Philip Greenspun

Software Engineering
38 minutes, 17.6mb, recorded 2004-03-05
Philip Greenspun has had the same MIT email address since the age of 13, and he's had a profound yet subtle impact on many software developers. His 1999 book, Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing, was an inspiration to many programmers writing server-side code on Unix/Linux platforms. It was one of the first to be published both as a free download and as a traditional book. (Filled with color photos, printed on high-quality coated stock, and weighing in at 3.5 pounds it was also the first computer coffee-table book.)

In this interview with IT Conversations' host Doug Kaye, Philip describes the evolution of his attitudes towards software engineering as manifested in Philip and Alex's Guide and his latest book, Software Engineering for Internet Applications, for a course at MIT where "the goal of the course is that the student finishes knowing how to build by him or herself." (That must be one heck of a semester!)

Oh, and by the way, Philip also built, which receives 10 million hits/day from 400,000 unique visitors each month, and co-founded and ran ArsDigita, a now-defunct website development shop using many of the tools Philip and his associates developed previously. You won't want to miss the story of how the venture capitalists to whom Philip relinquished control of this $20 million profitable company ran it into the ground. There are lessons there for any budding (or experienced) entrepreneur.

This free podcast is from our Behind the Mic series.