Literature has been a great love of mine for as long as I can remember. I started with The Time Warp Trio, graduating to A Series of Unfortunate Events (yes, I have had a very sophisticated palate since I was a kid) and then to the classics, with which I instantly fell in love.
Not only do I love the books, but I get wrapped up learning about their authors. An understanding of his or her life, principles, struggles and time add another layer to the stories for me.
John Steinbeck & Machine Code
Steinbeck, with his deep desire for a return to the roots and constant quest for the world in its rawest form, would learn to program software in its rawest form — using machine code. He would toy around with the modern languages and frameworks, and be able to use them, quite eloquently none the less. Ultimately, though, Steinbeck would find that he wants to remove these layers between himself and his work in its most unaffected state, and work directly with machine code.
Louisa May Alcott & AI
Alcott was a visionary, far ahead of her own time. Uninhibited by the constraints of what is and thoroughly focused on what could be, Alcott would be pioneering the world of artificial intelligence. Through her progressive ideas on society, its fundamental pieces and most basic dynamics, she would see with clarity a world in which machines can think, learn, communicate, and even feel. Alcott would then go on to write her famed novel Little Robots in defense of this, which Greta Gerwig would one day make a movie of and get snubbed on a Best Director nomination for.
Tom Wolfe & The Cloud
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is one of my favorite books, but it’s definitely… out there. As was the cloud, when it first came on the scene. Ask yourself this — outside of the engineers and technically oriented professionals that you know, does anyone really understand what the cloud is? Wolfe, thriving in the intangible, the surreal, and the magical, would flourish working in and with the Cloud. This opportunity to build a new ecosystem, one that to most people cannot be seen or touched but just felt and interacted with, one that to the average person feels like magic, would be too good to pass up.
Ernest Hemingway & Ruby on Rails
Hemingway, known for his direct and practical style of writing, would gravitate to the no-nonsense Ruby on Rails. Simple as this language may seem, its simplicity does not at all detract from its readiness to create the next Goliath. With Ruby on Rails he could (and would) build the next Air B n B or Hulu, much like this style in Hemingway’s literary writing brought us The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms (one of my all time favorites).
Harper Lee & Go
Lee knew that we as humans could be and could do better than we were in her time (not that I can’t still say the same in our time). She saw this and demanded more, unwilling to settle with what society had to offer. This disenchantment would make her Brin and Page’s first call upon deciding to create a new programming language. This shared discontent of what is, and awareness that it just isn’t working and just isn’t OK, would ultimately lead to the creation of Go — a language built on a vision of the future — as well as the story of Atticus Finch.
J.D. Salinger & COBOL
What produced a handful of incredibly important works, disappeared some time in the 60s, and left all of us now desperately searching for more of it in 2020? J.D. Salinger… and COBOL (basically). The two walked parallel paths, making COBOL the clear choice for Salinger as a software engineer. If only back in the day the two of them could have just kept going, we might have more than The Catcher in the Rye, Franny & Zooey, and a suboptimal pandemic relief infrastructure.
Truman Capote & Java
A mind that can think up and articulate both Breakfast at Tiffany’s and also In Cold Blood would need a programming language capable of supporting equal versatility. For this reason, Capote would be drawn to work with Java. Java’s platform independence (ability to run on any operating system) gives Capote the mobility he needs to grow in many different directions. Java allows him to keep from getting boxed into just one space, no matter how much success he may have in it.
Ursula K. Le Guin, C++ & VR
Le Guin would want to use her engineering skills to bring her fantastical sci-fi worlds to (tech) life. To accomplish this, she would start with C++. With C++, Le Guin would design and create her visions of the Hainish Universe and Earthsea. This would naturally progress from building out interactive games to actually architecting these worlds in virtual reality for her readers to enter into and experience themselves.
Jack London & Kubernetes
London originally brought us one of my absolute favorite books, The Call of the Wild, in short pieces as a serial publication in a magazine. If he could create this masterpiece in such a way, he would undoubtedly thrive working with Kubernetes and microservices. The ability to focus on, manage, design and create one piece of his overall vision at a time, implementing as it comes to him, is a natural fit for London’s process.
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