Innovation and Market Success

June 11, 2012

I was throwing out some old paper when I saw these pages from the March 2001 edition of eCompany magazine. The first image below is an ad for the Handspring Visor and it is offering you the ability to have your digital handheld work as a camera, phone or MP3 player. The other one is […]

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Validation Through Rejection

June 3, 2012

This is the wrong way to go about product focus: I’d rather use a service that has a strong, single-minded vision, even if some of the decisions aren’t exactly how I’d want them, than a washed-out, milquetoast service created by committee, designed to meet market demand, that tries to make everybody happy. Another way to put […]

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The Rusting of Software

May 23, 2012

One project I have been working on recently is a code upgrade of an existing enterprise web application. It is not a re-engineering effort, but instead only consists of necessary code changes to get the application working with the latest versions of the system software. The application had been in use for several years, and […]

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Who Should Learn to Code?

May 21, 2012

Codecademy has been gathering a lot of attention in recent times with many people, including Mike Bloomberg, pledging to learn code. The high-profile pledges shouldn’t be taken too seriously: they are just friendly endorsements for the well-funded startup that Codecademy is. And some of the others are perhaps well-intended, but the equivalent of New Year Resolutions, […]

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The De Facto Rules

March 4, 2012

Bryan Caplan writes: If I’d failed Spanish, I couldn’t have gone to a good college, wouldn’t have gotten into Princeton’s Ph.D. program, and probably wouldn’t be a professor. But since I’ve merely forgotten my Spanish, I’m sitting in my professorial office, loving life. Most people can relate to this. During school and college, we have […]

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About Sales Commissions

January 9, 2012

Dan Ostlund at Fog Creek Software talks about how they have got rid of commissions for sales people: We did it because we were having a lot of the problems with commissions described above even though all of our salespeople are ethical and decent. Commissions just encourage certain kinds of behavior; dysfunction is built into […]

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How Many Hours Can a Programmer Program?

January 5, 2012

I am a little late to this party where Michael Arrington says that startups mean working hard and sleeping under your desk. But I will add a few words. I read a lot of commentary about how such death marches can be counter-productive and ultimately unsuccessful, and also the real dangers they pose to the […]

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Helvetica The Movie

November 23, 2011

So as I had planned, I watched the documentary “Helvetica” on Netflix. It is a well-made film consisting primarily of interviews with type designers interspersed with a zillion visuals of Helvetica font used all over the place. Not being from a graphics background, I was astounded to see how ubiquitous the Helvetica typeface is. Most corporations use […]

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The Resistance Against Requirements Specifications

November 21, 2011

Martin Fowler re-posted this article from 2004: Tests are always going to be incomplete, so they always have to be backed up with other mechanisms. Being the twisted mind that I am, I actually see this as a plus. Since it’s clear that Specification By Example isn’t enough, it’s clear that you need to do […]

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Pardon the Programming Interruption

November 21, 2011

Nope, this has nothing to do with software development. But for regular readers, a few things to note: If you have subscribed to the RSS feed, please validate if you have subscribed to There is a digit “2” at the end of the “feeds” sub-domain. Apparently, the “new” FeedBurner wants it that way. If you […]

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