A Brave New World for Programmers

For the first time in history a single programmer can change the physical world.

When asked when he would be done with the sistine chapel, Michelangelo replied “When I’m finished!”

The fantastic truth is that code has become a Sanskrit like language.

Building software once required expensive computers that filled a room. You needed money, managers, a team of coders, cubicles and marketing experts.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the road blocks to creativity. The non-productive nonsense, the politics, the reselling and explaining. How did I get here? So I jumped on a plane for the healing island of Kauai. A place where I could think.

Jogging the beach on Hanalei Bay, I cleared my head. As I watched a surfer ride a wave, I knew it was his wave. The fantastic truth is that code has become a Sanskrit like language. Advanced programmers are like painters and writers. They have the individual power to create. That is a dangerous change for the software industry.

A skilled programmer has his own computers, open source libraries, the internet and fantastic tools — and he knows how to use them. A programmer has all the stuff he or she needs to build a great App. Just like a lone writer is able to write a sensational novel, a lone programmer is able to write a sensational App. Both are an island unto themselves.

I wrote a sci-fi years back. A far out story at the time that was fun to write. Could be true. It’s about Earth being a simulated reality. Having been both a writer and a coder, the inspiration I had on the beach was already in my head. I just had to make the connection.

This comparison is not obvious to the “software industry”, or at least not acknowledged. We have an industry that wants to control everything, even patents. They gave us the Americans Inventions Act, better named the American No More Inventions Act.

An App, like a book, might have a huge audience. Both might go viral. Neither requires a big organization to create. A well written App does not require a tech support team. Onboard AI assistants are better. The most important person for the project is the author.

Everything I am writing here is blasphemy. So what? Dream up an idea for an App that has universal appeal and is unique. Make it interesting. Make it something that fascinates you. Make it something fun to work on.

Then just write it!

This is not traditional advice. How can an individual programmer compete with big money and big teams? Programmers needs to be managed, right? The truth is, a skilled programmer has the edge. Don’t waste time raising money, don’t hire a team. Just write it, like the author of a book.

Trust yourself when all men doubt you. Make one heap of all your winnings and risk it all on yourself. Don’t waste one second of your precious time selling and reselling others. It is about you and the wave. Only your surf buddies will understand.

If you are a good programmer and you have read this far, your chances of success just went up. No amount of money, no big team of programmers and no interfering managers can keep up. Nobody can build it faster or better than you!

Do you think Michelangelo or Aldous Huxley used a PERT chart? Others, like me, will waste time fighting and explaining their ideas to people who will never understand them. And there is a good chance they will have their project aborted by quirky investors just when they are close to completion.

But not you. You will be done when you are finished. And it will be a masterpiece. Go change the world. Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.

for my Grandchildren