What My Cat Brought In Last Night

First of all, please to forgive. I have been lived under a rock for the past two years and also a little bit more, which brings my level of English further southward than the latitude of my current abode, along with the level of technical knowledge I possess. If you came here to read an intellectually stimulating discussion about cutting edge technology, methodology or synergy, I am sure to disappoint.

Secondly, the title of today’s blog is a lie: My cat did not bring anything last night, and I do not have a cat.

Which leads to my third point:

Technology is a lie, just like my cat.

I really should clarify: current generation of business computing technology is a lie, just the same way my title was.

There is no ‘technology’ going on. We have run around in a giant circle past ten years, relying on hardware manufacturers to accommodate for our ever bloating layers of layers of abstractions upon abstractions. We still rely on HTTP, and AJAX is a (very shallowly) glorified <iframe width=0 height=0>. Development of the languages that we use day-in day-out has been making something that looks like C behave more like LISP.

Technology. Give me a fucking break.

Technology is defined as ‘the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry’. What part of what we doing can be described as ‘Technology’? If any among you want to cry out ‘it has adopted a new meaning because languages change’ just fucking shoot me in the eye now.

There is no ‘Computing’ going on, either. Current generation of computing has as much to do with computers as the current driving has to do with horses.

If you take a long drive down the lane all the way to the wops, you might hit one.

We write a few eXtensible Markup Language Documents, that is to be read by some program being run on an interpreter running in a virtual machine running in a virtualised environment. Sometimes I do wonder whether it’s virtual machines all the way down.

But anyhow, the fact that computers don’t do any real computation shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone by now.

Then there is Business; Business is the last thing we are worried about in any given day. How often do you gloss over a bug, a feature, an unimplemented button, saying to yourself or to a colleague or a manager or a client saying ‘that’s a business problem.’?

How effing often, do you really worry, care, think about, talk in terms of, the business, the final product that we are supposed to be delivering? How often do you brush this thought aside for someone who knows better, deep down fully well knowing that there is NO ONE who understands it better?

Business, whether you, a J2EE developer, an ASP.NET developer, SQL junky, Javascript monkey, whatever you might be, like it or not, is what differentiates you from John F Carmack…. and also the fact that he’s good enough to have made it and owns Ferraris which is also his middle name by now, but that’s beside the point.

Let me start the paragraph above all over again.

Business is what differentiates us from other sufferers of the modern computing technologies. Whether we like it or not, as long as we are in this field, and pretend that it’s an application of science and that it’s going somewhere and the world is not made of turtles all the way down, we bloody well should care what we are applying it to.

Every line of code of Java or .NET that you write, wishing that you were writing a new breakthrough algorithm that will  turn the world into a giant bathtub filled with supermodels and peanut butter jelly sandwiches in Ruby, is killing baby Jesus.

If you are going to do the job and get paid for it, start caring. Start firstly from the first word. Start from Business. Then care about computers, then worry about applying science. If you don’t know any science, like I don’t, stick to the first two. Please to cease and desist to pretending, or start to learning, if you will, why not.

Please become an expert in your domain. If you are in insurance business, please understand how a broker works, what an underwriter does, who processes a claim. If you are in health IT, learn about ICD codes, learn how hospitals operate. If you’re in banking or accounting, please know what Basel-II and IFRS are (if you still have a job, that is).

Because then you’ll write better software, and your work will be more focused. You’ll ask fewer stupid questions. You’ll become far more valuable. I’ll curse a little less when I use the software you wrote.

That is all I wanted to say.

And of course, I’m saying all that to myself.

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2 Responses to “What My Cat Brought In Last Night”

  1. Re: What My Cat Brought In Last Night « Tim’s Development Diary Says:

    […] the blogothon rules I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I should have commented on Justin’s post What My Cat Brought In Last Night over the weekend. Lazy me. (And I probably have Justin to thank for the fact that a well-known […]

  2. Re: What My Cat Brought In Last Night » SDK Says:

    […] the blogothon rules I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I should have commented on Justin’s post What My Cat Brought In Last Night over the weekend. Lazy me. (And I probably have Justin to thank for the fact that a well-known […]

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