October 24, 2002
I Would Argue Like This

Language advocacy is usually (but not always) pretty boring to me. But this message from Richard Gabriel, who to me remains inscrutably smart, is just plain fun. No holds barred, man.

Though it's not relevant, I would argue like this:

My team will be able to program circles around everyone else. They will be able to construct rapidly a language specific to the problem we are solving rather than using a language designed by computer scientists worrying about their place in history and a herd of library writers working in cubicles a thousand miles from our business. My team will be able to use a language without training wheels. Strong typing is for weak minds, and it's exactly like they say at MIT: Our current popular languages are designed to help losers lose less.

I will be able to point to various examples where Lisp programmers have written not only 3-5 times faster, but they wrote things other programmers thought were impossible. In this regard, I'd tell the CEO, our competitors will be spending all their time trying to figure out that it's really possible we're doing what we're doing, because they will be thinking in terms of customization at compile time or link time, not at runtime.

Moreover, we will be operating where the CEO is focusing on his or her specialty and not imposing his or her knuckleheaded view on technology.

Because Lisp is dead, I'll get better programmers for less money. I'll be able to guarantee 50 more IQ points for the same pay. And my guys will be able to spend their time typing in value not book keeping overhead and typing in type descriptions because their guys are too stupid to know when they type + numbers are involved.

Because no one uses Lisp, I'll have my pick of thousands of great, experienced programmers looking to work for someone with a non-zero IQ, not the ones fresh out of college with 10 programs under their belts.

I'll be compatible with everything because it is right now. And if someone throws me a bug, I can code around it in a few minutes. Being a niche market means we're more proprietary. People will not use Lisp to compete with us because they are lamebrains listening to the latest fashion statement from Sun or Microsoft.The open source crowd isn't even smart enough to notice C++, so they are especially nowhere in the picture.

Of course, no CEO will belive this because every one of them is stupid.


Posted by jjwiseman at October 24, 2002 11:57 PM
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