Why aren't there more programming-language startups?
In this post, I'll focus on why we don't see more high-growth startups focused on the kinds of languages and tools coming out of the PLDI community, the "Deep tech" side of programming tools. Programming languages development largely happens supported by big companies, as in the case of Go and Python, or by enterprising language developers who find some other way to support themselves as they corral their open-source communities, as in the case of Ruby, Elm, and Julia. In order to fit into developers' lives, programming tool creators need to work backwards from the intended developer experience, rather than forwards from the technology we want to build. Especially in programming tools, design means reducing friction to help developers get to where they need to go, not increasing prettiness or dialing up the trappings of good user experience, like cute error messages or dark mode. I often see functional programming enthusiasts make arguments about how their languages are better for developers for technical reasons that aren't related to the high-priority problems that software teams are experiencing. I left academia because I felt there's a lot I could bring from my expertise in programming languages and software analysis to solving major problems for developers. The more we talk about this, the more we have hope that the developer tooling enthusiasts can band together to make developers' lives better with the cutting edge of what is possible!