The information we have at the time

3 minute read article technology   wisdom   lessons   leadership Comments

Decisions are a part of life. Research shows that we make around 35,000 decisions each day, with over 200 of them being about food.

We decide when to wake up, what to wear, how fast to drive to work (if you still do that kind of thing), what we want from the coffee shop (tea, of course), or how to answer when the Scrum Master on our team asks the silly three questions each morning.

And we make decisions about food, probably the most critical decisions we make each day outside of what music to listen to.

In my job as a software developer, decisions have to be made about what technology to learn and embrace, but more importantly, what technology to ignore. There are the smaller decisions that don’t necessarily have as much impact like which editor to use, whether to use tabs or spaces, Mac or PC, iPhone or Android, and of course, Vim or Emacs (Vim, obviously). Then there are the bigger decisions like which frameworks or “stack” to learn.

I know a prolific React developer who has made the decision to NOT learn Docker because why would he? He lives in the front-end world where it doesn’t make as much sense as it does for those of us living in the back-end. It’s a good decision for him, at least for now.

I have friends who long ago decided that Ruby on Rails was the way to go. It’s been a good decision for them. They know as much about .NET as I do Ruby, which is to say, a little, but nothing substantial.

If I look back over my career, I’ve made lots of good decisions, but I’ve also made my fair share of bad decisions (cough Silverlight cough). I invested in XAML, going all in with WPF, putting off learning “modern” web development for many years. While that made me plenty of money, it was an overall bad decision. It has had an overall negative impact on my career more than almost anything else.

A friend reminded me of something today; that we do the best we can with the information we have available. Back in 2006, WPF seemed like a solid bet, so I took it. In 2008, Silverlight also seemed like a solid bet. Granted, I didn’t invest nearly as much time in Silverlight (thankfully) as I did WPF, but it was enough. I will say that I did avoid the whole LightSwitch debacle.

I was an early adopter of web development, back in the mid-to-late 90s when it was HTML, some CSS, and the tiniest bit of javascript or vbscript. I jumped on the ASP wagon, and dabbled in early ASP.NET, but once I put my stake in the ground and chose WPF as my “independent developer” niche, all bets were off. I actively avoided web projects. It was a concious decision. I even had a conference talk titled, “XAML: So easy a web developer can do it.”

I KNEW things were going on in that other world. All my friends were doing it. They looked at all the information at their disposal, made the decision to ignore XAML and embrace this new, modern web. They talked about npm and yarn and Angular. They talked about jquery and TypeScript and React. I talked about XAML and desktop development. They became “full stack developers.”

I stayed with WPF for several years, only really giving it up when I left independence and started working for The Man in 2014. At that point, I was back in the world of web development, but I was behind. That decision to avoid web for almost 8 years bit me in the ass. So much had changed while I was building XAML-based applications. I struggled. I still feel behind.

Another friend messaged me today with this nugget:

I’m bullish to the extreme on what’s happening right now with gen AI

He’s all in. In fact, as I’m typing this post, he’s messaging me about it and he sounds excited! He’s fired up about it to a level that’s hard to comprehend.


Like many, I’m taking my time with GenAI. I still haven’t made the decision to fully embrace it yet. Sure, I use GitHub Copilot and Microsoft Copilot via Bing for a few things, but not like my friend. He’s jumped in with both feet. I still have questions. I still wonder about the ethical implications.

Should I go all in? I probably should. If I don’t, I’ll be behind again, and that I don’t want.

Decisions, decisions.

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