To Make or To Do

“Did you know,” said Gina, the other day, “that in Spanish, the word meaning to make is the same as the word meaning to do?” I don’t speak Spanish, but it seems that the usage of the Portuguese fazer and the French faire supports this hypothesis. I’m going to have to back up and put this comment in context.

When we met, Gina’s friends were unanimous: I wasn’t her type. And my family was likewise unanimous: Gina wasn’t right for me. Ever since, we are always on the lookout for proof that this relationship couldn’t possibly work — because we have nothing in common and are completely opposite in every regard. So this rumination about vocabulary was about to turn into the latest salvo in this decade long game.

“Because, you see,” she continued, “you are a maker whilst I am a doer. Proving, once again, that we have nothing in common.”

Setting aside the interesting conundrum of a pair of verbs which are arguably opposites in one language whilst being the same word in another, I’d like to ponder the significance of this observation to information technology. More specifically: software. The question that suggests itself is: is coding (or cutting code as Amir would have it) doing or making? I used to think it was making — but that, of course is a product-centric view. Software-as-a-service needs to take the world view that the production of software is doing: there is no such thing as finishing.

The real import of this question, of course, is that doers and makers are different kinds of people; if in fact this essential nature of software is changing, then the people who participate in the activity and enjoy it will also change.

Unless they speak a Romance language — in which case there doesn’t seem to be any difference.


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