How Hard Could It Be?

, Nov 4, 2008

Joel Spolsky about violating almost every principle he believes in when helping to create stackoverflow.com:

As for what this all means, I'm still trying to figure that out. I abandoned seven long-held principles about business and software engineering, and nothing terrible happened. Have I been too cautious in the past? Perhaps I was willing to be a little reckless because this was just a side project for me and not my main business. The experience is certainly a useful reminder that it's OK to throw caution to the wind when you're building something completely new and have no idea where it's going to take you.

I know the feeling: There are some fundamentally true things about software development, and you should always take them into account when you do 'real software development'. Except when you go into 'cowboy mode' and just do something, not caring about whether all probability says it can't be done. The hard thing, obviously, is to decide when which mode is appropriate …