Update: OK, someone found out that I was two days off. Oh well. Still a long time! 🙂
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In our efforts to be cutting edge, we (front end developers) have made one of the biggest revolutions in human history, the mobile revolution, based on the concept of information being free, open, and democratic into something else: undemocratic, siloed, and tribal.
And we have ourselves to blame.
So. What are we going to do about it?
When did it become acceptable to deny content, based on certain criteria, because it was inconvenient?
There is this “thing” that has been nagging me for almost a year.
Basically, it’s a conversion that I had with a CEO of a company. Anyways, during the course of the conversation, he brings out this remark:
“Your job is to code, just like the designer’s job is to design.”
That comment bothered me. It wasn’t a comment bore of malice or ignorance. It had some truth to it. But it missed an important point. It was the equivalent of saying “My job is to write HTML.”
Now, there’s nothing bad; that is part of my job. But only a part.
No, my annoyance is this:
If my job was just coding, then I’m not doing a good enough job.
OK. Let me explain.
Coding is (relatively) easy. Businesses can pick and choose what company or freelancers to do the work. For a cheap price, the work can be farmed out to anyone of the many off-shore companies at will.
Altogether, that the big talent pool of coding talent.
You, (client/CEO) have to go through this massive pool to find the right person. But that is not what you are looking for. The truth is that you are not looking for someone to code.
You need someone to solve your problem.
As for coding? It’s a means to an end. Employers don’t hire people who code; they hire people who can solve their problems. (And also it’s the same thing that will keep them around…)
Now, I wish he was around when I said this. I have no doubt that both of us would be agreement.
There was another thing that he said, in jest, but in hindsight just as important. Basically, people like myself like the “shiny, new projects”. And yes, I admit, they are the nice ones to work on.
But. There is a group of problems, the “old – fixed it just for now” problems that really need attention. The ones that are begging for someone to just look at and say “you know, if you give me some time, I think I could make this better.”
There are lots of those problems that need serious attention, not the million dollar, new app of the month ones.
Then, there is The Content Problem.
Finding a way to frame and hang this quote somewhere in my office space…
Stop drooling over your tools. Start thinking about what you’re building with them and how that’s affecting the world you’re helping create.
— Aral Balkan (@aral) May 10, 2014
The longest year is finally over.