Blake Smith

create. code. learn.


You Are The Business

We need to deliver that feature for the business”, words you might have heard at a daily standup meeting.


The business needs this data analysis so it can make a decision”, as you get a CSV dump of the latest sales transactions and hand it off somewhere.

This othering kind of language gives away your power. Treating “the business” like it’s some other entity that’s “over there” that you’re beneath diminishes your ability to succeed in your software craft. You’ve put yourself on the wrong side of a false equation, and made a false dichotomy in your mind.

As a software engineer, you are the business, equally much as any other job role of sales, marketing or HR at your company. The business isn’t something that happens somewhere else. It’s happening right now, with you doing your work, with you delivering useful things to customers that need what you’re making.

Try this language instead:

“We need to deliver that feature for our biggest medical customers”

“Our marketing team needs this data analysis so they can plan our next release launch”

The funny thing is: Once you change your language like this, your mindset and your actions change too. You’re taking responsibility for the outcomes you’re driving towards. You have a human connection to the recipients of your work. But most importantly, you’ve recognized your own power, and not given it away to an unnamed “business person” who doesn’t actually exist at your company.

about the author

Blake Smith is a Principal Software Engineer at Sprout Social.