Hello, new software engineers! Welcome to the (slightly) dysfunctional BigCo family.

Some of you are coming from Ruby, some Java. A few of you still think we should rewrite everything in Node.js. The whole company, down to the last one-off script.

Good.

We’ve been doing things our way for a lot of years. We know why each thing is the way it is. Being so responsible beats you down over time, you know?

We know our coworkers, the battle-tested veterans we code next to each day. We know what they’ll say to each of your naive, fun, uppity suggestions, alas. We got tired of arguing.

We remember the thrill — “we should use this for everything!” Not just about Node.js. About every new technology. We love technology, just like you do.

We know all the reasons we shouldn’t do the new exciting stuff at BigCo. We know them by heart. We throw buckets of cold water on the new exciting ideas just like our managers do. We don’t hate new exciting ideas. We just feel like we should be responsible.

We really do care… I really do care about this code I’m writing. I can’t spend all day on it without loving it a bit — how could I?

You’re looking toward a bright future. Unfortunately I’m going to dump cold water on your fun project ideas. So will the people around me.

I hope that you’ll keep just a little of that precious perspective you have today.

Most of your ideas will go down in flames. I’ll shoot some of them down myself.

But just like you’re too naive to know all the reasons why not… We’re too cynical to see the reasons why. Secretly, underneath where I don’t tell anybody, I want you to convince me that it’s the right thing to rewrite everything in Node.js. Everything. Not because I care about Node.js, but because hot damn would that be fun. I want to get up and do things, do the fun things.

Please. Convince me. Just a little.

I know I’m being a stick in the mud. I have to. Still, keep watch. Find, oh, I don’t know, the three or four dumbest things we do here. Remind us that they’re dumb. Show us how valuable your outside perspective is.

Perspective is precious. It really is. The old-timers here have long since lost it. Yours will trickle away, day by day, until you’re like me.

Convince me that those three things are stupid. It won’t be hard because they really are.

And in return, I’ll let you rewrite one or two of them in Node.js.

Deal?


I love tech. A lot of what let me enjoy programming again was Ruby, Rails, and building frameworks. I’m writing a book to share the love. I hope it inspires you like I was inspired.

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