Funny and critical.Joel gets read a lot by us techies. In part because he's insightful and writes well, in part due to his particular pedigree, and in part because he delights in tweaking us in our soft, contentious places.
In the set of blogs that I self-label as "experience talking to us", I've been reading Joel and have now included the excellent blog Rands In Repose. (Which, I think Ev has linked to before). And one of Rands' latest posts "What To Do When You're Screwed" is a great example - funny and critical.
"Let's first remember that a product development team loses their minds the last month of any significant product development cycle. Really. They're insane. They've been staring at this damned product for so long that they've developed a serious emotional attachment with the bits and that means irrational, goofy behavior that is not based on reality.I love his style. In at least a couple of posts he's reduced project and business states to a single proper-cased word, like Screwed and Heinous, and I've taken these mental abbreviations to heart during the development cycle.
This is you. Mr. Insane Engineering Manager. It's two weeks until your product ships and you are sure there is no way you're going to make it. Your claim is, 'The product is crap'"
Rands is now an important part of my development story, as is Joel. As in "did you read Joel's latest thing about underwear and how that spells the death of MFC programming"? And now, "what's funny is that Rands describes the thing you're doing now as Quasi-Helpful".
And, yes, I'm aware that he's got a post called "Can Google UI?" that questions the user interaction of one of the products I've worked on. But I think the question is a good one to ask, and one I ask daily.