Unordered thoughts about programming, engineering and dealing with the people in the process.

The Curse of the Technocrat

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I’m almost always mad when I think about the country being led by improvisers without the basic skills to run a hot-dog stand. Prioritizing politics over technical knowledge should have ended when Natural Philosophy came to town.

The rigurosity provided by the scientific method has uncovered a lot of charlatans

But it does exist a phenomena that I call The curse of the technocrat that’s rampant in the software world, it happens when the cursed technocrat starts thinking the most important thing is her technology.

I’m quite sure it’s part of an identity crisis, when you’ve been so long sharpening your saw, becoming good at something deeply technical by nature, the survival instincts of feeling good about yourself will make you think your shit is important by itself.

Well, it’s not.

The most important thing at a particular moment, is the problem you have to solve, technique per-se has no meaning.

Chair designed by a cursed technocrat It’s like having a carpenter who’s happy about using a saw but knows nothing about people using his chairs. Or a violinist with a great technique playing notes nobody wants to listen to.

As ridiculous as it seems, the software world is plagued by this cursed technocrats, with great technique, but don’t giving a fuck about customers having a better time.

These are my self assesment questions to detect any trace of the curse:

  • Can my grandma understand what problem I solved today, and for whom?
  • Is this doing life easier for somebody?
  • Will this make something cheaper for somebody?
  • Would someone pay to have this problem solved?
  • Is this a problem worth solving?
  • Have I spent more days paying technical debt than creating value?

Doing things for self gratification is great, but pay attention if you should have been an engineer, you may be under the curse of the technocrat.

An antidote? make yourself accountable on your results, not on your techniques. Good technique develops if you aim high enough.