I was listening to a TWIST episode today in which Chamath Palihapitiya was saying that the most important language to understand is computer language.
He was explaining that being a software engineer had transitioned from being nerdy and not so cool to being THE cool thing today, and that those who can speak the language can have the power to make the most impact.
But it seems to me that’s the core message you’ll receive if you get into the head of the likes of Paul Graham, Ben Horowitz, Mark Zuckerberg, et al.
And I believe there’s a lot of truth in that and it behooves us as a society to ensure that computer science constitutes a fair share of the school curriculum.
I think we can agree on the fact that, in this day and age, learning software engineering is not a waste of time. 30 years ago, that wasn’t so evident, and many of us were clearly wrong for dismissing it as a nerd-only activity.
Marc Andreessen has famously coined the expression, “software is eating the world”, which is what’s factually happening right now — think Uber, Airbnb, etc.
But is the software revolution that is in the process of disrupting every industry really only the domain of the technocrat?
My personal contention is that is is not. I personally don’t have the desire to become a software engineer. I wanted to become a recording engineer and I did so on a self-taught basis. I pick my battles. But I still want to do a tech startup, and I’m working on one at my own pace without waiting for anyone’s permission.
In another TWIST episode, Jason Calacanis interviews the founder of the PulsePoint phone app, a firefighter who wanted to build a life-saving service, which he proceeded to do despite being non-technical, by being creative and resourceful in seeking the required technical talent.
“It turns out that sometimes normal people have a killer idea for an app and some of them are actually brave enough to actually build it.
And today on the program we are going to have a firefighter who had an incredible idea — an amazing idea — perhaps the best startup idea I’ve heard all year. And he built it.
True, true entrepreneurial story in my mind, because there are [a] thousand people an hour who say I have the greatest idea for an app … and they never do anything about it.”