Jumping frog syndrome

One day, one smart ancient Greek guy discovered something very disturbing: If you have a frog that jumps every time half of the distance that it jumped before, even after infinite number of jumps, the total distance covered will never exceed twice the distance of the very first jump. At first, that really sounds confusing and counterintuitive, and unless you try to draw these jumps on the paper, you would not believe it (OK, you probably had something like that in maths when you were 12 years old, but who still remembers that stuff, no?).

To me, this example is troubling for two reasons: first, it makes infinity pretty hard thing to swallow, and secondly, it does tell you how sometimes your initial instinct can get you in trouble. Yet, I see frogs jumping around in that fashion way too often, hoping that they will get somewhere.

In software development, the distance you cover in the first release is most of the time the longest. I would argue, whether the application will get you the first customer or not (and for many start-ups that is one time chance) is not that much question of the clean code, as much is about someone willing to spend money for it. What makes you a business is the next release, and the one after this one … This is where the jumping frog story gets tricky. If you don’t keep the code clean, let others cutting your corners, start patch hell with quick fixes, your jumps will get ever smaller, till you find yourself not moving further, though you feel like doing infinite effort to get somewhere.

If this little story somehow resonates your situation, please read one of my previous posts 


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