The Pony Express

Did you ever stop to wonder just how much time I spend writing these posts?  I mean, what kind of developer has enough time in the day to not only write all the code, fix bugs, drink soda, read email, surf the web and write blog posts?  Is there something I've figured out that the rest of you haven't?  Is there some way to re-arrange your day so that you have time to fit it all?  I bet some of you out there think I've tapped into some secret power, a device that lets time stand still for just myself and maybe a few others, so we can leisurely compose elaborate blog posts while the rest of reality is frozen in mid step.  Those that know their science fiction well, will obviously see the parallel between my supposed 'natural' capabilities and the side effect of various quantum instabilities.  If you make the right connection you might just see how it is I do perform these wondrous feats.

The real truth is much stranger than fiction.  In fact, I don't spend much time at all on these posts.  I don't have any secret device that stops time.  I do have one secret power that I am loathe to tell you about, but if I must I will.  The truth is that most of us 'softies' have this skill.  Microsoft generally hires for it.  It's not one of the big things you'd think important if you were on an interview loop here.  You probably would not even have prepared for it.  You probably would not even brag about it.

Microsoft hires smart; it looks to find folks that are incredibly bright and that can learn fast, adapt and be creative in a hectic environment.  But what it also looks for is the ability to write a lot of code, fast.  I mean it.  How else do you think we can add the giga-bytes of new code bloating each release?  How much code on average do you think a normal non-Microsoft developer puts out in a day, in a year?  What is the old' adage, one line of quality code a day, for some a week?  Here at Microsoft we pride ourselves on the ability to write tens of thousands of lines of code a week.  That's enormous.  Sure, not all of it actually needs to be able to execute, since its just there to pad out the disk, but it is code, its not randomly generated.  Really.

What secret skill do we have to be able to do this?  It's obvious isn't it?  Typing reeeeeaaaally fast, blindingly fast, so fast you'd think the keys will start melting or flinging off the keyboard, and better than fast, we are greatly skilled at typing fast w/o thinking.  Just whatever happens to pop into our heads at the time.  X = X +1; Yup. Y = X / Y; errr, okay.  Foo(X, Y) >> bleep;  Got it. Just like that, over and over again.

So you see, writing a few blog posts in English nonetheless is vastly easier task than writing nonsense code that somehow still compiles.  In reality, we are encouraged to write these posts just so we slow down for a while, to take a rest.  It saves on the insurance, and as everyone knows we are all about share-holder value here.

I think my fingers are starting to fall asleep, I'd better get back to cranking out code.


Comments (6)

  1. Sam says:

    ummm not really a great advertisement for MS don’t you think? Quantity over quality…?

  2. Scott Allen says:

    I thought bleep was deprecated.

  3. Matt says:

    Wayward Humor. I really do spend too much time writing these things.

  4. Iain says:

    Sounds like you could be going the way of the big blue; I heard they always paid by the kloc (thou lines of code) in the old days. That presumably explains the, err, inconsistencies in what is done and what we are told should be done.

  5. Androidi says:


    Blogging doesn’t really have to take much time, but if replying to everyone it will most certainly. I’m not exactly fast at keyboard if (thinking). A short IRC conversation can take half an hour. On IRC channels I’ve noticed it’s a quite low percentage that can make longer/thoughtful replies fast. We slower people just fake being fast by doing the yesnlet me thinknhere’s what i thought..n… – still taking an eternity, as is this comment full of boring facts.

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