Just because you’re a developer doesn’t mean you’re a “software person,” says Twilio chief executive Jeff Lawson.

In order to be an actual software person, you need to see the whole world through the “lens of software.” You want to pull the Earth and all its people into the software domain. For you, anything can be solved through software. And, in your opinion, the world’s problems are increasingly fixable with software.

And you love minimalism — especially in hardware.


Above: Lawson says, “You might not be a software person when…”

Image Credit: Cisco via Jeff Lawson

Lawson used the example of the developers at Cisco who created the product you see to the left. They’re not software people.

To Lawson, software people look at hardware and say “we need this to be as minimal as possible.” Apple took the remote control and made it into a three-button Fun-Dip stick. Nest took the thermostat and made it a puck-sized dial, controlled almost entirely through your also nearly button-less smartphone.

Hardware is like a lettuce wrap: the leaves are just a vehicle for the meat. In the same way, for software people, hardware is just a vehicle for the magic of software.

Check out our favorite 10 quotes from Lawson’s talk at DevBeat 2013 on what makes a software person and see if you’re one of them:

On who a software person is:

“[Software people include] anyone who sees the world through the lens of software … and it’s not just developers. It can be anyone in an organization who has the mindset of seeing the world through software.”

On what a software person creates:

“Minimalism is software flexibility.”

“A lot of people think of Fitbit as a hardware company, but in reality Fitbit is a software company because all they’ve done is build the minimally required hardware to sense a part of the world and bring that data into software. … You’re not buying the device, you’re buying the data that is the result of that device.”

“Teslas are rolling pieces of software. That’s all they are.”

“You can’t have a telephone without a microphone and a speaker, but everything else can and should be software.”

On how a software person looks at business:

“You end up with this world where companies that are shackled with infrastructure are going to lose. They aren’t agile.”

“In 2013 you do not get brownie points for using servers, you only get brownie points for serving users.”

“Competition in the age of software is closer than ever before. If you have a web application, your competition is literally a back click away.”

On how software can impact the world:

“Software people are taking over, our time is now.”

“Now is the best time ever to be a software person. More and more of the world’s problems are addressable by software people.”

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