Mar 20, 2017

The Hacker Way

The Hacker Way is something Mark Zuckerberg wrote about in his letter as part of Facebook’s S-1 filing. You can read it here: S-1 Letter from Mark Zuckerberg

Here’s a small part of it that I’ve been thinking about in the past few days:

Hacking is also an inherently hands-on and active discipline. Instead of debating for days whether a new idea is possible or what the best way to build something is, hackers would rather just prototype something and see what works. There’s a hacker mantra that you’ll hear a lot around Facebook offices: “Code wins arguments.”

Hacker culture is also extremely open and meritocratic. Hackers believe that the best idea and implementation should always win — not the person who is best at lobbying for an idea or the person who manages the most people.

For various reasons, I haven’t written a lot of code lately. I’ve been thinking about ideas a lot more—mostly about infrastructure and cloud architectures. The annoying thing about coming up with ideas and not writing code is that it’s addictive. I can think about new ideas constantly and never get bored. It may seem productive to come up with interesting things all the time, but in reality it can be a huge waste of time. If I’m not actually implementing anything, it doesn’t matter. And most of the time I’m not.

Fortunately, I’ve been working on getting back to the Hacker Way. Instead of just thinking and writing about abstract topics, I’ve instead been implementing things and then writing about them like I usually do. I’ve already written something new about libab, and up next is a post about a stateful API service that replicates data using two-phase commit. I also have another big project that combines those things as well as everything else I’ve been working in the past several months, but I haven’t really implemented much so you won’t hear about it for a while :).

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