Bridges vs code.

A friend of mine builds bridges.

No, it's not a metaphor. Actual bridges.

He's a civil engineer. I think. He's some type of engineer.

He's the guy that makes the blueprints and calculations to see how much weight a bridge will be able to withstand. What magnitude of earthquakes would make it collapse (yeah, all bridges have a breaking point).

And, you know what? I find it fascinating.

He's a climber. So we often spend hours locked in a car (used to... we USED TO spend hours locked in a car... COVID and all, you know?) and I, very often, grill him with questions about his profession.

I find it fascinating.

Luckily, so does him. If he wasn't genuinely interested in his profession he would have told me to stop asking stupid questions a long time ago.

I think he'd be a really good teacher, because he radically enjoys talking about bridges.


But you know what's really cool about bridges?

(And dams. He's also worked with massive hydroelectric dams)

They are built to last, at least, 500 years.

Think about it.

500 years.

You and me are going to be long gone.

COVID won't be a thing.

All the things you are worrying about today. Every single thing politicians are fight over. They won't even be a memory.

And the bridges will still be standing.

(If one of those long-tail earthquakes doesn't bring them down, of course).

It gives you a different perspective, doesn't it?

But I don't want to talk about that.

You know why I'm writing this? Because what strikes me is the 500 years thing. The longevity of that work.

What work are you doing that will have such a long-lasting impact?

Let me tell you about mine:


Big, fat ZERO. I've been working on the software development industry for years. Earning comfy software-engineering paychecks month-in and month-out (I don't anymore. I quit working for other people years ago), But the shelf-life of my code, and most code out there, is measured in weeks.

500 years.

Vs weeks.

When my friend talks to me about the kind of things they have to account for in his profession it makes me envy COBOL developers... developers like my mom, writing boring bank software but which, after 30+ years, is probably still running in some old building's basement.

99%... hell... let's say 99.9% of my code already expired.

I wrote code for Merrill Lynch. Cutting-edge stuff... Not only the code is probably not in existence anywhere anymore... Not even the company is.

I wrote code for HotelTonight... that's not an independent company anymore... what's the chance that my code is still useful anywhere?

Wrote code for Drift. Ok, maybe some of it still lives. I doubt it though. I mean... Javascript code, the shelf-life of that is even shorter

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