I told you so!

One of the things that really irks me… and I don’t know why is the “I told you so” factor. It happens all the time and it really REALLY gets to me.

For example, I was talking to my grandmother, and I explained that she would have to pay X in taxes about a week ago. Today, after she talks to her accountant, she goes… “hey, I have to pay X in taxes”

Here is another example, at work, I will say, “be careful with X, or try this”. Usually, after about a month or longer, I will here them repeat… “hey, I really got burned with X, maybe I should try Y”

Or my buddy Jim will go, “Hey, this .Net thing is great!”, this is after I told him that this stuff was great… much better than C++ for general programming … … like 4 YEARS AGO :-). (He was right, however, that nobody had the .NET runtime. Still his attitude of C# stuff was more of “I don’t know about that stuff, I’m happy here in C++ land”.)

Or my other buddy Jack will recently go, “Hey, this Java stuff is crap.”, this was after I esxplained to him that the J2EE stuff was crap like 6 years ago. He used to talk about N-Tier and anti-patterns, etc. Eventually he turned it around and even took the risky move of going into Ruby.

Side note, I will bet anybody right now that 9 out of 10 people out there who think they understand what it takes to run a big internet service are more wrong than right. In my experience, most internet service people really don’t understand the real patterns about scalability, be it programming, quality, or handling users.

One person I agree with on certain Tech issues, Steve.. nailed it when he told me to read the “Self, Power of Simplicity” paper about 12 years ago. He showed how prototype based languages with a killer runtime could be a great combination. I agreed with this and we both tried to push this idea to others. Everybody balked. Yet, right now, people go… “Hey, this Javascript thing has its problems, but boy am I productive… I’m getting neat things done.” Dave Ungar must be feeling this pain even more than us.

This stuff burns me. It makes me feel as though I’m not even here. I really like giving people the shortcut. I REALLY love to hear the, “damn, dru told me to try Y and guess what, it really fricken worked”. I think I’m some kind of ‘maven’ according to the book, the Tipping Point.

I think this is how my father felt as he watched me grow up. Only now at the ripe old age of 35 do I have some new stuff to offer back to him.

I’ve got to figure this out. I think that when I talk, people just tune me out or something (even in email)… or even this blog hello! Are you even reading this !?!

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6 Responses to I told you so!

  1. Dude, I don’t know where your history on me comes from but it’s all messed up. I was never a J2EE fan. I fought tooth and nail against J2EE when I was at Certive. I was evicerated when I wrote the PHP scalability article on OnJava that said that J2EE was learning a lot from PHP. And I was nailed again just recently when I wrote an O’Reilly blog for saying that the hype around Java had negatively impacted Ruby/Perl/PHP/Python, etc.

    I give you full props for introducing me to Python. Jon Tyson introduced me to Perl. I was introduced to Javascript by Hamilton Meyer. I think I picked up on Ruby myself by tracking Dave Thomas’ work.

    I for one listen to you and respect what you have to say. But I think your coming off a little holier than thou here. Read it from where I’m sitting and it comes off like this; “I think my friends are a bunch of idiots who are only clued in as long as they listen to me.”

  2. Daniel Lyons says:


    Boy, do I feel your pain! I think you just gotta realize that, present company excluded, the tech industry is just a pile of herd-mentality morons. Just like every other … thing. I’ve been using Io and Ruby for years, and lately OCaml in my spare time, and it’s just shocking to me that I can’t get a job-job because I don’t know Java, C++, or C#. The world apparently considers manual memory management the true test of a programmer, not understanding and being able to use closures or program declaratively. And it’s been, what, thirty, forty years since The Mythical Man-Month showed that programmers produce about the same number of lines of code per day regardless of language, implying that terse languages would be more productive for everyone?

    So there you go. Whatever it takes to be taken seriously, we just don’t have it. I think there’s a long, proud tradition of folks like us in the computer science world who just aren’t taken seriously.

  3. dru says:


    Thanks for your comment 🙂

    On the hiring front, I think you have a great shot right now with Ruby. I see lots of rails jobs popping up.

  4. dru says:


    I think you are right. I messed up about Certive. My general feeling though was that when I was doing the dynamic stuff in the 90’s, you and others were still doing the C++ thing with Microsoft. I felt then, as I do now with other people (i.e. not you), that people really just don’t get it when it comes to programmer scalability and service scalability as they continue to make the same mistakes. I’m not trying to sound ‘holier than thou’. I’m just frustrated.

  5. Dru, I’ve experienced the same sort of Cassandra syndrome. I don’t have any solution, but I recommend checking out the book “How to win friends and influence people”.

  6. No biggie. I get the frustration. I experience it everytime I write an article about PHP only to get harped on by a C hacker about how dynamic languages suck.

    You are right about me and C++. I was locked into that dead-end for about 3 years too long. Maybe longer.

    Listen, you are a smart guy, who is open minded, and relentlessly inventive. But this is not a business that rewards the muses, it rewards the players that capitalize on that ingenuity by creating product. If you want to get rewarded for your insights you need to start writing, or get into some type of evangelist position.

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