I am known to be a challenging interviewer at Microsoft. The question below is the the interview question that candidates, regardless of their level of experience, have had the greatest difficulty answering. I’ll admit it is an aggressive question.

What is software and what gives you the right to create it?

This is an adaptation of something I read that Steve Ditko once asked upon meeting someone for the first time. Sometimes this question has even been the first question I’ve asked in the interview, much to surprise of the candidates.

If you ever come into my office for an interview, I urge you to think about this question. Even if you never meet me, but work in this field, I urge you to think about this question. If you don’t have an answer that feels authentic to you, software may not be your calling.