Let’s raise a glass to coders

It’s amazing the pictures a single-letter typo can conjure up.

“the top-down engineering approach is quickly dying, and being replaced by a bottoms-up, participatory approach to software.” – Marc Prensky, Games2train

The unfortunate ‘s’ added to ‘bottom-up approach’ in this quote gave me visions of drunken programmers toasting each other with a hearty “hey ho!” in front of their C++ workstations.

A distinct lack of intellect

My intellectual companionship quotient has really gone down in the last six months.

Different people engage in human contact for different reasons; for me, it’s discussion about the big ideas backed by insight. Why it’s interesting that India’s CNC-machine imports growth curve is identical to that of China ten years ago; why the USA can be understood if you refocus on Cheney being the real president. But it’s become very hard to find people with the time and experience to take part face to face. And for some reason it’s especially hard to find men.

Among the usual streams of people you meet in any big city, the ratio of smart women to smart men seems to be about 4:1. And it’s so difficult to just have female friends; if they’re in a couple you’re a threat and if they’re not there’s too much tension. (I’ve met several stunningly intelligent women over the last year – ranging from an architect to a management consultant – but they were all attractive, and the sex thing always gets in the way.)

So this week’s thinking topic is: how do I get myself back into the intelligent sidestream? I need to catch up with my SNS newsletters – I’m six months behind – but the real goal here is to spend more time face-to-face, immediate exchange of viewpoints in context with the real world. Book clubs? Probably not. Presentations, speeches, dinner clubs? Maybe. Tough.