I came across an article on BBC talking about advances in health care in the past 60 years. Honestly, 60 years isn’t that long, considering the changes that have occurred were previously unknown to humanity. So, a lot of assumptions about things have to change. Getting in a car accident; getting shot; damage to organs; lots of things are becoming undoable. This increases risk taking, and as every investor knows, increases rewards.
60 years ago, you didn’t have people jumping the Great Wall of China on a skateboard. It’s not that it wasn’t physically possible. They had the wood and bits of plastic back then. No laws of physics have changed. But 60 years ago, no one was able to get to this level without killing themselves.
Athletes have always pushed their bodies to the edge. But it used to be that if you crossed the line, there was no going back. You don’t really get a second chance if you break your neck. Or, at least, you didn’t. Now we routinely have people rehabilitating after a broken neck. We’ve given athletes the ability to take bigger risks, make bigger mistakes, and come back smarter and stronger.
And all these because some doctors figured out a few neat tricks. It’s amazing to see how growth in one area improves performance in another.
I can’t wait to see what’s next. It never was like this before.
But oh no. Show them one bullshit-laden presentation and the entire Rails community is champing at the bit and selling both kidneys to ditch all previous Ruby implementations and everything they thought they knew about the persistence layer and embrace some questionable closed-source vapourware, from the guys who brought you that previous world-storming web framework Seaside. What’s that, you’ve never heard of Seaside? I wonder why.
I think a great point is made in this post about the level of speedup that can be achieved. There’s some group claiming they can speed up Ruby by 60x. That’s a ridiculous level of improvement, and Sho is calling them on it.
Lots of developers think they’re brilliant, and want to be that one genius that finds this amazing breakthrough that no one else thinks of; but it doesn’t happen that way. When there’s a lot of smart people working on something, mind-blowing breakthroughs are incredibly rare. A 3-5x speed increase is a massive improvement, and certainly a clever code artist could make it happen; it’s rare to have 3-5x, but possible. Doing something 60x better than anyone else is borderline unimaginable, and as Sho says, “requires extraordinary proof”.
Most real progress is slow and steady over time. And boring. But that’s the nature of real progress.
Thanks to Michael for the link.