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About CLI best practices, the advantages of being a generalist nowadays, and the trust behind an Open Source culture - What our team is reading

If being a generalist was the path to mediocrity, why did the most comprehensive study of the most significant scientists in all of history uncover that 15 o...
Elena Torró
Software Developer
Sep 4, 2020
  min read

“The end result of capitalism is not unlike a Monopoly game. One guy gets all the bucks, and everybody else loses. What we have in America is a democracy that’s run for the benefit of corporations. […] Ben & Jerry’s and a few others — The Body Shop, Patagonia — were pioneers in creating a model of business that saw making profits to be coequal with its purpose of improving society beyond just providing jobs. There’s a bunch of corporations genuinely starting to see the light.“

If being a generalist was the path to mediocrity, why did the most comprehensive study of the most significant scientists in all of history uncover that 15 of the 20 were polymaths? Newton. Galileo. Aristotle. Kepler. Descartes. Huygens. Laplace. Faraday. Pasteur. Ptolemy. Hooke. Leibniz. Euler. Darwin. Maxwell — all polymaths.

“There are several significant changes trending in our knowledge economy right now, which are flipping the conventional wisdom on the value of specialization on its head. In today’s world, diverse interests are not a curse, they’re a blessing. Being a polymath instead of a specialist is an advantage, not a weakness.”

“How does open source thrive in a cloud world? Incredible amounts of trust Gaurav Gupta, ex-VP Product of Splunk

Splunk (which wasn’t Open Source) had incredible adoption at a time when pretty much every other infrastructure stack was going Open Source. He goes on to talk about why Open Source played a role in Elastic eating away at Splunk’s installed user base. Worth reading in its entirety, but here’s an excerpt:

“A lot of it comes from the fact that things are very transparent in these open source companies, their Github repositories, their issues, their roadmaps. [The] majority of the code may be written by the company, but they do a pretty good job of explaining why every single decision is being made, how it’s been made, how it’s architected. It’s about trust. When developers have to make a big decision, they’re making a bet. Maybe they’re embedding Elasticsearch, or they’re banking their entire operations team on Grafana. They think, ‘This is something [we’re] going to be stuck with for a while. I’m actually putting my neck on the line to do this.’ And so, good open source companies build incredible amounts of trust.”

Most CLI functionality should generally mirror the concepts found in your UI, product documentation, etc. to minimize the learning curve for your users. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to make your CLI resource-oriented, just like the REST API that’s probably backing your CLI.

“Product Hunt is a popular platform with a supportive community and it’s a great place to get some attention for your startup and be discovered. But it’s only one of the many other great niche communities where you can do the same.”

Don’t dream too much about launching on Product Hunt and getting hundreds of paying customers on the day so you can immediately quit your job. If you have such high expectations, you’re bound to be disappointed. This dream may come true to a few products but it’s an unrealistic expectation for most.

Have a great weekend!

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Musings on transformations, tables and everything in between.