Saturday, October 20, 2012

Damn Inflation

Damn inflation is a problem faced by programmers, and probably many other types of people. I don't mean damn inflation in contrast to regular inflation. I mean inflation in the value of an individual damn.

When you are very new to code, you have to give a damn just to indent it. But once you adopt good coding habits, and acquire skills in coding tools which will indent your code for free, indenting your code is not something you have to give a damn in order to do. You just do it, either way.

Steve Jobs achieved an amazing damn value in his lifetime. By Apple's standards, nobody at Microsoft gave a damn about Unix, typography, CSS, HTML, color schemes, usability, or numerous other things. Microsoft is and was cash-rich, but damn-poor.

Steve Jobs was lucky to be running Apple, because with so much passion invested in so many aspects of technology, it would have been otherwise impossible for him to find a computer worth a damn. This is not because computers today are not amazing; it's because Mr. Jobs had very valuable damns.

This is the same reason it's hard for web developers to find a Twitter client which is worth a damn. If you're a web developer with a background in fine arts and graphic design, it's even worse. And if you're not just a web developer with a visual background, but also one with skills in online marketing, who's studied the research around distraction and productivity, the only way you can measure the effort invested in most Twitter clients is with the picodamn, a very modest unit of measure which normally only sees use when somebody wants to measure how much opinions are worth on Hacker News.

Damn inflation is why you have to be careful what you invest your energy in.