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Author's profile photo Vicenç Xavier Lozano

The crocodile strategy – tales from the pond

Ages ago, when the world was finally done, the spirit of the river went to the pond and told the animals who were there:

I noticed that every each season, I must cut your water supply for a while, and it causes you some disturbances.

As I love you as much as my fish, and because I want not for you to be hurt, I decided to teach you how to fly: hear me, my dear

The animals reacted to the spirit’s words differently

  • the dragon-fly larva absorved all the spirit words, learned how to fly and since that day she was able to fly to and from the pond every time it needed
  • the toad, used to reign over the pond without effort, just learned the minimum to be able to jump to the nearest pond
  • the shark decided he was doing fine for the last two billion years, and that he did not need to learn anything, but as he did not like to be unconfortable, he swam to the sea
  • the crocodile said nothing, and kept looking at the spirit without moving, just waiting for the spirit to be near enough to jump on him and bit his arm

Thousand of years have passed, and still today, the dragon-fly moves happily between ponds every time she needs a change, loving the new airs and places; the toad is still in the pond, reigning lazily over its tadpoles, just jumping to the nearest pond when the water level lows; the shark went far away and never looked back: the pond was just a place to be while things were easy, and he did not need to learn new things, if something had been working for ages, it was no worth of change.

And the crocodile? He’s still there, looking around without moving, just waiting for something to go near enough to jump over it and bit its arm. He did not even understood the concept of change.


So… which kind of developer are you?


In my years I met all those kind of developers: the nervous ones, who flew over new technologies and changes happily; the ones who embraced changes just the minimum needed to survive, while reigning over the new colleagues just because they were there before them; those ones who decided to leave in front of changes, because if something works, don’t change it.

But the ones I fear the most, the ones I want not to work with, the ones I wish I never become like, are the crocodiles: they will stay still, just looking around, surviving because when someone fell near enough, they bit their arm, and still don’t understand the concept of change.


Please, don’t be a crocodile.

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      Author's profile photo Michelle Crapo
      Michelle Crapo

      Crocodiles are kind of cool - you have to admit.  Then can grow huge meaning they have a long life for them.   They seem happy enough sitting on their logs with the sun on their backs.  The problem is most of them won't take the time to teach you.  Give you why they are on one log vs. the other.

      To hunt them is very hard.   And then dragging them into the boat very hard.  Or you might capture them and severely limit them to an area.

      So looking and loving the words above, sadly the crocodiles will stay in the workplace for a very long time.  Never moving and never caring about the new tech and/or the stupid thinks flying/jumping around.   They rarely bite the small things.  They are just beneath their attention.

      There is a time for those crocodiles and the work is plentiful.  They are learning.   They do learn to avoid the traps people set for them.

      Personally, I look at this and think to myself, I love learning and changing.  However, there is a time and place for everything.  If a company is staying in the GUI world, then learning how to create a Fiori app would be overkill.  But learning there way to clean code, that is worth it - avoiding traps.  So a lot depends on the pond you are living in.  Also there is ALWAYS going to be a need for backend programming.  The risks come to mind - changing programs just because they aren't written correctly.  If you don't have the time, the risk of breaking something is high.  If you have the time CHANGE the darn program.

      If crocodiles are the ones that are going to support your code, and you are not...  Well, I have found that they will rewrite the whole code in a way they understand.  So it is a balance.   Always a balance.

      Remember crocodile, if you become too dangerous their are people that can capture and move you to a different pound.  There are also people that will kill you.

      Never stop learning, never stop growing, life is a journey not an end point.

      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      Hear, hear. So many things wrong with this story. 🙂 Sharks never lived in ponds to begin with, they are salt-water fish. And crocodiles are just quietly laughing at thousands of species that they've outlived so far. Also they can both run and swim very fast. Can sharks do that?

      Also, what about bio-diversity? Good luck working with a team made out of sharks only.

      Author's profile photo Georgi Slavov
      Georgi Slavov

      To me it looks like however that the shark made a bold decision, that paid off, as it went to a water body that never goes dry, becoming the ultimate predator there, in the lack of crocodiles, etc. Even though it did not react to the change as 'prescribed' by the spirit of the river.

      And, interpreting the story, i think it is a matter of perspective. I can not agree that only the firefly did a huge change, and the shark not, to me the firefly remained close to the place and lifestyle it knew, whereas the shark had to venture in a new world with new inhabitants, even though the way of movement did not change.

      I guess we all agree on crocodiles, unfortunately there is a plenty of them. The majority of people i met strangely fall either to the dragon flies or to the crocodiles, age being just one of the factors.

      I have no explanation for why there are so few sharks out there.

      Author's profile photo Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Blog Post Author

      The shark moved away. Maybe it was a bold move, maybe it was just an escape to not face change. Maybe the shark was not made for living in a pond.
      Let's say the shark was a developer who moved into functional. Here in my country it's usual to see these kind of movements: no one wants to be a developer and be forced to upgrade their knowledge again and again.

      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      Liked the post but I have to point out that this is not a great analogy. In real life, sharks and crocodiles rule. They have been around forever and are both tough and scary. Have you actually seen crocodiles in action? It's brutal.

      In these analogies, we usually try to compare to the species that went extinct (like dinosaurs), to instill fear in the respective category. Otherwise I'm like heck, I totally want to be either a crocodile or shark, what's not to like? 🙂

      Author's profile photo Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Blog Post Author

      It's all about to change. Yes, you can rule without embracing change, and most creatures (and developers) rule that way.
      Crocodiles are impressive, but when their rivers dry, they are dead. There are thousands of ABAPosaurs able to wipe the floor with me in terms of syntax, modules to use to perform some actions, and so. But they do it because they are way more used to those sentences and modules, and they know it by hand. When one of those sentences or modules become obsolete, they do.
      As I told to Gorgi in the comment before: when the river dries, the crocodile dies.