tekx – opening keynote (lost art of simplicity)

Josh Holmes is giving the keynote and is very insistent on enthusiasm. Talking about simple projects and used twitter as an example. Twitter may have been been written in a weekend by most of us, it is successful because it filled a niche. Seems like part of the talk will be analyzing why we say “I could of wrote that in a weekend” with an air of disdain.

Looking at the definition of simplicity. First few definitions talk about foolishness and naiveté but the last definition is where we focus on “clarity of expression” and “Austerity in embellishment.”

Analyzing the “proper way to do things” as a method of keeping control. Average project doesn’t finish. Lasts a year, 18 month, “at least 2 months after deadline”. “We end up saving our problem like Wile E. Coyote.”

Just because you throw more people at a problem, doesn’t make it go quicker. “Nine women can’t birth a baby in a month.” Referencing concepts from  The Mythical Man-Month and No Silver Bullet. PHP 5.3 isn’t a magic bullet that will save the world.

Analyze if that new shiny will really make a difference in the project before chasing it. Either way, we should try to get back to basics. A programmer doesn’t just use a set of tools but understands what is going on underneath the hood. Are you a programmer or script kiddie? We need to encourage the script kiddies to get back to fundamentals.

If an idea can not be expressed simply, then you’re doing it wrong. How do you explain what you do to the average person?

Do you understand your craft enough to explain it simply and do it simply. This leads to looking at your toolset. Do you use your framework as a hammer without considering other frameworks?

The trick is to solve today’s problem while preparing for the future. The death of a startup is tends to happen because they were not prepared for when their project takes off.

Basically, try not to over-engineer, prioritize the features by ROI, look at the usability and most importantly, have tests. Josh’s call to to action is to go to war against complexity. Look at your engineering practices, do you understand your processes?

Edit: this was published late since I forgot to hit publish before moving to another session, I’m correcting the timestamp to reflect when it should’ve been published.

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