My Secret Life as a Spaghetti Coder
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If you want to trap a monkey, it's not very hard. Hollow out a hole (in a coconut, the ground, or whatever) just large enough for a monkey's hand to fit in when relaxed, but too small to pull out as a fist. Put some food in the hole, and wait. Soon enough, a monkey will come, fall in love with the food, grab at it and refuse to let go.

You see, monkeys value food higher than life or freedom, and their devotion to it will not allow them to let go. Or so the story of the south Indian monkey trap goes. (I am merely relating the parable, I have not actually tried to capture a monkey in this manner.)

A spider monkey looks surprised

In My Job Went to India, Chad Fowler's final bit of advice for keeping sharp and up to date urges us to not allow ourselves the mental security blanket of value rigidity - or the mental crutch, as it often turns out to be. You might not even be aware you're using one yet.

Chad tells the story of Novell's decline:
Many of us in the mid-1990s swore by Novell's NetWare platform when it came to providing ?le and print services in the enterprise. Novell was way ahead of its time with its directory services product, and those of us "in the know" were almost cocky in our criticism of competing technologies. Novell's product was enjoying a healthy majority in market share, and it was hard to imagine the tide turning.

No single event made it obvious that Novell was losing to Microsoft. Microsoft never made that magic Active Directory release that made us all say, "Wow! Drop NetWare!" But, Netware has slowly gone from bleeding- edge innovator to legacy technology. For many NetWare administrators, the water was boiling before they ever even realized the pot was warm.
By allowing yourself the comfort and ease of such a mental crutch, you're doomed to keep repeating what worked in the past, even if it's not the best solution today. Before you know it, your technology of choice is no longer the soup du jour, and you're stuck knowing nothing else.

Instead of blindly advocating your technology of choice -- no matter the absurdity of that solution in the situation -- have "stong opinions which are weakly held." Realize "it depends" is a valid answer to programming questions.

Don't be afraid of being a wishy-washy flip-flopping programmer. It may sink political careers, but it's an asset in technology.

Slaughter sacred cows.

A cat-like cowpanther.

What are your own monkey traps?

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Comments
Leave a comment

wow kind of stange isn't it

Posted by alyssa on May 22, 2010 at 09:57 PM UTC - 5 hrs

i like the cow

Posted by Anne poo clarke on Jan 04, 2012 at 03:41 PM UTC - 5 hrs

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