Archive for November 6th, 2008

When is it OK to throw caution to the winds?

November 6, 2008

Joel Spolsky has an answer (the short version: if you are smart):

I abandoned seven long-held principles about business and software engineering, and nothing terrible happened. Have I been too cautious in the past? Perhaps I was willing to be a little reckless because this was just a side project for me and not my main business. The experience is certainly a useful reminder that it’s OK to throw caution to the wind when you’re building something completely new and have no idea where it’s going to take you.

For his part, Jeff says he didn’t want our new venture to feel “like work” — that if Stack Overflow wasn’t fun to do, he didn’t want to be doing it. If I had tried to make him play by my rules, I don’t think the project would have come together, at least not as well as it has.

The truth is, the three guys who coded Stack Overflow are great programmers. They’re smart, and they get things done. And in the end, that’s what really matters. Entrepreneurship boils down to the simple fact that a team of really smart people who can get things done are going to get smart, useful things done. Need proof? No problem: Check out stackoverflow.com.

A nice piece, worth pursuing to know at least the seven principles that Spolsky violated.

Linus Torvalds on Obama and FSF

November 6, 2008

I learnt that (a) Linus has a blog, and (b) he wrote a post on the reasons for his not liking FSF and endorsing Obama via an email alert from my colleague Murali Cholemari. From the post:

So I’m pretty well-known for not exactly being a huge fan of the FSF and Richard Stallman, despite the fact that I obviously love the GPLv2 and use it as the license for all my projects that I care about.

The reason has always been that I don’t like single-issue people, nor do I think that people who turn the world into black and white are very nice or ultimately very useful. The fact is, there aren’t just two sides to any issue, there’s almost always a range or responses, and “it depends” is almost always the right answer in any big question. And not being even willing to see the other side makes for bad decisions.

Don’t get me wrong – I love seeing people who are really passionate about what they do, and many people have something they really care about. It’s just that when that becomes something exclusionary, it often gets ugly. It’s not passion for something, it becomes passion against something else.

If anybody wants a reason for that, just watch (or listen to) Obama’s “Call to Renewal” keynote speech from 2006. It looks like it’s split into 5 pieces on youtube – the whole thing is about 40 minutes – but it’s worth it, just to hear something rare: mentioning religion in the US without being black-or-white.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tdoQr3BQ1g

It’s not a rick-roll, I promise. It’s also probably not the best link (the thing must exist somewhere as a single video – it’s how I remember seeing it originally), but it’s the one I found now.

There are other reasons, but that’s the one that originally made me hope Obama would take the democratic nomination. And what he has done since hasn’t changed that. He’s obviously smart and thoughtful, and he has a very interesting background that makes me believe that he really can see the other side not just when it comes to religion, but when it comes to international issues too.

An interesting post (and, may be a blog worth following up too!).