I am a person who is all about the philosophy of it all. If you are going to do something or anything do it right and do it to the best of your abilities.
I mean really what’s the point of anything if you aren’t going to put all of you into it. Like honestly, If you aren’t all about it, don’t do it. Don’t be fooled this is not something that you can fake it is something that is extremely voluntary and extremely self motivated.
People are driven by these philosophies, it’s what makes them do what they do. It’s what drives people to do what they do on a day-to-day basis. If you can understand someone’s philosophy I believe you can really understand who they are, and what motivates them in any given situation.
People are complex. If I wasn’t I programmer I would definitely be interested in human behaviour. This interests me to no end. I am constantly revising my thoughts on why people do certain thing if that maps to what I have pinned to be their philosophy. Many times I may be right, but all it takes a few things to have me reconsider was I right about them?
Often times this can be contributed to philosophies that are combating each other on a fundamental level. Now this is where I think the magic or the horror occurs.
Now I am going to take a simpler example on; and discuss the philosophies of products and tools. Which are much easier to qualify and analyze. Now when you think of great products, Who do you think of? Apple.
I hate to use them as an example but its true.
Who is credited to be the driving force behind Apple and its products? Almost single handedly to Steve Jobs. Now Steve Jobs may have been an amazing man in many respects but was lacking in some, tact being one of them. He believed in being direct and concise. All things driven by his internal philosophy.
Products at Apple have this conceptual integrity to them that they were designed from the ground up to resonate one philosophy and the execution of one idea, uncompromised and focused. This is why I believe he was right when he said
“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
— BusinessWeek, May 25 1998
Even now when I look at the word focus groups; its hard not to see an oxymoron. You can’t have a meeting of the minds when a product is designed by a committee. Just look at the conjecture that gets passed into law.
Everything about the design of a product needs to drive home a point (a philosophy). Thats why it resonates so well with people and why people end up being so passionate about these products. Its not about the shininess of it; albiet it is pretty shiny. Its the philosophy people love and connect with.
Now Steve Jobs may have been fortunate to be at the helm of a very strong company, where he could steer mostly uncontested. There are day to day examples of products that have this conceptual integrity and allow their creators the same level totalitarian control over all the decisions.
Open source communities provides this platform where authors are able to accept and reject any idea (read code) to keep the philosophy of the project and tool intact.
Here are some that have resounding philosophies.
- Django — perfectionists with deadlines
- Vagrant — virtualized development for the masses
- Flask — web development, one drop at a time
- git — better version control (more)
- Requests — HTTP for Humans
- many more
In everything you do there needs to be philosophy of what you are trying to do. There needs to be some sort of driving force behind all these decisions you make from day to day that they all tie into. We are lucky enough to be given difficult problems and being offered the opportunity to find novel solutions. Don’t take that as burden but rather chance to uncover a new philosophy (a truth) of it all and protect it.