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When do you stop starting again?

Is it the 'latest and greatest' or the 'old is gold' proverb that holds true when it comes to new vs legacy technologies? Stevie Mayhew doesn't think they have to be mutually exclusive, or does he?

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When Do You Stop Starting Again was the presentation given by Stevie Mayhew, the CTO of Little Giant, at StripeCon NZ 2017. In this blog post he rambles even further off topic than usual.

I'm a big fan of innovative ideas. I'm a big fan of interesting technology. I am huge fan of being bold. And a great proponent of taking a risk.

But I'm also excited by the tried and true. I prefer the cutting edge to the bleeding edge. I think that stability trumps excitement.

These may seem like opposing views to take, and it can be hard to understand why these conflicting ideologies arise.

'Old is gold' or 'latest and greatest'?

As technologists, we are tempted by shiny new tools each and every day. It’s so important that we temper the fantastical with the functional and ensure we give clients the best of both worlds. It’s about building in the frameworks and systems to ensure you consistently deliver value, while celebrating and embracing new technologies.

In technology, you also need to frame the word "new" slightly differently than in other business areas, to ensure that your amazing team has the ability to celebrate what are often long, demanding periods of development using technology they may not have put into a production environment before. When you finally do get something into a production environment you need to be able to celebrate this for the massive achievement it is.

Having systems and processes to effectively introduce new systems and processes is important. The framework you use for vetting new technology should be robust and your company should have an equally robust process. Don't just grab for the latest fad; ensure you understand why it’s needed and also the complexity involved in introducing something new into your systems. Make sure you have the support around you to be able to successfully get to your end goal - an innovative solution in production.

The latest and greatest or old is gold

Conclusion?

There are millions of ideas out there, and the difference between a good and bad one is often the time spent figuring out its viability. Stay cynical of things you haven't tried before, but open to the benefits they might offer. Don't throw out something because it’s old, throw it out because there’s something better - and yes, maybe newer. But then again, maybe not.

To see Stevie's full presentation on this topic watch the video below

About the author
Stevie Mayhew

Stevie is Chief Technology Officer at Little Giant. He is a long time user of, and contributor to, the SilverStripe Open Source offerings.

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