Today I was reading a blog entry on lessons of software engineering by a fellow engineer. These lessons are spot on. Although he is a software engineer, I am an enterprise architect, and this is a blog about tube amplifiers, his observations apply almost universally.

20 Things I’ve Learned in my 20 Years as a Software Engineer by Justin Etheredge,

I would like to highlight four of Justin’s engineering lessons:

Sometimes you have to stop sharpening the saw, and just start cutting shit

With tube amplifiers you can strive to improve until eternity ends. I admit that this is great fun, but listening to your amp and enjoying the music is also very satisfying. I myself are installing an update to my Project 1 amplifier at the moment that causes the amp to be on the bench with its guts open for two weeks now. I cannot wait to listen to it again…

If you don’t have a good grasp of the universe of what’s possible, you can’t design a good system

Do I need to explain? You need to know what you are doing and why certain stuff works and other stuff does not. But then again, I have to disagree a bit with this lesson also. Often you need to experiment and learn before you grasp what it going on. I believe experimentation leads to knowledge and from there on you get results. And sometimes it just works, but you cannot explain what is going on. If you are happy with the result, just enjoy!

Every system eventually sucks, get over it

Whatever magical solution you come up with there is always a down side. You cannot have it all. So at some point in time you have to ask yourself if it is time to accept, enjoy the amp you have and move on.

Nobody asks “why” enough.

It works but why? This links to the need to experiment and to learn (above). But also, one must ask why do we want/like it this way? Sometimes there is a good reason. On occasion the reason in the end is just a personal preference. In business such may be a problem (does not have to be). But if you develop your own tube amp, just do what you like…