You can't impress developers (but sometimes you can)

Last week, after a long Halloween day, I scrolled through my Reddit subscriptions and read a familiar headline: You can't impress developers. So don't try. My post from 5 years ago hit the front page of HN and was cross-posted to /r/programming.

I didn't read all the comments or respond, but I understand why many people disagreed. The title was purposefully a bit click-baitish, but I still agree with my core viewpoint: Don't focus on impressing other developers. Focus on your users.

At the time, I was at the tail end of an extended tenure as a manager. I was obsessed with the end product. After a hiatus, I'm a back to working as full-time JavaScript programmer. While JavaScript has its idiosyncrasies and plenty of room for abuse, I find modern JavaScript to be fairly pragmatic. My team, in particular, is results focused. What impresses other developers is quickly adding features which will directly impact our product and users.

We have a hackathon this week, where we will all have the chance to impress each other, and I'm certain we will. The trickest code won't win, but the trickest feature might.

Show Comments