(This is a snapshot of my old weblog. New posts and selected republished essays can be found at raganwald.com.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2004
  You're Smarter Than You Think

Further to my exhortation to go ahead and write software, I found this on Dan Bricklin's blog:
When it comes to the traditional press writing about blogging, I'm reminded of programmers reacting to developments like the spreadsheet when VisiCalc came out. Sure the "programs" people wrote with it, and the "databases" they kept as lists, were not up to the standards of "real" programmers. But "every-person programming and databasing" has proved a boon to society and has not really threatened the profession of "programmer". It has, though, changed the role of programmer by allowing many of the detailed, area-of-expertise-centric applications to be done quickly, effectively, and inexpensively. Likewise, personal online publishing, such as blogging, is providing a means for communicating feelings, facts, experience, and opinions that we're even seeing the benefit of in this first try on a national stage. Bravo!
In short, lots of stuff that comes out "sucks" compared to the generally accepted standards. Yet, it sometimes changes the world. If you have an MBA, you can explain the whole thing in terms if "disruptive" forces. Or you could simply say that when someone writes software with a specific person in mind instead of a "market segment" or "analyst" or "their boss" in mind, the software is accessible, valuable, and generally delightful.

And that is why you're smarter than you think: you know an awful lot more about what you want to write and why it needs to be written than IBM, Microsoft, Dan Bricklin, Sun, Slashdot, and everyone else put together.

I'll close with some words of advice from George Carlin:
It's not enough to know what notes to play: you have to know why they need to be played.
p.s. Ethan made an amazing suggestion yesterday. When discussing "The Innovator's Solution" with me, he pointed out that the author's focus is defending the entrenched turf, instead of how to be disruptive. His suggestion is that the author's consulting practice is with the lumbering giants that get eaten by the innovative disruptors. Anyways, one very strong possibility is that it's way easier to be disruptive than to defend against disruption. Another reason to be passionate instead of analytical, I say...

p.p.s. Yes, I blatantly snarfed the headline from Nike. It's about time they got back on track and started using their influence to help people build their self-esteem instead of using one group of disadvantaged brown people to manufacture gaudy baubles for another group of disadvantaged brown people to wear on their feet.



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Reg Braithwaite

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