It often takes tens or hundreds of hours to produce code. Ruby's big advantage is that you can write less code and get more done, it's very programmer friendly. Even if the resulting code wasn't as "fast" as alternatives, you get it working sooner and can start optimizing as necessary.
The power of Ruby's data manipulation methods like Enumerable is considerable and you can often solve difficult problems by chaining together a few of those methods with a tiny bit of glue.
Since computers are stupid fast today it's rarely necessary to get too aggressive with optimization. You can throw hardware at the problem until hardware itself becomes expensive. It's not worth spending a month shaving 5% off your runtime if you're running it on a $5/mo. server. You gain nothing. It might make sense if you can run on 25 servers instead of 40.
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