Johnny RodgersI design and build technology in Vancouver. I like thinking about the future and learning from the past.
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I make give.to, a platform that allows you to give money directly to the artists you love. I also make Slack, a paradigm-shifting tool for team communication.
In my work, I strive for usefulness, beauty, and positive impact on the lives of others. I value simplicity (fewer things at a higher quality), goodness (bringing joy to living things), and progress (a little better every day).
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in.
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
Henry David Thoreau
A program, we must remember, is both a programmer’s series of instructions to the computer, and the resulting program’s series of instructions to its users. The instructions to the computer are defined by syntax, while the instructions to the users are defined by user interfaces.
In well-designed software, the instructions to the user tell a clear story of the world the programmer is trying to achieve, though the best ones tend to maintain some ambiguity. They tell a user to communicate publicly in 140 characters, or to edit an encyclopedia entry, but they don’t specify which characters or which entry. The magic happens when a well-told story meets an imaginative set of users.
And so, the art of software becomes the art of coming up with a beautiful story of a world that could exist, and then telling that story in code (half of the story anyway) to the right set of users.
To such people there is tremendous power, for programs are more direct than poetry. They act on the world. They give a framework not just for human thought, but for human behavior. The stories that these programmers tell, if they tell them well, are likely to become realities.
The axe forgets. The tree remembers.