Atwood: I saw you wrote another, well we don't call it a blog because you get angry when you call your writing a blog.
Spolsky: <laughs>, it's not a blog !
Atwood: <laughs>, it's not a blog !
Spolsky: It was an extended tweet.
Atwood: Yes, it was a very very long twitter message about what a program manager does. Correct?
Spolsky: Yeah. 'Cos you know the terms are confusing. Different people use different title for different jobs. People are like.. you know.. "thats just a business analyst plus user interaction designer. Mine is the project manager with a little bit of ... program analyzer in there." and i figure, you know what, I got my own terminology and I am going to use it. And if I can just promulgate this terminology through my blog, then I dont have to accomodate everybody else's word for what they use for that job. I can just impose my ideas on the whole world.
Atwood: Well, I enjoyed it because its one of those jobs where it is really hard to describe what it is, what it does and how it works and its one of those titles thats a little bit generic enough that nobody can really ever figure it out.
Atwood: While you try to find it I want to make one point while you're doing that, which is you wrote up the point of hierarchy, where programmers _love_ hierarchy, to a degree that they don't even understand how different they are than the public in this regard. Like they love putting everything in this little bucket, that goes in this little bucket, which is this sub-bucket of this and this, and normal _hate that. And threading is _totally_ a manifestation of that and it drives me crazy that a lot of programmers can't see that they're like immediately like: "Oh, threading is good. I _love_ threading. What are you _talking_ about?" You know? They can't see it at all.
Spolsky: Right, right.
Atwood: It's like myopia.
Spolsky: Yeh. I mean it's really a function of the size of the group, and one thing I've learned through years and years of usability testing is that anything that smacks of a hierarchy or a tree is _not_ going to be understandable to the average, non-technical user.
Spolsky: You just have to learn that: if it's a tree, or a hierarchy, like eighty per cent of the regular people are going to get confused and not quite get it.