Simon Eskildsen

Careful trading complexity for 'improvements'  ↦

Simon Eskildsen (of napkin math) shares a word of warning about one possible decision-making trap:

Whenever you find yourself arguing for improving infrastructure by yanking up complexity, you need to be very careful.

He applies this thinking to a common technical proposal of switching from a general-purpose RDBMS to a specialty database to account for growth and scale.

I’m a proponent of mastering and abusing existing tools, rather than chasing greener pastures. The more facility you gain with first-principle reasoning and napkin math, the closer I’d wager you’ll inch towards this conclusion as well. A new system theoretically having better guarantees is not enough of an argument. Adding a new system to your stack is a huge deal and difficult to undo.


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