Larry Wall, the author of the programming language Perl, once made the following insightful remark:
…the three great virtues of a programmer [are] laziness, impatience, and hubris.
He penned this line in his book Programming Perl, which also included the following glossary definitions:
- The quality that makes you go to great effort to reduce overall energy expenditure. It makes you write labor-saving programs that other people will find useful, and document what you wrote so you don’t have to answer so many questions about it. Hence, the first great virtue of a programmer. Also hence, this book.
- The anger you feel when the computer is being lazy. This makes you write programs that don’t just react to your needs, but actually anticipate them. Or at least pretend to. Hence, the second great virtue of a programmer.
- Excessive pride, the sort of thing Zeus zaps you for. Also the quality that makes you write (and maintain) programs that other people won’t want to say bad things about. Hence, the third great virtue of a programmer.
These virtues aren’t just for programmers. They apply to businesses as well. With that thought, I submit the following definitions:
- “The quality that makes you go to great effort to reduce overall energy expenditure.” It makes you create labor-saving processes and efficient practices. If it takes your employees 10 hours to create 1 product, imagine how much you’ll save if you can reduce that to 5 hours for 1 product. The best path to working less isn’t sitting on your ass, it’s working smarter.
- Get to the market quickly. If you have a great idea, don’t waste any time – build it. The market isn’t going to wait for you, neither are your competitors or your customers. This applies even if it’s just a prototype; the sooner you can get customer feedback, the better. While being the first-to-market isn’t a guarantee of success, being the first means getting customer feedback before anyone else.
- Take pride in your business. Don’t give anyone a chance to say bad things about it. If you treat your customers and employees with the utmost respect, build only high-quality products and services, and conduct your business with honesty and integrity, you’ll be able to hold your head high every day.
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