P073: This is Code

Most of the time, I feel like I’m pretty chill. I try and keep an even keel and take a moment to unpack the latest indignity before responding in some way that I’ll regret. But if you ever want to see steam come out of my ears, let me hear you use the word “magic” to describe the act of web development.

I’ve riffed on this before but it is truly maddening. If you’re in a professional context and you have literally no idea what your teammate does, that’s on you, not them. It’s willful ignorance. Time was, something like that would happen in a client meeting and I’d have to stew about it and then blow up randomly. Thankfully, those days are over because now I can just quietly send those people a link to an article on Bloomberg (yes, really).

Software R. E. A. M.

If I’m the first person to recommend that you read Paul Ford’s 38,000 word essay “What Is Code?”, you need better friends. Friends that care about you and your place in the world. Friends that are totally comfortable suggesting that you read basically a short book on a topic that might seem to be tangential to your interests. Friends like me.

Never before has our industry seen a mirror turned on itself with such grace and humanity as the one held by Paul Ford. Never before has a topic as dense and intimidating as the basic workings of a computer been presented with such humor and clarity. Never before has it all been wrapped up in an immersive, interactive experience of this quality (no, not even Snow Fall – tell me one thing you remember about that story besides the fact that there was an avalanche). “What Is Code?” is a staggering achievement and you owe it to yourself to read it if you have not already.

Go. Now. Read “What Is Code?” and then share it with a friend.

Periodically yours,

Bob Sherron