Architecture Astronauts

Joel Spolski, in a vintage 2001 Joel on Software post:

When you go too far up, abstraction-wise, you run out of oxygen. Sometimes smart thinkers just don’t know when to stop, and they create these absurd, all-encompassing, high-level pictures of the universe that are all good and fine, but don’t actually mean anything at all.

These are the people I call Architecture Astronauts. It’s very hard to get them to write code or design programs, because they won’t stop thinking about Architecture. They’re astronauts because they are above the oxygen level, I don’t know how they’re breathing. They tend to work for really big companies that can afford to have lots of unproductive people with really advanced degrees that don’t contribute to the bottom line.

I need to be constantly reminding myself of this. The stuff I write here is often at a pretty high altitude, sometimes near the oxygen level. Just as much as we think about things conceptually we need to focus on the make—actually creating something of meaning and getting things done.