I was visiting a marketing software company with a renowned professor when he said something that both startled and intrigued me: “Programmers,” he said, “are arrogant.”
He’s right. We are.
My mind flashed back to earlier this morning when I was reading comments on Hacker News about a supposed fork to a popular programming language. The language author identified several flaws in a popular language, then set about to fix them. It’s arrogant to assume that his new product is better (there was some disagreement on this at HN), or that there would be enough adoption to make the project even partially as viable as its ancestor. Only time will tell whether he was right or not.
It’s arrogant to roll our own code rather than adopt existing libraries, but it happens all of the time.
It’s arrogant to think our code is as useful to others as it is to ourselves.
It’s arrogant to stress over the details of products we release, to insist on refining the corners and polish the surfaces only other coders see.
But without arrogance, nothing new would be built.
Arrogance challenges the status quo. It feeds the courage to try for a better way (even when we fail at it). The arrogance of builders, designers, and innovators gives us new things.
It’s our greatest weakness, and our greatest blessing.