A Few Good (Performance) Men

Sometimes people ask me why my talks tend to teach the basics about performance and not Really Scary Performance Stuff (TM).   My answer is actually pretty simple, I teach what I think most people need to hear and really most people need to be reminded of the basics more than they need a primer on say popular L2 cache replacement disciplines. 

I think as a performance professional a big part of my job, especially internally, is to remind people of the importance of performance work so that they make their own good choices.  It's all part of making success in the performance space something that your team members can achieve.  The alternative is to have your performance people running around in other peoples' code bases making changes by fiat (rather than by collaboration) or else having some kind of Performance Czar who makes the big decisions.  What might working with the Czar be like?  Maybe like this parody of Col. Nathan R. Jessup from A Few Good Men.

Fade in to parody... 🙂 🙂 

Developer: Did you order my feature cut?

Performance Czar: You want answers?

Developer: I think I'm entitled.

Performance Czar: You want answers?

Developer: I want the truth!

Performance Czar: You can't handle the truth.

Son, we run on a processor that often stalls, and those stalls have to be prevented so everything runs. Whose gonna do it? You? Your froofy team?

I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for your feature, and you curse the performance team. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That your feature's death, while tragic, probably saved bytes. And that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves bytes.

You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me saving bytes, you need me saving bytes.

We use words like L2, swaps, and working set. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very space that I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a profiler, and save some bytes. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

There are days I wish I could just mandate some things and get the talking over with.  But ultimately that's a lousy way to do business... remember, it didn't work out so good for Nathan R. Jessup.  Unlike the Jessup parody I'm very inclined to explain myself -- ultimately that's the job.

If you're a performance professional... hold back your inner Jessup 🙂

Comments (13)

  1. chullybun says:

    Very very funny – nice one!

  2. chilli dog says:

    I was just wondering: what would be the software equivalent of a "code red"?

  3. Isn’t it ironic that the CLSCompliant attribute breaks the framework naming convention of mixed case…

  4. Re: code red equivalent, I guess it’s the "forfeit" that sometimes exists for breaking the build.

  5. This “A Few Good Men” parody from Rico Mariani is absolutely hilarious!  I love that…

  6. Klok says:

    Absolutly fabulous.

    You just got a spot in my RSS reader 🙂

    Thank you for that laugh, and keep up the good work.

  7. Isn’t it ironic that the CLSCompliant attribute breaks the framework naming convention of mixed case…

  8. Matt Pietrek looks at the impact of the innovation tax ⊕

    In his first technical post, Maxim Goldin…

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