Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Post With no Pronounceable Acronym

There’s actually a pretty strong benefit to [having podcasts] requiring a lot of effort: fewer bad shows get made. - Marco Arment

When someone you consider smart says something dumb, you start to second guess everything they say. Marco made an offhand comment about being glad that it was hard to create podcasts because it meant there were fewer bad podcasts. The reality is that when you make it hard to share stories, than people who are really good at telling stories you want to hear, but aren’t technically save, can’t share them.

In the world of computer sciences, there was a project to create a purposefully complex and impossible to use programming language. It’s called INTERCAL which stands for Programming Language Without Pronounceable Acronym (for obvious reasons). The joke idea was - if programming was easy, than dumb people would do it. So if you made programming really really hard, than only the smartest people would be capable of doing it and therefore you would have only the best programs! This was proven true, as all good modern apps are written in INTERCAL. Wait. None are. What we’ve really learned is that people who have great ideas and people who have a the ability to write complex computer programs are not necessarily the same people. So if you want apps based on great ideas than being able to build them with simple programming means more great apps, not fewer. To be fair, it also means more tip calculator apps.

So it is with creating Podcasts. Does anyone imagine that Ira Glass could make his own podcast? No! He has often said he doesn’t even understand what “bandwidth” is and why his podcast needs it. No one should be surprised that being able to create amazing programming that is extremely interesting to listen to does not necessarily overlap with being able to use GarageBand or whatever program Windows people use.

Technology is best when it gets out of the way not when it creates an obstacle. It’s better when it’s magic. That’s why we are all Apple fan boys. Ultimately it all falls under Sturgeon’s Law - 90% of everything is terrible. That means that 10% of everything is not. If you increase the amount of “everything” you therefor increase the amount of stuff that isn’t terrible. So mom, go plug in your microphone, spin up GarageBand and start making podcasts. I’ll subscribe.