Joel Ray Holveck <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
| > One point I'm getting at is that if the technical aspects of these
| > applications can't be discussed publicly, it's much more difficult for
| > them to be hyped publicly, and, more importantly, much more difficult
| > for them to be shared. That's Bad for the Lisp community, Bad for
| > Lisp's market share.
| Harlequin's "Myths and Legends" paper (I may have that title wrong;
| poke around on lisp.org) makes a similar claim: that companies that
| use Lisp keep it under wraps, because they feel that they have a
| competitive advantage.
Paul Grahamis is very explicit about this w.r.t. to ViaWeb
(a.k.a. Yahoo! Store). From his arrticle "Beating the Averages"
The Secret Weapon
If other companies didn't want to use Lisp, so much the better.
It might give us a technological edge, and we needed all the help
we could get.
Our hypothesis was that if we wrote our software in Lisp, we'd
be able to get features done faster than our competitors, and
also to do things in our software that they couldn't do.
It must have seemed to our competitors that we had some kind of
secret weapon-- that we were decoding their Enigma traffic or
something. In fact we did have a secret weapon, but it was simpler
than they realized. No one was leaking news of their features
to us. We were just able to develop software faster than anyone
And so, I'm a little embarrassed to say, I never said anything
publicly about Lisp while we were working on Viaweb. We never
mentioned it to the press, and if you searched for Lisp on our Web
site, all you'd find were the titles of two books in my bio. This
was no accident. A startup should give its competitors as little
information as possible. If they didn't know what language our
software was written in, or didn't care, I wanted to keep it that
Now many might say he made up for his silence later, but at the time...
Rob Warnock, 30-3-510 <email@example.com>
SGI Network Engineering <http://www.rpw3.org/>
1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy. Phone: 650-933-1673
Mountain View, CA 94043 PP-ASEL-IA
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