Moving Beyond “but it works”

David Heinemeier Hansson on levels of aspiration:

To help someone move up the hierarchies, they have to have an intrinsic desire to do so. Arguments like “but it works” or “it gets the job done” are tell-tale signs of someone happy at the lowest level of the technical hierarchy and your cue to just quietly back out of the debate.

This is a concept that took me a long time to recognize and to realize that this is ok. This same concept can be applied to any area: I might throw some roast beef between a couple pieces of bread for dinner because it “gets the job done” in sating my hunger. Those who appreciate the finer points of the culinary arts may find this unthinkable, and try to convince me to spend greater time and effort on dinner, but a plain roast beef sandwich often works fine for me.

A commenter, Kathy Sierra, makes a great point:

I think part of this is explained by whether they see the technology as Their Thing vs. the just a Tool…for enabling/supporting Their Thing.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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