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Cool to see Fog Creek succeed like this. I've been following Joel for almost fifteen years (the now defunct Fog Creek message boards were some of the best on the internet for a couple of years).

From the beginning Joel made a simple assertion: Hire great people, give them a great environment, then sit back and watch them kick ass. He said this before all of this became conventional industry wisdom (and probably played a major role ushering it in). With products like CityDesk, FogBugz, and Copilot failing or seemingly meandering, it didn't really seem like much would come of it. But they kept at it and look at them now. I guess good software does take ten years (give or take) [1].

Of course it didn't hurt that Joel is one of the best bloggers who ever done it, and I'm sure at least Stack Overflow benefited tremendously from being seeded with Joel's captive audience, but they have still executed the hell out of it and continue to do so, and obviously continue to spawn awesome stuff on the side.

[1] http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000017.html




I agree. It's so strange now that I will often make references to Joel or his essays in talks and no-one will know who I'm talking about. I always have to explain that back in the day there were two big software essayists - PG and Joel. No youngsters knows Joel's stuff now - the internet's great at getting you today's news, yesterday's tends to get lost underfoot.

Joel if you're listening please come back to blogging. You're a great writer and I think you've got such an utterly different perspective on things now after having done SE and Trello that it would be a massive waste for you not to share it back with the world again.


I entered this industry in February 2012, but his essays have still had a major impact on me as a developer. Part of the credit for this goes to Jeff Atwood, who has retained a lot more visibility than Joel, for frequently linking back to early internet writing.


Really? How young are you talking about? I graduated about a year ago and almost everyone I knew who was really interested in writing software read at least some of his stuff from joelonsoftware...


Same. I even went so far as to buy his books that are compilations of his writings and compilations of his curations of other great writings.

However, I feel like we might be self selecting here for people who give a damn about their craft on this thread ;)


I think it's a cultural osmosis thing. If the older developers mention stuff like "We're a 9 on the Joel test"[1] or "Obviously we shouldn't do a rewrite, what are we Netscape"[2] or "Are code base is large enough that the tooling requires static typing"[3] People will read the essays. If all anyone is talking about is tech-crunch, probably not

[1]http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000043.html [2]http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000069.html[3]...


You messed with your third link.

I've read it and I'd say that Steve Yeggie is making generalizations about static type systems using greatest common divisor of them all: Java.

He attributes the need for patterns to OCaml type system, where they aren't needed, for example. Or assumes that you need all interfaces up front.

Both those assumptions are not true!

I think SY is good at jealous humor like his post about "academy found an software engineer who cares about Haskell". That's his natural domain. I believe everything he writes is homorous and jealous, that way I don't have to think he is just plain stupid.


Joel is a class act. He spoke at YC's Startup School, which brings out his unique perspective - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPJf8KrvJXU


He starts talking about Trello and his expectations for its exit at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPJf8KrvJXU#t=27m43s .


> back in the day there were two big software essayists - PG and Joel

Don't forget Philip Greenspun!


22, read most of Joel’s blog when I was 16, despite living in Nigeria with Snow.

I can’t imagine the youngsters of today never wondering who stands behind SO—and that brings you to JoS and CH too.

I’ve seen a different opinion though: people claiming Joel and Jeff spoiled a generation of developers by presenting subjective opinions as self-evident truths in the form of feel-good light reading. I don’t subscribe to this viewpoint but it’s worth mentioning.


22, read his whole blog when I was 19. Still go back to his and PG's essays time to time (add "How not to die"[1] by PG to reading list for 3rd time this morning).

I remember skipping my classes in my first year at college to read Joel's blog!

[1] http://www.paulgraham.com/die.html


His essays were collected into a book. One copy of the book is in the Fort Vancouver Regional Library system. Also, I somehow managed to find and read his entire blog a couple years ago. His writing is not completely lost in time.


I'm 24, I've read all Joel's stuff in the past year.


I'd put Yegge at the top of that list.


Youngster (age 24) here. I'm pretty sure I've read all of Joel's stuff.


With products like CityDesk, FogBugz, and Copilot failing or seemingly meandering, it didn't really seem like much would come of it.

If you ever get lost trying to go to their office, tell a cabby to take you to the New York Stock Exchange, which they're adjacent to. They do not pay the rent with Broadway shows.


tell a cabby to take you to the New York Stock Exchange

More like Stack Exchange!


This is actually my favorite opening line to use at talks: "My name is Kasra and I run the mobile team at Stack Exchange. The first response I always get after I tell people that is 'why does the stock exchange need mobile apps?' and I'm here to explain that to you today, except you know, with the right company name."


He really does do that...


hey pvam


Yes, an interesting definition of failing (I'd be happy to fail like that). Incidentally, you may be pleased to know that I continue to use the FogBugz homepage / website as my go-to example of great 'websites that sell stuff'.


Thanks! I am indeed quite pleased when the Creekers get recognition for all the great work they do.


Completely agree. Before HN became big, JoS forums (especially the Business Of Software forum) were my go to place to connect with fellow technologists. That is where I originally learned about Patrick Mckenzie.

Personally, Joel has been a big inspiration for me. He pretty much shaped how I view software development by writing those all time classic articles.


I think FogBugz's worst problem is its name. I feel stupid even suggesting it at work, and the name sounds silly so people ignore any suggestion I do make.

Trello is a good example of a much more (word-of-mouth) marketable name.


I know that for some people, this is an issue. The problem is the cost of switching to another name. For a ten year old product, the cost is IMMENSE. It can definitely be done, but it's a hard problem.

Naming is also really hard. We spent TONS of time picking out the name Trello and just narrowly avoided naming it something really stupid by serendipity. (The code name was Trellis, but all the domains were taken and we insisted on having a dotcom url).


> We spent TONS of time picking out the name Trello and just narrowly avoided naming it something really stupid by serendipity.

I guess you must have heard this but "trelo" means "crazy" in greek; at least the stress is on "lo". Not exactly stupid but kinda close :)


It probably self-selects a better client base. Not so sure if switching would be an advantage.


We use it at work, and in fact my boss considers it and Kiln the best source control and bug/issue tracking software around, and I think it's pretty fantastic as well. The automatic gantt chart and probability of shipping metrics are pretty amazing. I don't know of anything else that lets you use git or Hg on the same repositories, which is great since you don't have to force your team to use one or the other.


Honestly, that sounds like a sad place to work. If the name just sounds "silly" you must not be working around software people that are very knowledgeable about the industry, otherwise they would know about FogBugz and Joel by now. I imagine many "enterprise" places are probably like that.


Yeah, I'm not sure why they didn't just use "FogBugs". Same pronunciation but looks less gimmicky.


The guy is a legend to learn from over and and over

He namechecks this great older post on PR and conferences and how to launch: http://joelonsoftware.com/items/2011/09/15.html

Worth a re-look for every startup founder

The shortest possible version is: launch is important


I'm going to nitpick that article. Not all of the coverage of Trello at Disrupt came from writing reporters ahead of time. I know because I wrote one that mentioned Trello: http://www.wired.com/2011/09/startups-techcrunch-disrupt/ and Joel did not pre-brief me or Mike.


I guess it matters equally though that the "four that seemed to register as important to him" were all hand-crafted


Joel is definitely a hero (to me) but I think this is unfortunately very far from conventional industry wisdom. Conventional industry wisdom is SW is easy, all SW people are interchangeable cogs, stick them in a cubicle and micromanage them...


I'm 21 but I've been reading Joel's stuff since I was about 18. I had no qualms with reading 7+ year old blog posts.




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