On Not Being An Asshole

Software development is fundamentally a geeky endeavor. We are perched on the shoulders of giants—video game developers who left an indelible legacy (consider the monumental impact of id Software on the tech landscape) and enterprise developers who started their days with xkcd comics, embodying a culture of innovation driven by sheer coolness and enjoyment. Our predecessors not only competitively played Doom in the office but also crafted some of the most critical software upon which today's society relies.

In today's landscape, dominated by venture capital and led by some of the most influential tech demagogues, it's tempting to view software development as a sterile, purely cerebral endeavor. Yet, the reality is far from this perception. Software development is, at its core, fueled by a blend of creative passion, profound curiosity, and the genuine pleasure found in achieving mastery.

When the urge to take matters too seriously strikes, when you want to put someone in their place or condescend, pause for a moment to ponder, "Why am I pursuing this?" Is your role as a software developer a means to assert dominance over others or to showcase your intellectual prowess? Reconnect with the initial spark that drew you to technology. Consider whether your interactions reflect the mindset of someone who revels in the joy and creativity of their field—a field rooted in the pioneering spirit of video game development—or someone who overlooks the rich legacy they inherit.

Let's embrace the essence of our work with a spirit of joy and creativity. Remember, at the heart of software development lies a rich heritage of innovation, playful exploration, and genuine passion—a legacy in part passed down from the pioneers of video game development (admittedly it's more complicated than that, but I do think the case can be made that serious software development outside of early Bell Labs-esque research was pioneered by video games). As we navigate the complexities of our field, let us not lose sight of the original spark that ignited our interest in technology. Let our interactions and creations reflect the joy we find in our craft, celebrating the blend of intellectual challenge and creative expression that makes software development truly rewarding. Together, let's commit to nurturing a positive, inclusive environment where the joy of discovery and the thrill of creation drive us forward, honoring the legacy of those who laid the foundations of this vibrant field.