Archive for the ‘on software’ Tag

On Value   Leave a comment

I began following Joel Spolsky’s blog a while back. I like the way he thinks. I like the “just be the best, dammit” attitude (my words) that comes across in his blog. It’s a sentiment that resonates with me, a self-admitted perfectionist.

Joel’s company, Fog Creek Software, recently moved into new digs and he wrote about them.

I’m drooling. Read the specs:

  • Desks designed for programming include a motorized height-adjustable work surface so you can stand up for part of the day if you want.
  • A floor to ceiling marble… shower. Yes, shower. Why? So you can bike to work or work out during the day.
  • There’s an espresso machine, a big fridge full of beverages, a bottomless supply of snacks, and delicious catered lunch brought in every day.
  • A library with two reclining leather chairs, perfect for an after-lunch nap. (Though it seems like they might need more than two napping chairs.)

However, it’s not the amenities—as sweet as they are—that have got my mouth juices flowing. It is the thinking behind them. It is the enlightened thoroughly sensible thinking that lead to the luscious layout. Joel explains:

Building great office space for software developers serves two purposes: increased productivity, and increased recruiting pull. Private offices with doors that close prevent programmers from interruptions allowing them to concentrate on code without being forced to stop and listen to every interesting conversation in the room.

Regarding recruitment, Joel wrote elsewhere:

All else being equal, developers are going to prefer an organization that treats them like stars. If your CEO is a grouchy ex-sales person who doesn’t understand why these prima donna developers keep demanding things like wrist pads and big monitors and comfortable chairs, who do they think they are?, your company probably needs an attitude adjustment.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not an egoist. I don’t need to be treated like a star. But, if we’re honest, do we not all want to feel like others rate our efforts highly? In other words, do we not all want to be valued? A company that makes software should show that it values the minds (and people) that create that software.

I have seen so much “penny wise, pound foolish” thinking and behavior in my career, that Joel’s attitude is as refreshing as a sweet spring breeze. I would have said that non-technical managers should take note, but I just don’t think they would be able to get it.

Now, if only I felt that I had the chops to put in my resume…

Posted Monday, December 29, 2008 by Grant in Myself

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