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05 May 2010

Joel on software - a summary: 2007

This is a summary for the blog by Joel Spolsky, Joel on Software, volume 2007. The summary for the years 2000-2010 can be found on the Joel on Software summary index page.

You can't skip the design step. And you can't design in a meeting. -- The Big Picture

To get remarkable customer service: 1. Fix the problem. It's crucial that tech support have access to the development team. 2. Don't give customers the idea they are stupid. Instead of telling them to check if the connector is plugged, tell them to unplug the connector and plug it back in. 3. Be flexible. When customers have a problem and you fix it, they’re actually going to be even more satisfied than if they never had a problem in the first place. 4. Take the blame. 5. Be polite. 6. Don't take it personal. 7. Always return the money if customers are not happy. 8. Get the good guys for customer service. Give customer service people a career path. -- Seven steps to remarkable customer service.

It takes a mindset of constant criticism to find the thousands of tiny improvements to your software that makes it a great product. -- A Game Of Inches.

When you ask people to choose a style or design that they prefer, they will generally choose the one that looks most familiar. -- Blog post 2007/06/12.

Comments on a blog are a bad idea because they often detract from the original ideas of the blogger. If other people disagree, they're welcome to do so on their own blogs, where they have to take ownership of their words. -- Learning from Dave Winer.

The developers who ignore performance and blast ahead adding cool features to their applications will, in the long run, have better applications. Sandboxes didn’t work then and they’re not working now. In the future, there will be an AJAX SDK which will rule them all and in the darkness bind them. -- Strategy Letter VI.

To ensure software failure: 1. use mediocre developers. 2. don't make a detailed blueprint. 3. negotiate a better sounding deadline. 4. re-assign work frequently. 5. work overtime. -- Five Easy Ways to Fail.

If you're demoing software, 1. People will remember the location so pick the nicest location possible. 2. Make the room seem packed. 3. Get a room that is made for presentations. 4. Dress up the location with music, goodies and make people socialize. 5. Make the demo screens as big as possible so people will be able to read what you are demoing. 6. Don't make yourself look like a gopher: lock the door until the room is ready and bring people to do stuff. 7. The only interesting way to design a demo is to make it a story. 8. Be sure to accidentally bump into all the nice little “fit and finish” features of your product. 9. Say all the important points two ways. 10. Practice and re-watch it on a video. 11. Have a follow-up plan. -- How to demo software.

Talk at Yale

Quality of software can't be measured in an automated way because automated tests won't measure some of the most important aspects of software: the look and feel, and usability. --Part 1

It sucks to be an in house programmer, because you will only get the chance to make half baked, ugly programs, and nobody will really care. Part 2

Being able to write clearly on technical topics is the difference between being a grunt individual contributor programmer and being a leader. Part 3

The market pays for solutions to gnarly problems, not solutions to easy problems. The only way to keep growing - as a person and as a company - is to keep expanding the boundaries of what you're good at. And you will be able to solve more gnarly problems. -- Where there's muck, there's brass

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