accurate, articulate recitation of the essential “hurry up and wait” quandry of the programming mindset that I’ve ever read. And it’s resonated particularly well with me of late, as I reflect on my current job, which is really the first position I’ve ever held where I’m a “programmer”.

As you read the section on Microsoft’s ever-evolving data-access API strategy, you might want to consider for a moment the parallels within the world of micro-CMS, or weblog authoring, software. Notice that almost every weblog application, regardless of platform or architecture, is hastening to add an API that’s called the BloggerAPI, without even mentioning the fact that their new feature actually name-checks an ostensible competitor.

That, combined with the fact that the other software development teams and users are sitting on their hands waiting for Ev to implement things like a subject field, instead of extending (and, perhaps, in the process “incidentally” renaming…) the API on their own speaks volumes for the value of mindshare. Techies, remember: any individual technology is almost always entirely fungible. Being in the catbird seat is not.

Not entirely incidentally, if you pick up this week’s print edition of The Village Voice, it’s the first one where I’m on the masthead. All the way at the bottom.