6 Simple Questions for Bob Martin

About one year ago I published a series of interviews called "5 Easy Questions". The answers to those questions came from Steve McConnell, Johanna Rothman, Alistair Cockburn, Robert L. Glass, Scott Berkun and many other celebrities.

Well, almost a year has gone by, and I thought "That was great. Let's do that again!" But this time with different people, and different questions…

Robert C. Martin is the author of many books on Agile Programming, UML, Object-Oriented Programming, and C++ Programming, his latest is called Clean Code. Uncle Bob is one of the software industry's leading authorities on Agile software development and is a regular speaker at international conferences. He is also CEO of ObjectMentor.

These are the six questions I asked Bob, and the answers that he gave me…

1. What has been the most effective motivator for you to do your best work ever?

Bobmartin I am motivated by an intense love of what I do.  I love writing code.  I want to do it all the time.  And I want to do it as well as I possibly can.

I have other passions in my life as well.  My family comes first and foremost.  I love reading about science and technology.  I love riding my bike through the woods on long winding trails.  I also love to teach and speak.  Put me on a stage in front of 10,000 people, and I'll have a ball with them, and they with me. 

But in my professional life, I want to be the best programmer I can be.  It's a matter of pride and passion.

2. What work has been the most difficult for you to delegate to others?

When it comes to my profession, I am a very happy delegator.  There's little or nothing that I need to keep for myself.  Indeed, I may delegate too much.  But I prefer to err on the side of too much delegation, than too little.

3. How would you define the purpose or goal of your work?

To raise the bar for programmers, and to thereby help transform software development into a true profession.  To teach, mentor, collaborate, and be taught by others who share that goal.

4. How have you tried to achieve excellence in the work you do?

Five ways:  Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice.

Oh, and I also read a LOT.

5. Of which one of your failures are you most proud?

In 1983 I, and two others invented "The Electronic Receptionist".  IT was a simple voice mail system that could forward calls to your current location and take messages if you couldn't be found.  We built the hardware and software for this device. We tried desperately to market it.  But we failed horribly.  My company eventually dropped the patent application.  Three months later, the patent was awarded to our competitor who has made gazillions on it.  (sigh).

6. And which of your successes was completely undeserved?

I never had to practice speaking.  I seem to have been born with an ability to get on stage and entertain a crowd.  So for all my success at speaking, it's completely undeserved.

Well, these are the answers given by Uncle Bob. I hope you liked them.

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