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Lazy, dumb programmers that are nothing of the sort

Philipp Lenssen explains why programmers should be lazy and dumb, although of course he doesn’t mean either of those terms in the way we usually do.

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7 Responses to “Lazy, dumb programmers that are nothing of the sort”

  1. This is an old (1980s) meme started by Larry Wall, creator of Perl. I would have liked to see Philip Lenssen nod at Larry’s famous comment that great programmers should be “lazy, impatient and full of hubris.” Which, like most Perl code, is obfuscating to the point of Zen.

    Good series of conversations with Wall here:
    http://www.paulagordon.com/shows/wall/

  2. Gordon, I only later heard of Larry’s quote, but in my article I did say that the “programmers should be lazy” meme is not new (I came across it many times), but that I found the “programmers should be dumb” meme to be more new (see fourth paragraph).

  3. Lenssen’s post generated lots of predictable humorous comments. This one struck me though – ‘…the article has nearly nothing to do with programming. All the valid points equally apply to other areas…’

    Now there’s some accurate insight. As a guy who spends most of his time bridging the void between tech users and tech developers, I see far more of the traditional ‘lazy and dumb’ behavior in all business areas than I do of the assertive ‘lazy and dumb’ that Lenssen adcocates.

    Developers have really applied Lenssen’s lazy/dumb paradigm when it comes to the use of wikis. Where I don’t see wiki’s being applied any time soon due to institutionalized lazy/dumbness is in the non-tech areas of business – and they could really use it.

  4. The first time I ran across the meme was in a Robert Heinlein story, Time enough for Love (1973) “Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.” It is the story of a lazy man who invents all kind of useful things in his quest to get back into his hammock and sit there sipping a cool drink.

    What this the origin of the meme, given programmers love of Science Fiction?

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  7. It’s humorous how we all define the word lazy. I know this really, really lazy security guard in Arizona that calls his laziness patience. He has no desire to better himself and looks for women to support him and his stupid pez collection. He doesn’t even work full time, yet he is too lazy to get another job to get his awful rotten teeth fixed. He acts like he’s looking for a woman to pay for it for him. Maybe she can tell him how fat he is and he’ll lose that 100 pounds of lard. It’s humorous to think any smart woman would want a man like that. Ugly.


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