Hackers and Sheep

“I’m fine with living with the geeks,” I found myself saying a couple nights ago on IRC during a discussion with Richard Eriksson spawned by his post about working with people unfamiliar with computers.

“Let the others mill about,” I continued, “I have no respect for the person who won’t put forth the effort to learn something and expects everybody else to follow suit.” You see, I hear quite often that people want things “as simple as MS Word,” people speaking of things like HTMLArea or Ben’s StikiWiki, things like WYSIWYG. I think WYSIWYG is cool, no doubt loads of trouble to implement, and I’m sure it takes a good programmer to make them work well and be intuitive for the masses shoveled into Word, but I really just don’t care.

I think of things in terms of relationships, associations, what things do, not how they look. Anybody who has ever clicked on a goatse link knows that things on computers don’t really have much to do with what you see, it is the reality behind the presentation that matters. I want to shape the world, not a picture of it. WYSIWYG says, “Here’s a picture and a pen, son, try to stay in the lines,” but I want to be hearing, “Here’s an art store and $20, go to town.”

The sheep, those people who won’t put out the effort to learn how things relate to each other, simply don’t make it into my target demographic. HTML isn’t complicated, nor are most of the forms of structured text (Textile, reStructuredText, Markdown), to learn one and understand it is the least somebody could do. I’m not making my requirements overly complicated, I don’t have a problem with helping teach somebody how to learn, but I expect them to put forth the effort; I’m not here to bring technology to their world, I’m here to bring them to technology’s world, leave the lazy ones behind.

I want to make the toys for the hackers, the geeks, and if that means the kind of person who sues a fast food chain over a coffee cup without a warning label isn’t going to give me money, so be it, “let them give their money to mcdonalds, hummer, and verizon, I’ll take what I can get from the guys who run the future.”

2 thoughts on “Hackers and Sheep

  1. Technology is a massive space. You can be a world-reknowned expert in one corner, and then a complete noob in the other. Sometimes time is the bridge between effort and willingness versus the experience you already have. Just depends on how far apart those corners are.

    It takes great confidence to say “I don’t know.”

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