Sunday, May 10, 2009

Popularity and Success are not the same thing

After my last post, I went back and read through Giles blog post again. I missed his main point, and I dismissed what he had to say far too quickly. This video of DHH and Tim ferri, drove the point home for me and is well worth watching. This talk didn't prove as half as successful at Rails Conf, as Bob Martins.

Whilst I still think that Giles point is tangential to what Uncle Bob had to say, I think it is a profound one. That is, that any proclamation that requires free thought is likely to be unpopular. This lack of popularity doesn't equate to failure however, it just means that such ideas are more likely to benefit the few, rather then the many.

Uncles Bob's use of Smalltalk as the epitome of failure, rather cleverly raises the spector of fear, and as we all know fear is the great motivator of the masses. So if as a Ruby programmer, you want to be in a job for the foreseeable future, then make sure and do TDD. It's kind of like a Mom using threats to make sure that the kids eat their greens.

Whilst DHH and Tim and Paul Graham, are fundamentally right, they don't address the psychic of the average mainstream programmer, which is mostly dominated by the fear of not finding a job. So in a way this brings me back to were I started. Sometimes being right isn't enough. Sometimes you need to be effective too, and whilst fear is the worst of motivators, Uncle Bob is addressing the world as it appears to the vast populous, which is an effective tactic.

The world that is Giles reality is a rarefied place and the few people and languages that live there are likely to remain obscure for some time to come yet. The last interesting point is that it appears that DHH has out grown the community he created. This is hardly surprising. Like I say followers don't think for themselves, they rely on others, and as Rails becomes ever more popular, the community will become dominated by followers, just like what happened with Java.

For someone like David, this influx of non-thinkers must be nauseating.


1 comment:

William Pietri said...

You open this post by saying: "I missed his main point, and I dismissed what he had to say far too quickly."

That may have been painful to write, but having just clicked through to your blog from a comment somewhere else, it's fabulous to read. I normally don't care about responses to responses to responses; it's too "inside baseball" for me. But I can't imagine a sentence more likely to indicate somebody reasonable enough to be worth paying attention to.