[FoRK] Who needs efficient code?

Adam L Beberg beberg at mithral.com
Fri Jul 30 09:35:30 PDT 2010

Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote on 7/29/2010 10:49 PM:
> So, one can innovate, prove the idea, gain financing .. maybe even start getting customers and revenue .. all without having to be an expert coder. Then, once the revenue is flowing and financing is available, hire the expert coder(s) to make it sing.

Real software engineers cost money and demand to actually be paid, but 
MBA's will work for free for years in promises of stock/IPO/buyout. You 
still get what you actually pay for :)

> Or simply throw more horsepower at it and suffer the performance issues and resultant customer backlash when big failures occur, like the Twitter problems mentioned. Or when someone easily hacks the poorly secured code and the press gets wind of it.

But that often doesn't work. It takes MANY PhD's to mess up a system as 
trivial as twitter, where every tweet ever made will easily fit in the 
RAM of less than a handful of machines. Or how Facebook's early 
architecture now demands a couple orders of magnitude more hardware then 
it should, but cannot be changed now.

So no, throwing the real brains at it after the fact rarely works out 
all that well if you actually need to scale. At best it works on sites 
where nobody actually cares if it's up or not. Nothing bad happens if 
Facebook or Twitter is down, and they are fads by design anyway.

Try throwing together some crap and find the smart people after the fact 
for a bank or a pacemaker or a rocket, and let me know how that goes.

The typical 2010 business plan:

1. Throw together something social
2. Get popular, woohoo!
3. Oh shit, hire engineers?
4. Let fad run it's course.
5. Doh, why didn't we ever charge anyone for it?
6. Go broke or sell to Google - they buy anything!

Adam L. Beberg

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