inessential by Brent Simmons


My site and Sheila’s site are both two years old today. Happy birthday!

Here’s my first post; here’s hers.

Sometimes, for a mental exercise, I like to think about things backwards.

Think of composers and their elaborate process of forgetting songs. Hours spent at the ivories, patiently sucking notes out of the air and into their piano, until no one knows their music anymore.

War, of course, is excellent when played backwards. Injured people become whole as brave infantrymen retrieve their hand grenades, put the pins back on, and store them away somewhere safe and far away. The dead rise and return to their families, remembering nothing of their muddy ordeal.

I’ve imagined doing software backwards—and it almost works. Backwards 1.0 has a ton of great features. With each release it has fewer features, until, one day, it’s down to its core, the bare few features that make it a killer app. (It reminds me of Mark Twain famously saying that he didn’t have time to write a short letter.)