In my, obviously biased, experience this post does not actually describe the realities I’ve seen. The problem is generally managers want new spiffy sound things and hire people to do it. This post makes Albert out to be the villain, but he gave Alice what she was asking for. I’ve had multiple meetings where it ends with “I can do this for you, but it’s going to be expensive and fragile” but it doesn’t matter, they want it anyways.
Yes, developers are culpable as well. Some sneak in ridiculous features but I think there is plenty of blame to go around.
What if Zip worked for Alice, or if Albert worked for Zola? That seems more interesting to me.
I’ve seen this played out in multiple ways, I’d imagine more ways are possible as well but:
Zip is successful despite his manager.
Zip is ousted for saying no and the owner does not like to hear no. Replaced with someone that will not say no.
Zip is successful despite his manager but replaced with an Albert after completion that makes a mess of everything.
“I can do this for you, but it’s going to be expensive and fragile”
Nice! I really like how you worded this. I will use it in the future. Thanks.
I have found, socially, there is generally value in expressing that you are always willing to do what you’re being told but being blunt about consequences. And depending on who you are talking to, you might be able to suggest an alternative.
Choosing between improving tooling vs solving business problems is not a binary decision. vim / emacs are complex tools with a learning cost, yet most would agree that they are worth the complexity. Google and other companies have positions dedicated solely to improving plumbing.
No one is arguing using a new technology for its own sake, but rather it’s a question of trade-offs.
Improving tooling provides business value for Google. That’s not necessarily true for all businesses.
The analogy used (restaurant owner and plumber/electrician), suggests that the type of business the author is talking about is not primarily a tech company, but a regular business which happens to need some IT infrastructure (say a website). In such a case, using established and proven technology would be the best thing to do so that the owners can focus on their core business.