A few weeks ago Joel mentioned that he would quit blogging on the ten-year anniversary of Joel on Software. However, it appears that he's going farther than that; the following appears in Joel's latest Inc column:

So having become an Internet celebrity in the narrow, niche world of programming, I've decided that it's time to retire from blogging. March 17, the 10th anniversary of Joel on Software, will mark my last major post. This also will be my last column for Inc. For the most part, I will also quit podcasting and public speaking. Twitter? "Awful, evil, must die, CB radio, sorry with only 140 chars I can't tell you why."

Is the end of the Stack Overflow podcast imminent? I realize no one could replace Joel, but is there a way to keep the show going in his absence?

His reason for removing himself completely from the public eye:

The truth is, as much as I've enjoyed it, blogging has become increasingly impossible to do the way I want to as Fog Creek has become a larger company. We now have 32 employees and at least six substantial product lines. We have so many customers that I can't always write freely without inadvertently insulting one of them. And my daily duties now take so much time that it has become a major effort to post something thoughtful even once or twice a month.

edit: The article is now up on inc.com

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    At least six substantial product lines? Let's see, there's FogBugz and erm, FogBugz, oh, Copilot, erm, FogBugz and now there's Kiln. Also, CityDesk, but we don't really talk about that any more. Plus Stack Exchange I guess, although that's still in beta... Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 8:57
  • Don't forget the video productions and the jobs boards. He's a regular Donald Trump
    – tim
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 13:33
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    I have a lot of time for Joel and the Fog Creek gang, I just can't see that there are six substantial product lines. Perhaps he's counting each variant of FogBugz separately. Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 13:36
  • He was writing for Inc - he had to make some claims like that... Perhaps he's counting the video production as well.
    – tim
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 14:54
  • FB, Copilot, Kiln, Videos, SO, SE?
    – tim
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 14:54

7 Answers 7


I am not aware of any changes to the Stack Overflow podcast -- so I would say, no, Joel is not planning to quit the podcast.

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    Just tripped over this question. Funny how within a month of this answer, the podcast was dead (save for the random-seeming one-last-hurrah a month later). Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 4:26
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    @jesse yeah Joel kind of sprung that on me. Or I misunderstood that he had decided to move into a technology-free cave, somehow. Anyway, I thought he meant he was retiring from Joel on Software not-a-blog. Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 4:49
  • No worries, I was just busting your balls. Don't suppose there's a chance the podcast will resurface sometime, is there? I rather enjoyed it. Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 4:56

There's a podcast?

  • 6
    How do you get 4k+ rep on meta and not know about the podcast? Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 6:28
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    @Greg, I think he forgot to close the </sarcasm>.
    – perbert
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 6:54
  • Sorry, I think I had my sarcasm filter still enabled. Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 8:30
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  • @Rob does that number include the people ON the podcast? Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 15:01
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    @Rob, Joel mentions that no one listens to the podcast, everyone take a drink... Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 16:57

"So having become an Internet celebrity in the narrow, niche world of programming, I've decided that it's time to retire from blogging"


"Having achieved the only prize one can from blogging, I'm leaving on a high note."

Although it leaves me feeling that he's killing the golden goose - a lot of people use FogBugz and other Fog Creek products because they learned about Joel through his blog, which attracted a lot of external links, specifically from people who could become his customers.

However, the market (blogs for programming/management/startups/software development/etc) is well saturated, and it could be that the return on his time is very small.

And, as he pointed out, as Fog Creek grows, he has to decide as the public facing mouthpiece whether to continue and possibly offend people, continue, but change his output to a more bland flavor to avoid offense, or discontinue and recede into the background - let his products and marketing speak for the company.

He is, after all, the Steve Jobs of Fog Creek, but unlike Steve he's not willing to be a showman and say what's necessary to propel the company forward - he says what he wants to say, and lets the chips fall where they may.

Of course, after 10 years he may also simply be getting tired. Writing a blog is work. Further, he may also be positioning himself to exit Fog Creek or to dig in and work harder on it to bring it to the next level. The company is developed to the point where it's in a great position, but it may need new reins to take it higher. As profitable as plateauing (or even moderate growth) can be, if you are not growing you will eventually be declining. This may require a new leader, a cash infusion, or simply more time commitments from the existing leadership.

But then he's also searching for investment in Stackoverflow - so perhaps he's merely digging in so he can focus on that endeavor, which has a very short window to succeed, or be overtaken by competitors in the areas it doesn't already have a foothold. He has probably already found out that he's said too much about this effort on his blog and the podcast, and wants to avoid shooting himself in the foot.

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    Are you kidding? He's not willing to be a showman? He did the world tour two years ago and did DevDays this past year. He's done with this part of his career/life. There's nothing left for him to accomplish in the realm he is in and he's looking for new challenges. Frankly I am surprised he didn't make a change sooner.
    – tim
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 14:51
  • I'm certainly not some doey-eyed follower, but the guy is smart, has plenty of resources at his disposal and now has (according to his opinion) 30 or so of some of the smartest and most productive developers. Based on that is it reasonable to expect him to limit his world to making bug tracking software with a cute little name and bird logo and writing funny little blog posts every month?
    – tim
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 14:52
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    @tim - I'm referring specifically to the ability some showman have of lying through their teeth merely to propel their company forward. Joel may well be a showman, and he's got flair and style for presentations, BUT he's not willing to abuse his integrity as much as some showman would in order to advance whatever they are promoting. I agree with you about moving on though - I find that after two-five years of doing the same tedious thing I start itching for a change, or more specifically, a challenge. What I really need is a position that constantly challenges me...
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 16:55
  • @Pollyanna - what you said in the comment is very different than what you said (or what I read) in the post above.
    – tim
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 17:39
  • @tim - Sorry, I am rather subtle with how I phrase that in my post.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 18:57
  • @Pollyanna - I would not characterize it as subtle. Missing, yes. Subtle, no.
    – tim
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 22:10
  • @tim - I hereby grant permission to characterize it however you see fit.;-D
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Feb 27, 2010 at 0:18
  • Cynically you could presume that fogbugz has reached the point where it doesn't rely on the code-face programmers finding it from the blog and telling management. Management read it in 'Inc' and tell the programmers. Commented Mar 15, 2010 at 4:35

He basically says he's too busy catching the helicopter from the East Side to the place in the Hamptons to do any more blogging, he's tired of all the unwashed masses sending him emails, tired of all of the book store book signings, tired of his agent sending him movie scripts, and he's busy working on VC money to buy Expert Sex Change and force those responsible to endure public humiliation. And there was something about a kid with an eye patch.

Oh, and he totally wants to be cool like Calacanis so he's quitting blogging and buying a Tesla. And getting a bulldog. Or maybe a shitzu.

Or something like that - I can't really remember - I got so emotional and teary and the ink blurred.

Or he just has some more sharks to jump?


Well, Joel did quit. But he's going to un-quit.

The rest of this answer was originally posted here by Ray Vega

According to Joel, it appears that the podcasts will be returning:

In the coming months you’ll see several amazing things that Alex has started doing, including the resurgence of Stack Overflow DevDays, the renewal of my podcast with Jeff, and an amazing thing, still secret, involving unicorns.


Yes, his swan song is in Inc. Yes, it says that. He also pokes fun at Twitter and says he'll be done with that - or perhaps I totally misunderstood the joke. (It was in italics after all - and maybe that threw me off.)

  • Can you post the relevant bits? I'm not an Inc subscriber so all I have is the snippet above that I got from Hacker News. Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 6:36
  • I sent you an email...
    – tim
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 6:41
  • I'm guessing the article in question won't show up on inc.com/author/joel-spolsky until later?
    – AnonJr
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 17:29
  • Yeah - probably some arrangement with Inc that they run it for a few days/week and then Joel gets to post it to the internets/rubber duckies site.
    – tim
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 17:37
  • Here it is for those that haven't seen yet: inc.com/magazine/20100301/lets-take-this-offline.html
    – AnonJr
    Commented Mar 2, 2010 at 11:08

Now the real question is if the content of the blog will remain available? If not, I've got some copying to do...

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    You can't be serious...
    – tim
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 14:59
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    Well... start just in case
    – juan
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 15:03
  • AnonJr: he does have books that are a compilation of some of his blog posts. Check Amazon. Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 15:43
  • There's no need to make your own copy. Archive.org is a great resource.
    – Ether
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 15:44
  • @Ahmad: I have the books. I must have screwed up the markdown equivalent of </sarcasm> - guess I'll have to file a bug after lunch.
    – AnonJr
    Commented Feb 26, 2010 at 17:27
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    @Ether - when it's actually archived something. Chances are good it's got Joel's stuff, but it's probably worthwhile checking to make sure it's there before assuming that it is.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 2, 2010 at 20:11
  • @Pollyanna: fair enough. I believe there is an API for requesting them to crawl the site at specified intervals; if that hasn't been used yet, it should be. Jeff might also find it handy in case his ISP has another catastrophic failure. :p
    – Ether
    Commented Mar 2, 2010 at 20:36

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