Hacker Career Advice

Old Reliable Tech

During a meetup in New York City, we learned that until recently, a certain well known publisher of listicles and viral cooking videos used Perl on the back end. Not Node, RoR, Python, or even PHP, just straight up Perl. I mean cgi-bin, web counter, and GeoCities-era Perl.

Why would a modern tech company, founded in 2006, use such an “outdated” stack? (Rails was created in 2004 and jQuery hit the interwebs in ‘05)

Because it was reliable, enabling the engineering team to experiment quickly and ship new features with confidence.

They also knew it was well supported and that they’d be able to find new engineers who knew or could pick it up quickly.

Of course, as their business has evolved, so has their stack. Engineers learn new frameworks & tech and evaluate them everyday. Some will make the cut and others won’t, but this publisher is committed to using tools the team can rely on, together.

The point is, you have to balance your desire to use shiny new tech with your business needs & reliability. Start with a small project (maybe a hackathon?) that helps you build confidence in a method or tech and then scale it up!


© 2018 Neal Shyam