We don’t need no education – actually, maybe we do

You’ve probably aware that journalists get invited to press conferences and various other publicity-driven shindigs. Of course we’re offered interview opportunities and even the odd lunch with the spokesperson du jour.

You’ve probably aware that journalists get invited to press conferences and various other publicity-driven shindigs. Of course we’re offered interview opportunities and even the odd lunch with the spokesperson du jour. We also get to go to roundtables, conferences and once in a while the occasional ‘jolly’ where we’re not even expected to write anything, but just get to know a company’s execs a little better.

But today, I’m in San Jose at the Adobe headquarters attending (along with a bunch of other technical writers) a slightly different event – a press ‘study tour’. This is a series of learning sessions designed to give us a better understanding of the company’s latest technology iterations in the Rich Internet Application space.

This made me think about how unusual the software business is. While we’re being given extended demos and Q&A sessions to dig into the guts of how you build front end data centric applications, can you imagine this kind of thing happening in any other industry?

Rather than a quick factory tour, would the baking industry sit the catering press down to explain state of the art dough-mixing techniques? Instead of a nice little test drive, would BMW or Ford offer a group of motoring journalists a two-day boardroom session on torque ratios and their new brake pad roadmap? (no pun intended) Can you imagine a throng of movie reviewers studying cinematography best practice for the best part of week? I think perhaps not.

I don’t have to explain why we get the chance to attend this type of event – software engineering is, in short, complex. But I think it resonates with the same reason that many of you are developers in the first place. This complexity inherently brings power and that is what makes working with software attractive. Am I right?