> A classic article on using powerful programming languages as a secret weapon
I'm surprised this is included given that it's been more or less been proven to be false. Almost every valuable company in the past 2 decades was built on a blub language. Facebook even used PHP! Java and C++ are at the core of most Amazon and Google services. There basically haven't been any big companies build on a lisp-like language unless you consider Scala, but even the most companies adopted that later.
Not really. It's true that few big winners have used Lisp, but that would only disprove the thesis if there were also companies who tried using Lisp and failed. AFAICT, no one is even doing the experiment.
I actually know of two notable counterexamples: Barefoot Networks has an internal design tool written in Common Lisp that is a significant source of competitive advantage for them. Also Orbitz.
Most languages have the features of CL that made it so useful. Even Java has first class functions, lambdas, partial application, async IO, etc. Java even has a repl now. The only things left afaict are macros (non-hygenic in CLtL2) and code-as-data/eval (a security hole).
Aside from pulling from functional languages, Java also learned Python's 'with' using try-with-resources. Meanwhile the tooling of Java went from strength to strength and it's a serious blub factor for people who haven't used Java.
Beating the Averages was fairly spot on at the time it was written, but since then it's lost it's power as features of blub languages was merged into existing languages.
According to Alan Kay, Smalltalk was an explicit attempt at making something as dynamic as Lisp, but where one wasn't "coding in your data representation." There was very high representation in the Fortune 500, and some very big business applications. Much of the natural gas in North America was scheduled on a Smalltalk application. JP Morgan used Smalltalk to manage very large portfolios at one point. I could go on about the applications I know about personally for hours, actually.
But did they succeed because or despite those languages?
Would they have been even more successful and would their code have been more maintainable, more easily exapandable, had more power or more flexibility had they used Lisp?
Had to look that up — do you mean a blub language?
I personally don't mind working with those languages, as long as I'm not working on a horribly written legacy codebase.