[A picture of private offices at Fog Creek Software] Alert! This ancient trifle retrieved from the Joel on Software archive is well-past its expiration date. Proceed with care.

Joel on Software

Architecture Astronauts Are Back

by Joel Spolsky
Friday, October 21, 2005

Architecture Astronauts Are Back

I'm starting to see a new round of pure architecture astronautics: meaningless stringing-together of new economy buzzwords in an attempt to sound erudite.

When I wrote my original complaint about architecture astronauts more than four years ago, it was P2P this and messaging that.

"That's one sure tip-off to the fact that you're being assaulted by an Architecture Astronaut: the incredible amount of bombast; the heroic, utopian grandiloquence; the boastfulness; the complete lack of reality. And people buy it! The business press goes wild!"

Now it's tagging and folksonomies and syndication, and we're all supposed to fall in line with the theory that cool new stuff like Google Maps, Wikipedia, and Del.icio.us are somehow bigger than the sum of their parts. The Long Tail! Attention Economy! Creative Commons! Peer production! Web 2.0!

The term Web 2.0 particularly bugs me. It's not a real concept. It has no meaning. It's a big, vague, nebulous cloud of pure architectural nothingness. When people use the term Web 2.0, I always feel a little bit stupider for the rest of the day. To quote the line from Billy Madison:

Principal: Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Billy Madison: Okay, a simple no would've done just fine.

Not only that, the very 2.0 in Web 2.0 seems carefully crafted as a way to denegrate the clueless "Web 1.0" idiots, poor children, in the same way the first round of teenagers starting dotcoms in 1999 dissed their elders with the decade's mantra, "They just don't get it!"

I'll do my part. I hereby pledge never again to use the term "Web 2.0" on this blog, or to link to any article that mentions it. You're welcome.

And While I'm In A Bitchy Mood

Boy, am I glad I don't work at Microsoft any more. The joy is gone when adding an easter egg is "immediate grounds for termination," and a fun video they made for a conference doesn't have a soda can in it because "none of the soda companies would give permission for their product to appear in this video."

Still, it beats the hell out of listening to one of those podcasts about podcasting or reading one of those blogs about blogging. Unsub-frickin'-scribed.

And now, back to my normal sunshiny self.


Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

Want to know more?

You’re reading Joel on Software, stuffed with years and years of completely raving mad articles about software development, managing software teams, designing user interfaces, running successful software companies, and rubber duckies.



About the author.

I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, easy web-based collaboration software, FogBugz, an enlightened bug tracking and software development tool, and Kiln, a distributed source control system that will blow your socks off. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.

© 2000-2014 Joel Spolsky