I’ve often said that although the tech industry doesn’t necessarily hire the sharpest engineers, they surely hire the sharpest PR people. And one of the cleverest tacks they and their allies have developed is to conduct and hype international coding competitions. Here is the latest such report, which appeared in — surprise, surprise — the Washington Post.
I’ve written about this before, during my annus mirabilis with Bloomberg. 🙂 Don’t want to read the link? The short version is that these contests have little or nothing to do with the coding software development prowess of a nation.
One would think, for example, that the author of a 500-word piece in one of the nation’s top newspapers would notice the obvious: In that “rankings” table, there appears to be an inverse correlation between alleged coding ability and the number of successful apps in a country. Take China, ranked #1 in the world. Where are its killer apps?
There is one Chinese app, WeChat (微信) that has gotten a lot of attention lately in the western press. I recently joined a WeChat group, at the invitation of a Chinese friend. I am thoroughly enjoying it, and am quite impressed by the amazingly multidimensional members, all of them ethnic Chinese and almost all of the immigrants from China. But the app itself, though very versatile and a sort of Swiss army knife in China, is just derivative, nothing innovative that I’ve found so far. About the best I can say is that it offers a big array of emoticons (which I don’t use). And guess what? The notion of instant messaging apps such as WeChat was originally invented in Israel, rank 35 on the Post‘s list.
And as to the point in the article about coding classes for preschoolers…I wonder if WeChat has a good emoticon for revulsion.