Tyler Benziger

Double Down

May 20 2014

This text was also posted to the Pastry Box Project

I went to a casino last weekend. The next few hours of my life would play out like a classic “quit while you’re ahead” fable. I spent a little bit of time on a slot machine—no luck. Watched my friends play Pai Gow—not interested. A friend and I sat down at a $10 Blackjack table and my first casino experience began to unfold. Within the first 15 minutes of playing, I had doubled-down successfully 3 hands in a row. I was up $150.

Any sensible person would’ve told me to walk away. But I had just started. I didn’t want my night to be over yet. So I figured I’d stick around and have some fun. You know the rest… I lost it all. I ended the night $30 poorer.

It was a good experience actually. Lesson learned—future idiocy defeated.

On the ride home, I somehow began thinking about the term “bet on the web”. In light of my recent betting adventure, I was feeling extra philosophical (read: emo) and started trying to think of a decent analogy between betting on the web and the real-life smoke-filled house of wagers I’d just left.

I wondered if people who bet on the web are just kidding themselves—if they should quit while they’re ahead—if it wasn’t time that we all got the heck out of dodge and ran back to the safe confines of platform-specific, native software development.

It seems like a rat race these days. New frameworks left and right, standards bodies trying to push things forward but too slow to keep up, and cynical developers immersed in constant debates on tooling, best-practices, and where the web platform should be headed.

You’d think it was time to “color out”, but after some more thinking, I realized this analogy was total crap. The web isn’t something as volatile as a hand of Blackjack. There’s no canned set of odds. Its future is not going to be decided by the shuffling of a deck. We each have the power to get off our slot-arm-pulling, Pai-Gow-playing, Blackjack-losing butts and do something to push the web forward.

Write amazing software using web technologies and share how you did it. Start contributing to real tools other web developers love to use. And get in the mix and start helping with standards bodies.

This is a new revelation to me. I’m not even sure where I’ll start. But I do know I’m not going to sit around and wait to see if the web takes off or blows up. I love the web and I want to see it win, and I don’t have to leave that up to a bunch of Blackjack dealers. I’m going to bet on the web because I’m going to be one of the ones driving the dang thing forward.