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Own your decisions. Understand the customer’s needs. Don’t be lazy.

Professional corner cutting, Havoc Pennington. Aka: how to become a better programmer.

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When you don’t create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. Your tastes only narrow & exclude people. So create.

Why The Lucky Stiff.

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El signo de la vitalidad no es durar, sino renacer y adaptarse.

El milagro Mondragón, José María Arizmendarrieta.
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While money can help produce good software, clear communication channels between developers and users and a unified team can easily outperform more rigid development environments.

I feel sorry for closed-source developers, Bruce Momjian.
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Screwing up is a great way to find out that your assumptions were wrong or that your model of the world was a little bit off. As long as you update your model and move forward with a better picture, you’re doing it right.

[…]

There are still some bad ways to fail. Repeating the same mistake over and over is one. Not listening to customers or peers before or after a failure is another. Never ignore the evidence; particularly when it says you’re wrong.

— Valve Handbook for new employees.
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Just as demagogues may subvert democracy, so self-promotion may subvert meritocracy.

— Open Source Projects and the meritocracy myth.

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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.