Using Lisp to beat your Competition

Andrew Maizels andrew at
Wed May 2 10:45:11 EDT 2001

Bjorn Pettersen wrote:

> This was just posted on slashdot and has some interesting insights (Python
> is mentioned a couple of times too).

The article could just as well be called "Using High Level Languages and
Top Flight Programmers to Beat Your Competition".

There are two real key points made: high level languages (Lisp, Python,
Smalltalk, Ruby) allow you to write and debug code faster than low level
languages (Java, C, C++).  It isn't a "silver bullet", but it can speed
up the development process as much as 5 times.

Second, the two programmers involved (the article writer and his friend)
are top flight programmers, the ones who write the books that the
average programmer never reads.  The best programmers can be *10 times*
as productive as the average programmer - more in some studies.

[The worst programmers have negative productivity - taking up more of
other people's time than they save through their own efforts.  I've
worked with some of these.  Ugh.]

Combine the two factors, and two hotshots working in their language of
choice can outrun 50 plodders hacking away in the corporate-mandated
language of fashion.

Unfortunately, there's a shortage of hotshots and an endless supply of
plodders, and if you have just the two hotshots, your Bus Number is
alarmingly low.  [The number of programmers that would need to be run
over by buses to wipe out your project.]

There's only one game in town.
You can't win.
You can't break even.
You can't quit the game.		-- The four laws of thermodynamics.

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