Bob the Builder and the Cloud
How the Developer Subculture is Going Mainstream
How the developer subculture is becoming mainstream.
How the subculture of developers is becoming the new leading social culture with the help of cloud hyperscalers. Or what I learned at the AWS Summit about Bob the Builder as a key resource of our time.
Developer as a key resource
I have been active in the cloud environment for four years now, but with the systemic perspective of an organization and strategy developer. My motivation to "retrain" for cloud was based on a simple strategic analysis:
- All business models are digitizing in some form.
- Digitization means that essential elements of value creation are becoming software.
- The cloud ensures that all IT disciplines will sooner or later disappear behind software applications.
If this logical conclusion is correct, then those employees will become the key to success who let the software come into being - i.e. the developers. (A short digression on our own account: surprisingly, we are also looking for developers).
And what does this have to do with Bob The Builder?
So software developers are the key resources of our time. Key resources are usually scarce. And scarce resources - whether they know it or even want it - have a certain power. They are courted, they are dealt with, their jargon is adopted.
The power of key resources - in other words, developers have the "superpower" of our time.
And this is where Bob the Builder comes in: The term "hacker" is hardly used anymore, sometimes you still hear about "coders". Today, software developers see themselves as builders, as master builders of the brave new age. That's much more accurate: Not only do they do their build at the end of the day. They are the ones creating our brave new world. They build the software behind Google and Facebook, behind Zalando and Otto. They also build the software that you don't see right away: The software that virtualizes servers and makes millions of admins redundant. And they abstract even the virtual servers down to the level of platform services. And they, in turn, become ... you guess what happens next. And it's always software.
Through the eyes of Bob the Builder, everything is a huge, big and wonderful construction site. With lots of exciting tasks and ever new, ever bigger, ever more powerful devices. And the cloud is now the most powerful tool that Bob can use to try out his ideas all over the world within seconds.
The world as a sandbox
Developers have fueled the rise of cloud hyperscalers like AWS and Microsoft with a spirit of play and discovery. And they, in turn, are now using their multi-billion dollar marketing pots to promote the culture of builders. Microsoft calls its biggest conference simply "Build." That's where it then promotes its new toys - er - cloud services: Build something with Blockchain. Or Artificial Intelligence. Here, look, you can use it to call your hairdresser without making a phone call yourself. Or look, we have a quantum computer with a web interface (it really exists!), wouldn't that be something for you?
The world as a sandbox: Let's do epic shit.
Amazon says: "Hire builders and let them build". A clear message to the old world. Stop with your business cases, your strategic planning rounds, your billable hours. Let the builders build their "Epic Shit". Let them develop their "minimum lovable products." By the time your assistants have coordinated a deadline, we'll be done. And if we don't like the result, we've learned something and just try again. Fail fast, learn fast.
And nice offices please. And please choose your computer freely. So a Surface or a Mac - as long as it's not one of those gray, scraggly things. And free choice of tools - Bob the builder chooses his tools himself.
From subculture to leading culture
In the 1990s, until the financial crisis, it was still the banks and the large traditional corporations that spread their ideas about the world and determined the discourse with their (financial) charisma, their shareholder value, their business plans, their peanuts and "mergers made in heaven. The IT industry still had to cope with the .com bankruptcy. But back then, there was still classic IT with monolithic software, with real computers and cables, with large and long-running projects.
Only with cloud hyperscalers and new, decentralized software architectures did the builders' toys get so big that they had the superpower to build the epic shit. Then they took over the financial world and now they are changing our society - the Builders.