[FoRK] [fonc] Software Crisis (was Re: Final STEP progress report abandoned?)

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at jarbox.org
Mon Sep 9 10:28:06 PDT 2013

On Sep 9, 2013, at 6:07 AM, Gregory Alan Bolcer <greg at bolcer.org> wrote:
> That's what "Lean" startups are all about, though I'll probably get shot for criticizing the single most popular software management technique on the planet.  It's like Agile, it's a technique that's great when properly applied, but many wield it like a magic hammer without truly understanding when it's applicable and when it's not.

I was going to write something similar. The "lean" method selects for minimum investment in quality software engineering. It is a reasonable choice if your Big Idea is a photo sharing app for lichen enthusiasts but you cannot build a high-value technology base in this way. The focus on lean startups goes a long way toward explaining why Silicon Valley is producing a dwindling number startups producing anything resembling "technology", either directly or indirectly. The business models have been completely stripped of technology development because it is viewed as unnecessarily expensive in this model. 

Just looking at software, there are many startup ideas that can't even get off the ground for less than a hundred thousand of lines of code.

>>  In other words, I don't believe
>> there's a software crisis or any real shortage of programming talent (I
>> know plenty of great programmers who regularly go without work, often
>> because they're unimpressed with the offers they're seeing.) 

Where are all these "great programmers" when you want to hire one? And exactly how large an offer is required so that they will deign to work for you? Around here, the going rate for great software talent is already creeping north of $200k before incentives and even the merely above average are far in excess of $100k. 

To a first approximation, there is quite obviously a fixed supply of talent and a rapidly growing demand. Increases in the clearing price are just redistributing the shortage.

More information about the FoRK mailing list