Worse Is Better
One of the coolest aspects of software development is the way it makes really big theoretical questions around system design totally accessible. Every teenager building a web app is deploying an ad hoc bureaucracy of computer processes. As you get more experience, you start to think critically about how it all fits together.
I remember reading “The Rise of Worse is Better” a decade ago. The first time I read it, it felt like a call to action. It’s the story of how less elegant designs have come to dominate the world of computing, outcompeting and rendering irrelevant so many other, more brilliant systems. I felt compelled to investigate these alternate threads of history. I wondered what the world would look like if The Right Thing had won at each step along the way to our modern tech landscape.
Toward the end of high school I started taking math at The Ohio State University. This...
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