by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
code, community, elitism, techies


Ten Lines Of Code Is Easy; Building Community Is Hard

from the yup dept

Fred Wilson has a good post pointing out how ridiculous it is for various elitists to scoff at a certain internet startup because it could be recreated in "ten lines of code." I certainly know the feeling (and have, at times, felt it myself), but as Fred notes, the comment is really far off the mark, and is a situation where techies tend to be doing the same thing that content owners have been known to do: overvaluing one part of the product over what's likely to be even more important. While content owners overvalue the content itself, techies often overvalue the code. But with certain services, it's the community that's more important than the code. The fact that the code can be (and has been) replicated is meaningless, if you can't also create the same community around it.

This is a point that's also important when it comes to the various discussions we have about patent law around here. Some patent system defenders insist that they need to "protect" their invention. But, again, if that invention isn't bringing users, there's not much worth protecting, at all. You can copy all you want, but if no one's willing to use what you do, you haven't done much valuable. Ten lines of code may be meaningless. But if those ten lines of code bring in millions of users, it's a different story.

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  1. identicon
    Cixelsid, 31 Mar 2009 @ 9:00am

    If there's one thing that's abundant on the internet... (cont.)

    There's no point in writing a fast 2D line intersection algorithm in less than 10 lines or a matrix inversion routine in a single recursive loop if you can't show it to anybody for the ego boosting praise all we programmers crave.

    NOTE: Apparently plain text mode still interprets html tags causing my post to be cut. Sorry bout the double posts.

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