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Why Software Developers Shouldn't Run for Congress

Over on his blog, Clay Johnson gives five reasons why software developers ought to run for Congress:

1. They're underrepresented. (Similarly, so are people without college degrees, so perhaps they ought to run too.)

2. Congress could use their expertise. For example, think about the more-than-1000-page Stimulus Bill. Not only does it monkey in an unintended-consequences kind of way with multi-billion-dollar swaths of the economy, it also contains a poorly written website spec for recovery.gov! If we had more developers in Congress, perhaps the bill would only do the former.

3. Software developers like solving problems, and will make the Congress more efficient at doing what it does. Like, maybe instead of just posting self-serving press releases on their websites, they can add them their Twitter feeds as well. Rather than ignoring their constituents' letters and phone calls, they can ignore their emails and tweets. Rather than arbitrarily deciding where to allocate waste-of-taxpayer-money pork funds, they'll write software programs that use "algorithms" to decide where to waste our money. The possibilities are endless.

4. They'd probably staff their offices with other software developers, who would not only Rails-ify House Subcommittee websites that no one cares about, they'd also be much less likely to sue the taxpayers for sexual harassment. Everyone wins.

5. Software developers are great communicators! Sure, they use too many acronyms, and they tend to stare at their shoes instead of making eye contact, and they're afraid of girls, and they prefer instant messaging to actual conversation. But they're also much better at foursquare ("Congressman Jones is now Mayor of D.C. Madam") and they'd probably update their blogs a lot more frequently.


The blog post doesn't mention it, but there are also some good reasons why software developers shouldn't run for Congress.

1. Congressmen spend most of their time raising money, which will bring back all those bad memories of your last failed startup.

2. Not only does Congress not provide free sodas, they're always trying to tax them!

3. (# of foosball tables in Capitol) + (# of XBOX 360s in Capitol) + (# of ball pits in Capitol) = 0

4. Terrible iPhone reception in Congressional office buildings.

5. Software developers hate bullshit; Congress non-stop bullshit.

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