Why do we build software?

I just finished watching season 6 of  the TV series Silicon Valley. If you’re unfamiliar with the show it follows the erratic story of Pied Piper. Pied Piper is an IT company founded in Silicon Valley by a couple of antisocial software developers. I recommend you watch the TV series to learn the rest of the story if you haven’t already.

I want to talk about the finale episode in particular. Despite its flaws and despite the fact that I skipped some parts of the episode it really resonated with me. The finale presents two timelines. The first timeline takes place during the present day. The second timeline takes place 10 years after the events of the show. We are presented with a documentary of sorts that tries to explain what happened to Pied Piper and its founders. If you are still on the fence about watching the show Bill Gates made a cameo during this last episode and is a big fan of the show in general. Don’t take my word for it, check out Bill Gates’ blog where he talks about the show – https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Silicon-Valley  

During this so-called documentary we see how each member of the team moved on with their lives after Pied Piper. Our heroes are a bit older, wiser but still fond of each other and the strong bond they built over the 6 years they worked together.  

What really struck a chord with me was watching them reminiscing of the time they spent together building software that they believed in. They trusted that the product they were creating would benefit the world and they forged strong friendships in the process. I don’t know about you but that sounds like the dream to me. As a developer I want to create software that adds value to the world. Seeing the main cast being proud of the work they did makes me want to build software that has a positive impact on people’s lives. I know that it sounds cheesy but I want to be like them one day. To look back on the great projects that I once built with my peers. It doesn’t matter if the impact we had with our software was small or if we are forgotten after a couple of years. All that it matters to me is to know that at some point we built something awesome together that other people used happily.  

This show contains many hilarious scenes, inside jokes and epic quotes. Despite the show’s ending being one last joke I was surprised by the ending that the characters received during the documentary (always blue). I hope that at one point we will also create something of such value that a documentary will be created to keep its memory alive.
 
What do you want to build? Why do you want to build it?

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