Joel Spolsky

Fog Creek Software

39 minutes, 18.1mb, recorded 2005-07-22
Joel Spolsky
Joel Spolsky is on a mission to encourage better writing in the technical world. Many programmers are not writers and this shows in the documentation, specifications and manuals we all use. In this discussion with Phil Windley, Joel talks about what makes for good writing and why programmers should care.

The writer of the popular weblog Joel on Software has a new book available, which is a compilation of his picks of the best recent writing about software. What makes for good software writing? According to Joel, telling a story and making it funny are keys to compelling writing. Not all writers can be funny, but we can all refrain from making lists of instructions in our documentation and remember that more words != better writing.

In this interview, Joel talks about the history of computer books and how publishers got it all wrong. He provides examples of both great and awful writing, and whether you are a blogger or a programmer who needs to write for work once in a while, he offers great tips for any would-be writer on tech topics.

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Joel Spolsky is a globally-recognized expert on the software development process. His website Joel on Software ( is popular with software developers around the world and has been translated into over thirty languages. As the founder of Fog Creek Software in New York City, he created FogBugz, a popular project management system for software teams. Joel has worked at Microsoft, where he designed VBA as a member of the Excel team, and at Juno Online Services, developing an Internet client used by millions. Joel holds a BS from Yale in Computer Science. Before college he served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a paratrooper, and he was one of the founders of Kibbutz Hanaton.


This free podcast is from our Technometria with Phil Windley series.