holistic hackers

the story so far...

The Call

Dear comrades in coding…

We ply our trade in a magical world. Daily, each and everyone of us performs acts of breath-taking sleight of hand, slays the evilest of demons and conjures the strangest of djinns within the depths of the machines. Like the world of magic, so many things go unsaid and unexpressed within this world. The metaphysics of our Trade are rarely mentioned and often discarded as mere semantics. For the sake of getting things done, we leave many of these concepts undiscussed and unexplored in favour of detail-oriented technologisms that sometimes inch us forward in our daily toil. These numerous unspoken corners grow into liminal spaces soon left abandoned, forgotten and often forbidden.

These articles and serials attempt to understand and reason within these spaces. Here, we abuse metaphor and metafiction to understand how these spaces operate. We explore team design, leadership without management, generic career progress, archetypes, fiction versus fact and other random topics from the spaces beyond technological trivia.

The Trade

There is the daily toil of the developer’s work day trade and then there’s The Trade: the structure and workings of this thing we do. The deeper magic that makes us who we are. At times, we catch glimmers of this aspect over drinks telling war stories and within the hall-track of popular conferences. These silent and abandoned spaces are truly the core of our thing. It’s within these spaces that we share, understand and nurture the parts of the Trade that should exist for the benefit of the workers within.

Within our individual polities, we make efforts to improve this state of affairs. We invent processes and rules to attempt to translate the algorithms of sanctified machine temples into the common speech of dirty, dusty pubs packed with loud, inconvenient humans. So often, these structures fail the people that they were meant to serve. So often, these processes are co-opted to service profit over the Trade. So often, once we depart for greener fields, these structures remain trapped within the Towers of our patrons.

It’s time to understand our thing as the guilds of the past understood theirs. Each of us needs to write about the Trade. About how we understand it and work within it. This is one attempt to do that.

The Craft

Within this Trade, we practice a Craft. When we meet and discuss and swap stories, it’s normally this Craft that we discuss. We teach the latest incantations and the most effective conjurings - the techniques to make your way in this thing of ours.

Through these articles and serials, we’ll explore deeper metaphysical understandings of this Craft and the Trade. We’ll attempt to understand how programmers progress through our Trade - outside of the towers and polities in which we’re voluntarily confined. We’ll creatively generalize reality through convenient fictions to understand how the workers within the Trade can work together more effectively. To do this, we must abandon the desire to out-triva, out-know and out-perform our comrades; we must think holistically.