A Super Heroes Guide To Development – 2. Super Powers


2. Super Powers

Most Super Heroes have at least one special Ability. Something that helps to set them apart. Give them an edge.

The Flash. He’s easy. Speed .. baby, and lots of it.

The Hulk. Super Strength.

Daredevil, Spidey .. they’ve got agility, plus some kind of "Sense".

Supes can fly. So can Storm.

Xavier’s telepathic. As is Jean Grey.

The list goes on. And on.

Do you have a simple grasp of your own abilities?

Some of us might remember Roger Ramjet .. What a wonderful carton. Anyway .. what was his signature power, apart from gross stupidity?

The Proton Energy Pill! It’s a simple example of a clear understanding. As a kid, you knew that Roger couldn’t defeat the evil boss without swallowing the Proton Energy Pill first. It gave him 20 seconds of unrivalled power.

Maybe you can understand cryptology and security better than anyone else. Perhaps it’s your ability to stubbornly refuse to give up. Or that you can see to the heart of the matter at hand, if it be technical, or in terms of business. Maybe you can be true to a single vision. You might be able to juggle multiple jobs.

There are lots of skills and abilities in the world of Development.

Look at Bill Gates. Maybe we could code better than him. Or even envisage an OS that took Windows to the cleaners. But it seems to me that he played to his strengths. Sure, a lot of folk got burned in the process, but Bill Gates knew his abilities. He took hold of opportunity, having a vision. Some people probably thought he was crazy. But even including Google, Bill Gates has yet to be rivaled in terms of his singular success.

Do we dream of mediocrity? Lameness? A half-assed program?

No. We want awesomeness in a bottle. We want to become better and better at whatever it is we do.

And the other side is just as important.

Superman was a hero with many cool powers. But as we all know, Kryptonite made him as weak as a baby. It made him less than a super hero. It was his one weakness.

Know your Kryptonite!

Listing weaknesses wouldn’t be a smart thing to do, since noone likes negativity.

So here goes ..

– Too quick to dismiss another’s opinion, even if it’s wrong
– Too worried about what people think of you
– You can’t let that kind of character assassination go without a fight
– You assassinate people’s characters without hesitation
– Too easily fired up, on the forums, newsgroups, emails .. or even on your blog (heh heh)

But you know .. the biggest weakness in Software Development (really, none of the previous items matter in the light of this) is that we lack passion. We are too scared to jump in a learn new things.

Two years ago I had less than a sheeps dropping idea about real desktop development. I had bashed together some stuff myself .. but it was out of pure imagination rather than knowledge.

Now, I can truly say I’ve worked on some kicking applications.

And I know that in another year my current code now will scare the willies out of me. But that’s cool, really. I like that I’m getting better all the time, and I like that I can continue to learn.

It’s just plain wisdom that when you come to a better understanding of yourself, you can grow. You can increase your powers, enhance your abilities, and even get new abilities .. eliminating weaknesses.

Know your Proton Energy Pill! And know your Kryptonite!

Exercise your huge biceps, your fab abs, make sure your cape gets flight time.

When you know your Super Powers, show them to the world. Get them out there. It’s not enough to simply have them. You have to make them known. Put the ladies on display. As Ron Burgundy says in Anchorman, Give people two tickets to the gun show.

A Super Heroes Guide To Development – 1. Origins


1. Origins

The night is cold. A young man sits alone in a dark room inside a mansion, illumination coming from shards of moonlight through windows high above.

Outwardly he is a prime specimen of mankind. Strong, tall, broad-shouldered. At levels of fitness unknown to all but the most dedicated and abled performers. His mind too is trained beyond that of mortal ken. Intelligence and diligence combined into one.

But blood and chaos hound his steps. His is the pain of loved ones lost to violence. And anger drives him, pushes him, has almost consumed him.

The young man looks for a sign, some kind of symbol. His is a crusade, un-formed and shapeless though it may be at the moment. A crusade of violence against those who would be violent.

A sign.

Of course, most of us have already guessed the individual’s identity, and know his story.

A Super Hero was born that night (technically) when a bat flew through one of the open windows high above. Batman is an iconic hero. Gifted and trained beyond most people’s understanding, but with turmoil boiling away under the surface.

There are many Super Heroes.

Batman. Wolvie. The Phantom. Wonder Woman. The Flash. Robin Hood. King Arthur. The Fantastic Four. Elektra. Harry Potter. The Hulk. Tarzan. Spiderman.

They’ve all got Origin stories. Some are plain for all to see. Some are shrouded in mystery.

The importance of an Origin Story is undeniable.

Your Origin is your background. It’s where you came from, what made you the way you are.

When you understand where you come from you can better know where you are going and why. You can understand what inspires you and why.

The challenge from this point is a little off kilter, but then hopefully most of the points are the same.

Get an Origin Story, if you don’t already have one. Whether crafted from the bare fabric of reality, or from the hidden depths of your imagination. Have an Origin Story ready to whip out when it’s needed. Show it on your website. Send it out in a newsletter. Spread it far on a special podcast. Make it into a song. Write a book.

It might be about your company. It could be about you, the individual. Even for your product.

If you already have origin stories, then get them reviewed. Perhaps they need some embellishment. Dragons are always good value, as are busty warrior women. Or hunky warriors with bare chests hanging off the side of a boat. Why do all Barbara Cartlan novels have that guy on the cover?

Get an Origin Story!

A Super Heroes Guide To Development – Intro


Good morning everyone. Before we begin, I’d just like to say that any really funny parts of this talk are from the wonderful mind of my wife, Rach. She cast her expert eye over my talk, and turned it from mush into steak.

Let’s pretend we’re playing that American game called Jepardy.


– Rippling Muscles

– Huge Breasts

– External Underwear

– Capes


– Things that will win you a Karaoke Contest

– Things that remind you of the singer Meatloaf

– Things that make you think of Software Development ..
Not Generally

They are, of course, attributes of Super Heroes. Although they seem worlds apart, Software Developers and Super Heroes actually share a lot in common. Seriously.

Incidentally, here’s some images that should make you think of Software Development .. [show the piccies of Bruce + Geoff]


Let’s jump right in and take a look at A Super Heroes Guide To Development.

A Super Heroes’ Guide To Development, And A Clarion Love Song

Well. Dave has put the song up on YouTube. I’ve also uploaded the talk in PDF and DOC format.

I’ll be posting up my talk in points per post. These will be much more exciting than the file, which doesn’t have the comics in it :). These should begin in a couple of days. I still have two more posts about the DevCon to get done.

Have At It!

A Super Heroes’ Guide To Development


A Clarion Love Song