I like Joel Spolsky, and I enjoy his Joel on Software blog.
This might be controversial, but I think he went overboard with the new Fog Creek office. I know people have been raving about it in various forums. We’ve gotten to the point where candidates are applying in comments to the office pictures he put on Picasa. I’m sure it’s a blast to work in, so kudos to you current (and future) Fog Creek Employees. w00t! even.
But dude, 20 outlets per desk seems like overkill to me, as an example. There are more expensive examples too. The spending seems like at the point where you could have taken $50K-$100K and take everyone on an awesome ski trip or a cruise or something, which would create a lasting bond and shared experience. NOLS perhaps? I wonder if the Fog Creek Board is happy with this spending, but I’ll never know, and that’s OK, I’m not THAT curious.
But his post today about developers applying for startups is so 100% right-on with my thoughts, I was amazed to read it. I’ve written the same things in various internal emails, wiki pages, and recruiter conversations. It’s uncanny and perfectly accurate. I think I’ve actually said things exactly like this:
Naturally there’s a point when you need those folks, but in the context he’s talking about, I think he’s right. Moreover, if you happen to work at a company with tons of interesting data (like I do) that is natively horitonzally partiotioned (or partition-able) into tiny islands, and an architecture that is services-oriented, the need for these folks is alleviated.
Not to mention KISS, YAGNI, and the Kitchen Sink Syndrome. I tend to be afraid of high-falutin’ system architect types who don’t actually do any detailed work, maybe because they think it’s trivial or boring. These architects tend to spend more time planning than a startup does to plan, execute, AND ship any given project. I’m sure they have a role in some large companies, but again, that’s not the context we’re talking about.