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Joel on Software

2000/05/08

by Joel Spolsky
Monday, May 08, 2000

Human aptitude tends towards the bell curve. Maybe 98% of your friends are smart enough to use a television set. About 70% of them can use Windows. 15% can use Linux. 1% can program. But only 0.1% of them can program in a language like C++. And only 0.01% of them can figure out Microsoft ATL programming.

The effect of this sharp drop-off is that whenever you "lower the bar" by even a small amount, making your program, say, 10% easier to use, you dramatically increase the number of people who can use it, say, by 50%.

Chapter 8 of my UI design series is now online!

News of the vile: Cubicles are getting smaller. The good news? If you're willing to spend more to provide humane office space, you should have no problem recruiting people.

A response to a reader's question on using Excel for schedules: Juggling Tasks in Excel.


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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I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Trello and Fog Creek Software, and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.

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