Why are engineers so bad at paying other engineers for their work? If we can afford spending $50 on pizza and beer for a late night of coding, then we can afford spending $50 a month for a logging service. Yet something is keeping us from just paying for that service. I believe it starts with us consistently undervaluing our own time, which leads to us undervaluing other engineers’ time. We can see this in the way we treat open source software (OSS) projects. We’re damn near abusive. From the lack of paying to the horrific displays of disrespect shown in the issues and pull requests, there’s a complete lack of respect for the engineering time put in to these projects. I believe this stems from an inability to appreciate our costs and specifically how expensive building and maintaining systems is. One problem is, to us, it can feel cheap and easy to build. Coding is what we do. We like it and often prefer doing it over anything else. I’d often rather write code than talk to other humans. Unfortunately, this causes us to overvalue our own abilities while undervaluing our costs.
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