Monday, June 24, 2024

Embrace the Suck

The key point here is our programmers are Googlers, they’re not researchers. They’re typically fairly young, fresh out of school, probably learned Java, maybe learned C or C++, probably learned Python. They’re not capable of understanding a brilliant language but we want to use them to build good software. So, the language that we give them has to be easy for them to understand and easy to adopt.
— Rob Pike

How sad. Google used to hire top-notch programmers. Now it appears that they have hired a bunch of mediocre programmers who can't even learn how to properly use exceptions or ternary conditionals. Programmers that need “training wheels” on their C.

And how insulting to Googlers to be told that they are not capable of understanding a brilliant language. To be seen as merely a fungible resource to be “used” to build software. I'm sure some of them are capable of understanding a brilliant language. I'm sure that some are capable of learning how to use Haskell or OCaml or Clojure (or F# or Rust or Erlang or Scala) whatever language is best for the task.

Does success come to those that strive for excellence or those that embrace mediocrity?


Arthur A. Gleckler said...

At least they're not Bell Labs engineers. I've never been impressed with their output.

Paul Steckler said...

I was a liberal arts major, and Haskell and OCaml never gave me any trouble.

Jason Riedy said...

I have to ask: Reference please? Because that's not quite believable.

Joe Marshall said...

I worked with Paul in the Programming Languages and Theory group at Northeastern University. While we didn't use Haskell or OCaml, I'm familiar with his work and I don't see why he would have difficulty with those languages.

Or were you looking for a different reference?

Anonymous said...

In the case of goog they are an online ad agency that is making a lot of money and what they do aside from that seems to be immaterial to their bottom line.

Nagora said...

If Starbucks buys a million tons of coffee they can not be using "just the best". The best may or may not be mixed in there but it isn't "just".

If Google hires 20,000 coders, they can not be using "just the best".

Keynes touches this in his General Theory - hiring in bulk pushes per-unit costs up because it pushes per-unit efficiency down due to lower skills in the new hires. But sometimes it's the only way to get enough amount of product to fulfil demand before a competitor does it.