I had a client once who was, let’s say, old.
Even when I first met him, and this was around 2000, he was old….but he knew software.
He had a depth of knowledge about everything under the hood within any type of application that we had ever discussed.
He had been around for software’s entire evolutionary ride (around this time we were going from client-server to the web).
When I first met him he had retired from Goldman Sachs and was CTO of a start-up that wanted to offer financing online.
The firm was backed by some New York City finance heavyweights.
After 9/11, the investors were too focused on getting their own houses back in order and let the project die.
The only thing that ever came out of this project was meeting this old gent and the great programming lesson that he taught me.
He said to me once, “Software doesn’t do what you want it to do, it does what you tell it to do.”
This struck me quite profoundly, and I always remember it when I think that the reason my code doesn’t work is because there is a bug in the compiler….which is happening to me this morning.