According to Blake, DZone’s community manager, DZone will publish one of my most exciting articles ever later today. The reasons why I am excited about it, is because it’s the first time I get an article published about the frontend scaffolding machinery in Magic. Originally though, I wrote the article slightly different, trying to emphasize a philosophical point, which got lost during the review and editing process. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind having DZone editors proofread and edit my content, and I do understand how they might have felt that my “punchline” was a little bit out of context – However, I think it was kind of important myself, so I’ll try to write up the same ideas here – And the idea was to show how the really smart people will use the best tools available, to avoid manual labor, simply because they have no ego. As I explain my point, I will also hopefully give you a tool to separate the Einsteins from the Elvis.
Imagine asking Einstein what the square root of 1.2675467 is. How do you think he would have answered that question if he was alive today? My assumption is that he would have fetched his iPhone, pulled up its calculator, punched the numbers, and clicked the “square” button. Then imagine asking Elvis the same question. Elvis would have asked you for a pen and paper, and probably spent 20 minutes calculating the square root by hand, simply for no other reasons than to prove that he could. The reasons for this difference, is because Einstein doesn’t need to prove anything – While Elvis needs to take care of his reputation, to make sure everybody understands he’s “very good at his job”. Einstein doesn’t need to show you he is good, you already know he’s good.
If you don’t understand what I mean by “Elvis” and “Einstein” as analogies here, please read this Quora answer, which actually is my most popular answer ever at Quora.
A brilliant developer will hence always use the best tool available, to avoid doing manual labor – While a less than brilliant developer will do anything he can to avoid using tools, to show the world that he can do it himself, by hand, without needing tools. This becomes the equivalent of “software development ego”, to speak in Buddhist terms, and results in much suffering for Elvis. This also makes Einstein 1.000.000 times as productive as Elvis – Because calculating square roots of anything by hand, is simply not very smart, and steals precious time from your more important tasks, preventing you from being optimal in your approach to your job. Your calculator can simply calculate the answer to your square roots 1.000.000 times faster than you can do it using pen and paper.
I finished of my original article with a funny conclusion, which kind of was that I shimmered a job interview question in the above realization, which was as follows: Ask the interview candidate about the square root of some 16 digits number. If he pulls up his phone to calculate it using his calculator, the candidate has passed. If he asks for pen and paper to do it manually, he’s failed. Notice, I don’t literally mean that you should use trickery job interview questions such as this, but I think you get my point if you look through the humorous parts of this conclusion.