Erik Meijer: “Software is eating the world”
Reaktor Dev Day is a one-day, four track conference for developers by developers. It brings together the international programming scene and its hottest speakers in a laid-back, friendly environment.
Erik Meijer is Dutch computer scientist, the founder of Applied Duality, one of the creators of modern programming languages such as C# and a bearer of extremely cool tie-dyed shirts. His opening keynote has a rather wild yet empowering message: software will take over the world, and developers are the ones who make it happen.
Meijer has a clear stance on how this is going to go down, and it starts with, well, killing agile. Or at least, killing the idea of blindly following the methods.
– The problem with Scrum is that it’s buzzwords: it is talking about code, not actually doing code. Stand-ups are the worst thing ever invented. Agile is a pyramid scheme.
Instead of talking about code, Meijer thinks that we should go the Facebookian Hacker Way. It’s an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. The best idea with the best implementation should always win.
– We should have a closed feedback loop to ensure that we’re continuously improving. An open feedback loop only works when you have a perfect model of your static, unchanging environment. That doesn’t happen in Silicon Valley.
According to Meijer, everything will eventually be software, even hardware. For example, Uber is a taxi company with not a single taxi: the company only owns the data and the algorithms. In other words, they’re a company driven by data and feedback.
Unsurprisingly, Meijer has a take on how the development work should be organized and executed. He states that test-driven development should die out – it can’t predict the bugs anyway.
– Just push it to production. It will fail, but testing is only about writing tests, not real code. If it breaks, fix it! TDD is for pussies!
Meijer is all for a low hierarchy, because hierarchical systems tend to work. A working system contains three layers: the developers that hack, managers that set the context within which developers do what they feel is best and senior leadership that takes care of the strategy.
That’s when developers have the right time to do what they have the ability to do: eat, sleep, and breathe code.