Monday, August 1, 2011

No Silver Bullet

I've read a paper by a certain industry veteran recently, written in the eighties.

The title of the paper was “No Silver Bullet.” Now, it was about Software Engineering practices and the fact that there will be no big single breakthrough in the next decade in the Computer world that would for example, double productivity.

The interesting part, I think, is how this was described. The author outlined the fact that the No Silver Bullet idea was not only true but worthy of acceptance in and of itself. The search of a secret magic idea is akin to believing in magic or superstition. It's akin to waiting to see a special number before beginning work or seeking, as the author uses as an example, the philosophers stone. This is all wasted energy.

On accepting that no single thing will change our life, our writing practices or our professional duties we are left with the truth. I suppose I find the idea refreshing, so much of the world is consumed in the hunt for this quick fix. In every realm there is those trying to sell short cuts and a corresponding multitude forever willing to buy them.

There will be no advancement without hard work. We have our tools, we have picked up our craft and now we must make our path as a river does through a mountain. Slowly, interminably. And with each rivulet opened we flow a little stronger but the process continues the same.

Thinking in those terms one realizes that he must enjoy this step as much as he wishes to enjoy his last. Sobering thought.

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