Johnny RodgersI design and build technology in Vancouver. I spend most of my time working on 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 like thinking about the future and learning from the past.
A man on fire
At home on the internet
Building a house in the woods
Recommended books and essays
The best music
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.
Lines of communication
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.
In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.
Max out your triangle – Jack Cheng
Charlatan, Martyr, Hustler – Joey Roth
The layers of time – The Long Now Foundation