The Microsoft Stack Did Not Kill MySpace, People Did

An article on the High Scalability blog provocatively titled Did The Microsoft Stack Kill MySpace? caused a bit of a flap on Hacker News today.

While perusing the article, I immediately remembered highlighting a certain passage from Peopleware, indisputably one of the great classics of our field. I grabbed my copy off the bookshelf and found the passage on page 5 under the heading The High-Tech Illusion:

The main reason we tend to focus on the technical rather than the human side of the work is not because it's more crucial, but because it's easier to do. … Human interactions are complicated and never very crisp and clean in their effects, but they matter more than any other aspect of the work.

If you find yourself concentrating on the technology rather than the sociology, you're like the vaudeville character who loses his keys on a dark street and looks for them on the adjacent street because, as he explains, "The light is better there."