The Early Adopters

Several years ago, Salon.com had a contest for the motto for Silicon Valley. Maurice Herlihy1 won with the slogan “Quality is Job 1.1.” Maurice’s slogan is certainly clever (and disconcertingly accurate at times), but one of the honorable mentions actually struck me as being truer to Silicon Valley: Eli Neiburger’s “God bless the early adopters.” If you have ever developed a revolutionary technology — one that requires people to change the way they think at some level — you know how unbelievably true this is. For it is the Early Adopter who puts up with tremendous pain to get their hands on a technology, goes through the tedium of constantly communicating the technology’s shortcomings to its inventors, endures the slow march towards something usable, and through it all somehow finds the energy to talk enthusiastically about the nascent technology at every opportunity. The Early Adopters are something of a riddle to me, but they’re so incredibly important to birthing new technology, that I almost view it as uncouth to dissect what makes them tick. So “God bless the early adopter,” indeed. There is no better slogan for Silicon Valley; you were robbed, Eli.

I bring all of this up because one of the great DTrace Early Adopters, Jon Haslam, has joined the Sun blogmania. Jon is a canonical Early Adopter in that he remained a terrific advocate for the technology, even when it was in a painfully unfinished state. We sometimes don’t understand what makes Jon tick, but DTrace certainly wouldn’t be what it is without him; God bless him…


1Maurice was actually a professor of mine at school; his course on lock- and wait-free synchronization was one of the highlights of my education. The course was a seminar, and one week the low quality of that week’s paper led me to decry the generally woeful state of academic computer science: “Maurice,” I whined, “95% of it is crap!” “Bryan,” he replied, “95% of everything is crap.” I conceded the point…

Posted on June 17, 2004 at 10:38 pm by bmc · Permalink
In: Solaris

3 Responses

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  1. Written by Anonymous
    on June 19, 2004 at 9:09 pm
    Permalink

    Yes, but have you ever kissed a girl?

  2. Written by Michael Fuller
    on June 24, 2004 at 5:58 pm
    Permalink

    > “Bryan,” he replied, “95% of everything is crap.”
    This, of course, is a re-statement of Sturgeon’s Law. From the Jargon File:
    “Theodore Sturgeon [...] once said, “Sure, 90% of science fiction is crud. That’s because 90% of everything is crud.”"

  3. Written by Michael Fuller
    on June 24, 2004 at 5:58 pm
    Permalink

    > “Bryan,” he replied, “95% of everything is crap.”
    This, of course, is a re-statement of Sturgeon’s Law. From the Jargon File:
    “Theodore Sturgeon [...] once said, “Sure, 90% of science fiction is crud. That’s because 90% of everything is crud.”"

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