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Joel on Software


by Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Joel on Software in KoreanThanks to Acorn Publishing Co., my latest book is now available in Korean!

Making Summer Plans

Yes, it's true... there will be a filmmaker, Lerone Wilson of Boondoggle Films, working out of the Fog Creek office this summer creating a documentary about our summer internships.

As I wrote earlier, "This summer, Fog Creek Software has hired four summer interns from Yale, Duke, and Rose-Hulman. Our selection process was extremely competitive, with over 800 kids applying for only four positions.

"Instead of wasting their talents giving them the usual dull and unimportant tasks of a typical summer internship, we decided to let the interns create a complete new software product, from beginning to end, over the course of one summer. With experienced software developers as mentors, the team will design, program, test, and roll out a complete software product over the course of one hectic summer, going from concept to paying customers in about ten weeks."

Now, I'll be the first to admit that this product will be a 1.0 version... the minimum thing that can possibly work. We've thought long and hard about the amount of code it will take, and we're fairly confident that three interns can get a beta version out in about 4 weeks. One chunk of the project is basically an enhancement to the "fogshop" ecommerce engine; another chunk is a couple of simple features added onto an existing open source program; the third chunk is possibly the simplest sockets-based server you can imagine that still does something useful. Each chunk would be a reasonable programming assignment in Yale CS323 or MIT EECS 6.001 (insiders will recognize these as two of the most challenging programming courses on the planet, but, hey, we hire the kind of people who love challenges).

The fourth intern is going to focus on product marketing so he will be working on a brand name, pricing, the website, advertising, and PR. The product we're building is something we need internally anyway, so it's almost worth the expense even if nobody buys it, but we think it should be useful to a lot of other people, too, so I see this as fairly inexpensive market research.

We'll keep a weblog so you can track the interns' progress, and, if we're lucky, at the end of the summer there will be a DVD documentary you can get to see the whole thing in living color.

Special thanks to Mark Lemmons and his crew at Thought Equity, who have offered to loan us an HDV camera for the production of this movie!

Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

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