Design adds value faster than it adds cost

Joel Spolsky did it again. His brand new article hit my mailbox this evening. A long story, as usual. Basically, what he says is

Best Working Conditions → Best Programmers → Best Software → Profit! Or in other terms, five Antonio Salieris won’t produce Mozart’s Requiem. .

He adds some (in his own words) semi-scientific data to it, that should show that the quality of the work and the amount of time spent on software development are uncorrelated. Now, I’m sure it takes a lot of talent to make a really good product. To be better than the rest, it takes more than average. But is it really about only being the best as in the best person? Is your fellow colleague, which seems slower in his work really that bad? Should everybody strive to be a Mozart or a Steve Jobs, and if that doesn’t work out, go elsewhere and fullfill a less fullfilling job?

I tend to believe it’s more about just striving to do your job very well, than wanting to be the big man. Mozart was an exceptional man. We should not strive to be such a person, because, let’s face it, we’r not smart enough to do that. You won’t build a good business with a bunch of Salieri who lose their energy doing just that. But get some good motivated people, make sure you listen to them and keep them motivated by giving them enough room to do their thing, and you’ll get there too.

But there are certainly ways in which I agree with Spolsky. It’s not about just being fast and cheap when it comes to ICT. I quoted it earlier: the problem with quick and dirty is that dirty remains long after quick is forgotten.

I wonder if the people at Fog Creek all drive cars like the Ferrari Spider F-1 and still have enough money left over to build an ashram in their back yard? Maybe I can’t judge that enough as I’m no developer, but I’ll settle with a Porsche anytime. 🙂