Coding Horror

programming and human factors


A little over a month ago, I announced that I was quitting my job. But there was also something else I didn't fully announce.

But I refuse to become a full-time blogger. I think that's a cop-out. If I look at the people I respect most in the industry, the people I view as role models-- Paul Graham, Joel Spolsky, Steve Yegge, Eric Sink, Rich Skrenta, Marc Andreesen, Wil Shipley, Douglas Crockford, Scott Guthrie -- they all have one thing in common. They're not just excellent writers and communicators. They build stuff, too. The world has enough vapid commentary blogs. I want to build stuff-- and talk about it. I have a little micro-ISV startup opportunity I'll be working on, a web property I'm building out with one of the above people. I'm not ready to announce the details yet, but when I do, you'll read about it here.

The "building stuff", as you helped us determine, is It's a small company Joel Spolsky and I are founding together.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might find this pairing strange. It's true that I've been critical of Joel in the past. And it is sort of funny that I own the number one image search result and a top 10 search result for Joel Spolsky. Good thing Joel has a sense of humor.

Occasionally I'll meet readers, or get emails from readers, who tell me that they enjoy my blog... and oh-by-the-way they strongly disagree with a few things I've said. Their phrasing clearly implies that they think there's something wrong with this. Well, there isn't. I'm here to tell you that occasional disagreement is healthy and normal. If you agree with everything I write here, why would you bother reading? At that point, we're the same person. I distrust people who agree with me all the time. I want someone to push back and encourage me to question my assumptions.

I admire what Joel has created. He was one of the earliest programming bloggers, and certainly one of the first I found that helped me realize the kind of positive influence writing could have on my fellow programmers. He is very much living the dream: he founded a company with the express intent of not cashing out with VC money, but creating a sustainible place where programmers can have fun while programming useful stuff. It's an honor to have the opportunity to work closely with Joel, and to combine the collective power of our two communities.

So what is stackoverflow?

From day one, my blog has been about putting helpful information out into the world. I never had any particular aspirations for this blog to become what it is today; I'm humbled and gratified by its amazing success. It has quite literally changed my life. Blogs are fantastic resources, but as much as I might encourage my fellow programmers to blog, not everyone has the time or inclination to start a blog. There's far too much great programming information trapped in forums, buried in online help, or hidden away in books that nobody buys any more. We'd like to unlock all that. Let's create something that makes it easy to participate, and put it online in a form that is trivially easy to find.

Are you familiar with the movie pitch formula?

Stackoverflow is sort of like the anti-experts-exchange (minus the nausea-inducing sleaze and quasi-legal search engine gaming) meets wikipedia meets programming reddit. It is by programmers, for programmers, with the ultimate intent of collectively increasing the sum total of good programming knowledge in the world. No matter what programming language you use, or what operating system you call home. Better programming is our goal.

Of course, there's more to it than that. Joel and I are recording our weekly calls and releasing them as podcasts. Listen to us describe our vision for stackoverflow in our own words -- just head over to to download the first 46 minute episode. We're even taking questions, if you submit them in the form of audio recordings.

Written by Jeff Atwood

Indoor enthusiast. Co-founder of Stack Overflow and Discourse. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Find me here: