a companion discussion area for blog.codinghorror.com

Why I'm The Best Programmer In The World*


dont know how to translate into english,… but:

Only stupid people think they are smart.
Because smart people know how much there is to know.
Smart people know they are stupid.

anyway, good post jeff.


Being humble is key to improvement.if you don’t want to suck forever be humble. :slight_smile:


“Only stupid people think they are smart.”

Smart people agree that they are stupid… and consider others even more stupid. :slight_smile:


does anyone know where dijkstra used this
"Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea which could only have originated in California." i’d like to see the context;) it is supposed to be his words. i was not able to find it anywhere.


Uhhh… I read your twitter. That’s not spam, man.


Programmers tend to expect a rule of thumb for everything, sometimes failing to understand that it is not a matter of ALWAYS saying “I know” or “I don’t know”. While humbleness is an admirable attribute, one doesn’t have to be always modest; instead, I think it’s more important to know your own limits and be honest with your assessments.

This reminded me of an interesting article from Harwell Thrasher in which he identifies four different learning stages he does a good job on breaking down the whole idea of “we don’t know what we don’t know” and so on, reinforcing the importance of being constantly learning.

(excuse my little fan moment) Jeff, I enjoy reading your posts a lot! Thanks for giving us good stuff to think about!


That bizzare comment looks like it came from someone playing with the surrealist compliment generator:


It’s probably something that tries to subvert the anti-spam stuff, but if there were no URL’s in there then no idea why it was sent, unless the perpetrator was just seeing if they could get past the gatekeeper.


“I don’t know but I know how to find out” got me a job making TV commercials for a multinational Ad agency in the 90’s.

A modest level of confidence and no BS has always served me well and when it didn’t, hell I didn’t belong there anyway.


The prob is…
When I said 'I dont know’
I really dont know
Will you still take me then?
I think egoistic and confident are two different things.
So it is better 'I think it can be done, just let me try’
Explorative, dont you think so?


I don’t know functional programming, and I use to get confused with my own ideas :frowning:


Being humble or that " I don’t know " attitude does not guarantee that one should be any better programmer. But at least being humble would leverage more possible potential to learn more or dig in to the subject more.Concentrating at the intricacies of the computing applications across many distant, wide and futuristic verticals , by one person , would rather be an exhaustive and daunting task, so its difficult to say who the best programmer is.Nevertheless , there have been quite a few people who have changed the face of our life altogether,by developing great applications and practical ideas - should be the good contenders to this list, but who outweighs the rest and emerge to be the winner- let them battle out themselves.


I’m VERY arrogant,
I’m VERY condescending,
I’m VERY intellectually conceited,
I’m constantly belittling the mental laziness of others,
and I’m ashamed of how often I find myself referring to others as monkeys.

But I’m also the most ruthlessly honest adult person I’ve ever known personally (closely). I never misrepresent my skills, or knowledge. That goes for everything in general, but also of programming. I freely admit, my knowledge and skills in programming are woefully inadequate for a person who has been programming at least 10 years now, to earn his living.

This doesn’t make me all THAT unique, but there’s more to it. There’s a horrible irony to my condition.

I happen to be a life-time student, having found myself more comfortable in academia than elsewhere. And I’ve been paying for my decades of useless “book-larnin” by working with computers and software as I mentioned above. So you’d think that I’d be quite proficient in at least one compiled language by now, right? — wrong! Other than a small handful of ultr-small projects I did WITH HELP FROM OTHERS, I couldn’t program my way out of a wet paper bag, in any compiled language (and I’m including .NET here). I’m still stuck googling my way through each and every line of code I ever write, even simple VBscripts and such. I’m like a spineless suck-up whenever I meet a person with “real programming” skills, trying to earn points with them, for the inevitable day I’ll need serious help.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling less self-destructive than usual, I might blame the constant backlog of senseless basic ‘support’ stuff I do, which mental midgets lump together in the same barrel as fun ‘tough’ things, that are more dynamic or interactive, but usually lower priority (and may just get abandoned altogether, as a result).

But there is no doubt, a huge part of the problem is that I can’t recall the syntactical grammar of languages. I think maybe it’s partially genetic – that I’ve got crappy memory, despite deep capacity for understanding and analysis. But it’s also exaggerated by my life-long insomnia and related susceptibility to distraction. Maybe I’m just prone to multi-tasking mania?

I can’t even remember my Google Voice number, which is on every single one of my emails (of which I send many, per day). I’ve stopped at least 3 times now, and repeated it to myself thinking “now, don’t forget it again!”.

Many eons ago, as a young undergrad student, I bought some crazy big memory “systems” (like audio tapes and stuff) to help me improve my memory — at prob at that time, was 2nd year organic chemistry formulas, and other stuff. Nope. Didn’t help one bit. I had to really struggle over the easy memorization stuff, but the complex folding stuff was cake! I taught myself differentials and integrals (calculus) in 3 days by reading a short book on it over the weekend when I found out that my 2nd year physics class required it, and of course, I aced that class as if I actually had that pre-req. But then, that stuff all connects together, in the ONLY way possible, like a puzzle where no other logical piece can fit. It virtually constructs itself, like the flow of a story.

So why can’t random rules governing glyphs algorithms imprint on my memory? Am I really to be expected to create some crazy story linking together the components, for EVERY SINGLE string of symbols or rules I meet, from here to eternity? What dark angel has planned this for me, to be without employable skills worth a reasonably high rate, in any field other than technology, and yet, at this late hour of my life, I cannot recall those silly patterns that govern arbitrarily the names, numbers, and their order in synthetic taxonomies?

And, if you’ve made it this far through this enormous comment, there’s one last cherry on the top. Despite the paradoxical lack of programming skills I find myself trying to scrape a living out of, constantly undermined by a colossal ego, and stupidly honest tongue, I LOVE TO PROGRAM SOFTWARE CODE. Crazy huh? I think if I really desperately needed to (if my kids need surgery or something), I could resort to wearing a suite and tie, go around telling innocent ‘white lies’, and make lots of cash like the monkeys I poke fun at. But I don’t think that would be as fun. It’s almost like an addiction, the initial problem, followed by the grudging relentless pursuit to unravel the “how” and the final unveiling of the working code.


My search engine is the greatest app on any planet.
It gives me random access to my video audio pictures and text.

To be the greatest they have to have a long list of achievements.

My 2nd greatest program was a simple data dump that I used at least 500+ times when doing ETL for CableSystem and Telephone billing conversions.

It is extremely simple and shows newbies a better program than the “hello world”

See “nobody shares knowledge better than this” That is what computing is all about. You can’t share anything unless it is organized like mine.


If stupid people think they are smart, and Smart people realize that they are stupid, then they are smart. Or… umm… — Stack Overflow —


I learned this about a month ago, during tech interview for a really strong company. They asked me to refactor my code to make it more efficient, I didn’t know how to do it and started coding some kind of mess… so I was sincere: “Look, I’m writting a mess, I don’t know how to do this in a right way, but I would love to learn how to do it”.
Surprise for me… I got the job, and their senior devs pointed specially to my very good attitude during interviews.

Now I read this post and kind of understand what happened.


This is a nice read! When I encounter a situation where I am not familiar with the challenge I usually say “I don’t know, but I can try to/will figure it out”.