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Institutional memory comes in two forms: people and documentation. People remember how things work and why. Sometimes they write it down and store that information somewhere. Institutional amnesia works similarly. The people leave and the documents disappear, rot, or just become forgotten (as it were).

On institucional memory and reverse smuggling.
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If you’re try­ing to make a suc­cess­ful tech prod­uct, 90% of the bat­tle is that it works at all.

It has to work, Havoc Pennington.
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And this is the essential broader point — as a programmer, you must have a series of wins, every single day. It is the Deus Ex Machina of hacker success. It is what makes you eager for the next feature, and the next after that. And a large team is poison to small wins. The nature of large teams is such that even when you do have wins, they come after long, tiresome and disproportionately many hurdles. And this takes all the wind out of them. Often when I shipped a feature it felt more like relief than euphoria.

On how the smartest fail to stick to the essential, one of the engineers behind Google Wave. Jointly with this other post, a good story for any startup to hear.

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I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

— Automattic Creed, Matt Mullenweg.
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Real artists ship.

Steve Jobs, 1983. Also: how Apple releases its products and why it’s one of its strengths.
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Code should grow by addition rather than mutation.

Measuring the closure of code, Michael Feathers. Via: Software volatility.

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All English Fortunes Radar Software Libre

If we wish to count lines of code, we should not regard them as “lines produced” but as “lines spent”.

— Edsger Dijkstra. Quoted on Are all patches create equal? by Jonathan Corbet.

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All English Fortunes Radar Software Libre

We [free software communities] already have a system much better than elections: you can choose which leader you wish to follow and how much. If you want to be a leader, start leading, and see who wants to help.

Richard Stallman.
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The hardest thing [for a programmer] is to go to sleep at night when there are so many urgent things needing to be done.

Donald Knuth.