From Joel Spolsky’s Interview in “Founders at Work”. As you can see, totally loving this book.
That was probably the biggest mistake we made. And that’s the advice I give everybody. All those little coupon schemes, this is what General Motors does. They figure out new rebate schemes because they forgot all about how to design cars people want to buy. But when you still remember how to make software people want, great, just improve it.
Talk to your customers. Find out what they need. Don’t pay any attention to the competition. They’re not relevant to you. Only talk to your customers and your potential customers and see what it is that caused them not to buy your product or would cause them to buy more copies of it. And do that, and then ship it. That was something we really, really should have focused on, but, you know, we didn’t know any better.
…We spend an outrageous amount of money on quality office space that other people don’t. That makes it easier to recruit and makes us more productive, I believe. But I’ve heard from people that it would be considered completely unacceptable by the average VC to have private office space—because it’s considered an extravagance of a successful company or something like that. And, you know, “Why aren’t you all in the same room talking?”
I’ve had that argument whether it’s better to have private offices for developers. I don’t want to have that argument anymore. I don’t want to have to try to convince people anymore. Certain features—flying first class, Aeron chairs, double monitors, the best computers that money can buy—these are things which might be considered extravagant, but it’s nice just to be able to do things the way that we believe they should be done, without having to have a big argument educating other people as to why we know how to develop software and they don’t.
…Now Microsoft has forgotten all these things, and they’ve hired a lot of morons that don’t know these things anymore. I think that now Microsoft is kind of a big tar pit where you can barely move forward because there’s so much bureaucracy. But I learned a lot.
…I think what makes a good hack is the observation that you can do without something that everybody else thinks you need. To me, the most elegant hack is when somebody says, “These 2,000 lines of code end up doing the same thing as those 2 lines of code would do. I know it seems complicated, but arithmetically it’s really the same.” When someone cuts through a lot of crap and says, “You know, it doesn’t really matter.”