What even is code?

Every hard-fought factoid about the absolute best and most principled way to use the language will be fetid zoo garbage by the end of the year.

—Paul Ford, What Is Code?

Finally completed the magnum opus that is Paul Ford’s 38,000-word essay about writing software. And this, after having had a colleague remind me of its existence back in November and trying for weeks in the interstices of the day to make progress.

Among the charming sets of words he strung together, these were my favorite. This week’s goal: work “fetid zoo garbage” into a sentence.

These markets are here to make you feel foolish…

The markets of late have me reminiscing about the financial crisis of 2008-09. The office had CNBC streaming 24/7 on the trading floor, and you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen.

Watching protestors—who were actually just down the street—in Zuccotti Park, where hundreds of Occupiers from the Occupy Wall Street movement were camped out.

(Darkly) joking with colleagues that we’d soon be seeing CNBC cameras trained on Citi’s front door at 388 Greenwich St as colleagues carry out cardboard boxes in tears.

Hearing Art Cashin say in January 2009, at the very bottom of the market, “the end of the world is priced into these stocks.”

And then…and, then…there was this:

I’m just trying to be the voice of reason, guiding you to the light.

—Jeff Macke, CBNC

You sure tried, Jeff.

Making Trade-Offs at Scale

What is lost in all of this recent discussion is the nuance between features, schedule, and quality. It is like having a discussion with a financial advisor over income, risk, and growth. You don’t just show up and say you want all three and get a “sure”. …

In practice when building Office (and later Windows) whenever someone on the team would panic and ask “are we date driven, feature driven, or quality driven” we would just roll our eyes and pull up a chair…This was so common we just called it conversation #37 and move on.

—Steven Sinofsky, on building products at Microsoft (via Daring Fireball)