In tech startups, The Engineer’s Conceit is thinking that:
a) you know what needs to be built
b) you create value by rolling up your proverbial sleeves and coding it yourself
Need a CMS? I’ll code it myself. Screw WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or any of thousands of CMS already built with massive developer communities.
Need an ad network? I’ll code it myself. Consider taking an off-the-shelf open-source version to test it? Nah. That doesn’t create value.
Need a data-warehouse? I’ll code the best fucking data-warehouse the startup community has ever seen — even though my startup sells Brony t-shirts through PayPal.
Until your startup has significant momentum and traction, you usually don’t know what needs to be built, you shouldn’t be building it and you probably aren’t creating value by coding — and The Engineer’s Conceit shouldn’t have you destroying value by coding commodity stuff that can be bought — get your self-actualization elsewhere.
A quick test to see if you or someone you know has fallen prey to the The Engineer’s Conceit is if they have built something that someone else could have installed in 20 mins — and has nothing to do with their core business.
Engineers, don’t fret — marketing folks have similar hang-ups about The Marketer’s Conceit.