When I wrote I have some small idea of what I’m doing, it was on the basis that DHH was engaging in some exaggeration. Surely software engineers, whose job depends on what they know and what they can learn, would not really revel in their lack of knowledge?
Then it happened. A technology forum I’m a member of had a discussion in which participants expressed that they did not understand the topic, that they did not intend to understand that topic, and they still wished to dunk on the people in a video about said topic.
The topic, by the way, is cryptocurrency. It happens that I don’t have a lot of time for cryptocurrency and I think most other blockchain applications are not particularly beneficial, but this comes after taking a course on blockchain, reading a textbook, talking to some startups about their products, generally engaging with the topic. I haven’t flipped the bozo bit, but I have decided that I do not currently see any use for that technology and see a lot of downside to its application. If you’d asked me before all of that study, and people did, I would have told you that I don’t know anything about the topic.
I feel a bit bad for, and about, that technology forum. It contains people I respect, and I’ve had valuable conversations there, so I don’t want to disengage completely. I would then be flipping bozo bits at scale, which is exactly the problem we have with many current attempts to converse. I also don’t want it to degenerate into a bubble for the one approved mindset, and I particularly don’t want the software engineering mindset to be one where making your mind up before learning about a topic, and valorising that decision to engage before learning, is the preferred form of contribution.