Alex Speech

2 minute read

If you work in the software field, then you must read this speech by Alex Stepenov (Principal Scientist, Adobe Systems) at Adobe India on 30 Nov 2004.

He doesn't speak about any out-of-this-world concepts, but simple things that we should remember. It could be summarised as 'Go back to your roots' , but its still a worthy read.

Tip of the hat to Azmi for sending this to me in the first place.

Read the PDF.


Viju says:

Hi, my first time here. Nice geek blog you have. Me not a geek, but have lately become interested in the way the Internet works.

Swaroop C H says:

Hey Viju, Thanks for coming by :)

Pramod says:

Ya..amazing speech that. I came across it sometime last month.

Praveen Bhat says:

My friend sent Alex's speech to me a couple months back and I made the following comments:
--Alex talks of fundamentals everywhere: technical courses, three bad targets in
professional work, life, and also beliefs! Thats quite perfect.
--I do not agree that Donald Knuth's books should be daily reading for *every* programmer;
*some* maybe.
--Do your job for yourself and not your manager is half the statement! It may well have been
put as for yourself and the company you work for. Gita doesn't *really* say so :)
--Improving your code endlessly is a very theoretic approach that doesn't meet the company
goals most times.
--Not looking at the shipping dates is a very unprofessional statement and its ironic that
it finds mention in *ethics*.
--I'd have really found the *confession* on the STL algo to have more weight as an example if STL was still his baby, or if he had modified the algo already. A better example was called for to show: walk the talk.
--I fear that the management argument may not be true. Good managers can love people
and still deal with them, in as much as a good programmer can do so with her manager.
--Arguably, managers are sure to get enough time to do what otherwise a programmer
(seemingly/supposedly) gets.
--Lastly, whoever documented that could've left it to Bill, if not Bill Gates. Putting that as Bill Clinton makes real bad reading! :)

Sriram says:

I really didn't agree with that speech - came across as too 'geek-elitist' to me.

Swaroop C H says:

Hey Praveen,

Most of the stuff he talks about is what we *should* do, it doesn't always make sense in the real world ;) , but then again I imagine myself to live in an Ayn Rand-ish world.....

Swaroop C H says:

Hey Sriram,

What do you mean by 'geek-elitist' ?

Praveen R. Bhat says:

In Ayn Rand's world, why would anyone even want to follow Alex then? Well, just a thought :)

Swaroop C H says:

Because I couldn't find Howard Roark ;)

Swaroop C H says:

Hey Hrish, as I mentioned in the post itself, the speech is [here][1].


Hrish says:

Hey....Came across this a couple of days back...Could you tell me where I can get the full transcript, if possible?