Sunday 20 March 2011

Don't feed the developers

I'm not a developer. I don't code. So the following might be entirely wrong, and if it is I apologise, and will happily stand corrected if necessary. But;

  • developers aren't some special strand of humanity who don't have anything in common with the rest of us.
  • you can talk to them outside of unconferences and hack days. You don't need to convene one just to talk to them or meet them or drink with them
  • they're there, always, just like everyone else, as part of the conversation. They might tell you what they do for a living, they might not. Just like everyone else when wanting to disclose what they do for a living or not
  • you wouldn't ask an electrician to fit your pipes for free, repeatedly. If you did, they might give you the first hit free but the second or third. In the same way you'd not do the accounts for someone for free for the rest of your life. Geeks in general joke about this, but really it's not funny.
  • understanding geek/developer psychology, or rather wanting to is quite sweet but there's a fine line between condescending and patronising and being lovely. 
  • attention spans vary. Don't get cross if it doesn't happen to coincide with what you want. Especially if you're not paying.
  • exceptions and variances occur in the sample.
  • sometimes, I don't like the world, it looks like a sequence of irritating obstacles between me and what I would actually like to be doing with my time. I don't know if other people who don't like messing with data and focusing for long periods of time on random things get this, I don't know if all geeks and/or developers get this but I suspect they might. Frustration though, is rarely aimed at people - it's aimed at the workflows, the systems, the sequences and the damn bad design of it which just frustrates. We could do better. That's a big 'we'. Don't take it personally.
  • I'm not cool. Lots of dev types I know aren't either. Some are, though, and can dress themselves quite well. Variances.
  • Mechanics, right, have a way of working. People just work around it. So do accountants. No one questions their attachment to ties or obsessions with neat orderly columns of numbers. No one points at the lawyers and makes a comment about their wigs and you'd never dream of commenting on a butchers state of dress. Developers and data geeks are a bit different too. But persistently pointing out the differences, repeatedly pointing out ways to work with us/them is kind of....I feel a bit like some random zoo animal that everyone's looking at suddenly, trying to work out how to get the best pic through the bars and what we'll eat? Hack days, if you tilt your head a bit are the feeding times and I can list the gamekeepers quite easily.
I'm as guilty as the next person of knowing I fit in a sub-culture. Maybe it's just a cycle, from punk to goth to geek. But it feels a bit different sitting inside a culture or quirk sector and being invisible, hiding behind a monitor and suddenly having the sense that your behind some glass and everyone else is peering in curiously, wondering what makes you tick and how to make money out of you.

Cos that's how it feels a bit. And it's making me retreat a little and become less free with ideas and thoughts and flows. I don't like that feeling. I just want to get on with musing, thinking, talking, writing, learning, geeking. I don't want to think any more about other people can play nicely with me, I want to just be accepted as being me - just like the accountants, electricians, mechanics and brickies. Yes, geeks are a bit different. But in highlighting the differences constantly, there's a big danger that it wont just be me retreating back under my rock, I think.

I hope, once again, I am wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Aaargh! I wrote a long response and then Blogger wouldn't accept my WordPress credentials and *lost* it! I may have to blog elsewhere as a response and then give the link....after I have had a cup of tea...