Joel Spolsky: Being Number One

How come you can recognise the tune of the number one song of 1968 as being Hey Jude by the Beatles, but not the number two song?

  • Why has the iPod had the success that the Zune has been denied?
  • Why are Herman Miller chairs cool, but their functionally equivalent competitors lame?
  • Why is Ruby hip but Java square?
  • Why are clean code, usability and basic marketing just hygiene factors?
  • How come they can get you to the number two spot, but not to number one?

In this video from Business of Software 2008, Joel explains the three important factors behind getting to number one. Along the way, he talks about anthropology, psychology, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.


Joel Spolsky
Joel Spolsky

Joel Spolsky

Avram Joel Spolsky (born 1965) is a software engineer and writer. He is the author of Joel on Software, a blog on software development.

He was a Program Manager on the Microsoft Excel team between 1991 and 1994. He later founded Fog Creek Software in 2000 and launched the Joel on Software blog. In 2008, he launched the now-successful Stack Overflow programmer Q&A site in collaboration with Jeff Atwood.

Using the Stack Exchange software product which powers Stack Overflow, The Stack Exchange Network now hosts over 100 Q&A sites.

More from Joel.


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