O’Reilly to Software Developers – Get Serious

kinnon —  October 10, 2008 — 2 Comments

Via the LATimes Blogs,

Computer-book publishing magnate Tim O’Reilly is urging young geeks to stop making software that lets you throw sheep at your friends on Facebook or drink beer on your iPhone and to instead start making a difference in the world. He is daring them, in the words of James Collins and Jerry Porras, authors of the business classic “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies,” to take on “big, hairy, audacious goals.”

The post goes on to quote from an LATimes article

O’Reilly argues that Silicon Valley has strayed from the passion and idealism that fuel innovation to instead follow what he calls the “mad pursuit of the buck with stupider and stupider ideas.”

Flush with money and opportunity following the post-dot-com resurgence, he says, some entrepreneurs have cocooned in a “reality bubble,” insulated from poverty, disease, global warming and other problems that are gripping the planet. He argues that they should follow the model of some of the world’s most successful technology companies, including Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which sprang from their founders’ efforts to “work on stuff that matters.”

Perhaps the church could listen to this as well. And rather than creating locations in Second Life and software to measure church metrics (Good Grief!), we could take that expertise and focus on dealing with some real issues that impact the planet.

I live in shock realizing that Western Christians are praying that the Lord will bless falling markets whilst we have continued to ignore the plight of the rest of the world. We build bigger and bigger buildings to serve our supposed needs, whilst thousands of children die daily for lack of clean water and simple meds. We ask God to bless the $700 Billion dollar buyout – while a fraction of that amount would solve the drinking water issues in much of Africa.

The late Keith Green echoes in my head, “Bless Me, Lord, Bless Me, Lord. That’s all I ever hear!”

UPDATE: I’m so sorry. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been so harsh if I’d read Al Mohler who says,[via]

The free market is not perfect, but capitalism has brought more wealth to more people than any other system. It rewards investment, labor, and thrift and rises on innovation. Better ideas and better products push out inferior ideas and inferior products. Given the reality of human sin, we should not centralize economic control in the hands of the few, but distribute economic power to the many. A free market economy distributes power to multitudes of workers, inventors, investors, and consumers.

No economy is perfect, but the American economy remains a marvel. The present crisis is an opportunity to rethink some basic questions and restore trust. There are no easy ways out of a crisis like this, and no painless solutions. Yet, would you trade this system for any other?

And, in case you were wondering, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., serves as the ninth president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

2 responses to O’Reilly to Software Developers – Get Serious

  1. I’ll second O’Reilly’s charge. I’m almost ready to quit Facebook because of the silly applications.

  2. Bill,
    thank you for that amendment to your post. I am so very heartbroken that so many in my country have abused our economic system and gone for the “buck” instead of the beauty of innovation and creativity that brings about goodness and wholeness to others. I pray hourly, these days, that we repent and that our system is preserved ,and reformed…not overthrown!


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