The New Yorker published an article on "Rockstar" and "10xer" programmers, reads like a parody of the software industry



  • “What’s your stack?” Solomon asked, referring to the layers of code that make up a Web site.
    Bradley ran through the various languages and features with which the site was built. “It’s all running on Amazon,” he said, meaning the company’s cloud-computing service.

    Solomon leaned back in his chair and flipped through a mental Rolodex of his clients. “I definitely have some ideas,” he said, after a minute. “The first person who comes to mind, he’s also a bioinformatician.” He rattled off a dazzling list of accomplishments: the developer does work for the Scripps Research Institute, in La Jolla, where he is attempting to attack complicated biological problems using crowdsourcing, and had created Twitter tools capable of influencing elections. Solomon thought that he might be interested in AuthorBee’s use of Twitter. “He knows the Twitter A.P.I. in his sleep.”

    I feel sorry for people that pay for this shit.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    yeah your typical TDWTF article. Anonymization totally killed the orignal story! Bring Hanzo back.

    Oh, wait, its not an article on this site?

    Filed Under: uhhh, sick burn :D



  • Holy shit, I wouldn't want to be represented by these guys. I mean, money is good, but expecting me to produce 10x more than the "average" coder? Fuck that shit, hire 10 coders bitch and let me have my TDWTF.



  • I live a few blocks from La Jolla. I refuse all job offers from that city.



  • BTW, if you missed the mention in the article, this is a funny site:



  • I found another gem in this article

    Good code also works fast. Say you have a spreadsheet with hundreds of voter names, and you want to check each name against a cache of data and assign people to parties—Republican or Democrat. “A bad programmer might write a function that makes a hundred different ‘calls’ to the database,” Guvench said. I could almost see the dreaded spinning beach ball on the screen. A good programmer would find a more efficient way, or “hack.” “He could write a function that would just ask the database one question: ‘Give me these hundred people, along with this data about them.’ ”

    Shit, I what algorithm will I use to handle these whole 100 voter names!? My pentium 4 can only do a million instructions per second!



  • @penprog said:

    Good code also works fast. Say you have a spreadsheet with hundreds of voter names, and you want to check each name against a cache of data and assign people to parties—Republican or Democrat. “A bad programmer might write a function that makes a hundred different ‘calls’ to the database,” Guvench said. I could almost see the dreaded spinning beach ball on the screen. A good programmer would find a more efficient way, or “hack.” “He could write a function that would just ask the database one question: ‘Give me these hundred people, along with this data about them.’ ”

    You mean you can just ask the database to give you the result in one fell swoop, instead of loading everything into a for loop? What wizardry is that!? Those guys certainly deserve their $200 / hr!



  • @cartman82 said:

    You mean you can just ask the database to give you the result in one fell swoop, instead of loading everything into a for loop? What wizardry is that!? Those guys certainly deserve their $200 / hr!

    But the underlying point of this anecdote is soooo true. I work with several morons who do this shit all the time and can't figure out why their shit sucks.

    But I also want to beat the guy who talked about reducing round trips to the DB a "hack."



  • @boomzilla said:

    But the underlying point of this anecdote is soooo true. I work with several morons who do this shit all the time and can't figure out why their shit sucks.

    But I also want to beat the guy who talked about reducing round trips to the DB a "hack."

    Yeah, I've seen so many developers in .NET get EVERY record in a table in a disconnected recordset (DataSet), then apply a filter to the DataTable.DefaultView property, just to get one record, instead of selecting by ID.

    They need some Cluebat™ time. And it's definitely not a "hack", it's programming 101.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    The article just reads like technobabble. Unadulterated technobabble. Let's throw a bunch of jargon terms at people who are not going to know that they are redundant or meaningless so that we can sound like we know what we are talking about. Total "gooey in Visual Basic to track the IP" sort of stuff.

    One of the best parts though was this little nugget:

    He said that one of his clients had overseen user-experience design for Apple’s iCloud.

    Presumably that UX had nothing to do with making sure that iCloud users did not have their sex pics stolen? Just a guess?



  • @Intercourse said:

    Total "gooey in Visual Basic to track the IP" sort of stuff.

    "Visual Basic .NET won't work for our website, it's a dot com!"



  • I'm not even done with the article, and I have to post that it's painfully bad. They miss a lot of important details, go blindly from topic to topic with no transition, and try to throw random things in there just to get your attention (marijuana!!).

    I'd expect this type of article from TMZ, The Onion, or MSNBC...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @penprog said:

    I feel sorry for people that pay for this shit.

    Yeah, the New Yorker sucks.



  • @chubertdev said:

    marijuana!!

    Clearly I'm not smoking enough to be one of the 10x-ers.



  • Yeah, that too


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @chubertdev said:

    I'm not even done with the article, and I have to post that it's painfully bad.

    Honestly, it was so bad that I was unable to finish it. It felt a little like this:

    Billy Madison - Everyone is now dumber – 00:36
    — BklynZoo



  • 10x claims to represent digital “rock stars”

    Yeah, that's gonna end well...

    (Offshore developers charge as little as twenty-five dollars an hour.)

    I should really start talking about a raise...

    As for Stephen Bradley, the head of AuthorBee, he hasn’t found his star programmer yet. Nanis wasn’t right for the job—Bradley wanted someone who could one day become AuthorBee’s C.T.O. “He and I had a call, and he was, I would say, a fantastic candidate, but he wasn’t quite the right fit for what I needed,”

    Which is probably a nice way of saying "he was a fucking idiot who would bang 2000 lines of code in 10 minutes, where one would be enough". So, yeah.




  • mod

    I'm pretty sure being here makes you automatically one of the 10xers. Having your code featured here is "normal".



  • @Yamikuronue said:

    I'm pretty sure being here makes you automatically one of the 10xers. Having your code featured here is "normal".

    I don't know... People featured here are usually very "productive".

    Of course, then you need a handful of people to deal with that "productivity", but hey, the guy's a rockstar, he whips out 10LOC per second! And we all know coding is just weird typing!


  • mod

    Yeah, but my understanding is that the original saying about one good programmer being 10x better at coding than an average one was started by people who were dealing with bullshit and getting sick of it. The fact that it's not understood by non-coders doesn't matter as much.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Sometimes I think I'm a rockstar. Hell, I'll claim it in casual online discussions. I'm certainly the best overall programmer I've ever worked with in terms of combined speed and bug rate.

    But I'm pretty sure everyone else is just shit, because I'm really not all that good. There are so many things I don't know, and am not even particularly interested in knowing.

    Crucially, the things that excite me are not the things that actually get attention. Fuck social, fuck the web, and fuck mobile. This alone will forever relegate me to "just another enterprise hack". Because I'm too good for Startup Culture.



  • That's one of the tough issues when interviewing, you have to make them see your potential. Even if you don't know exactly how to do something because you don't memorize documentation, you're competent enough to figure it out.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    See, that's how I interview people. I don't care about the minutae. Tell me how you figure stuff out. Don't tell me how you worked your balls off for 9 months to grind out a project with features x, y and z. Tell me how you spent half an hour staring at a novel length stored procedure and replaced it with a simple 3-table select statement because the guy who wrote it didn't understand the data as good as you. Tell me how you heard about a bug through the rumor mill and knew exactly what LOC to change. Tell me how fucking awesome you are!



  • "I once created a .NET CLR to consume SFDC's web API.

    How did I do it, exactly? Reading the documentation on SDFC and MSDN."


  • mod

    @Weng said:

    But I'm pretty sure everyone else is just shit, because I'm really not all that good. There are so many things I don't know, and am not even particularly interested in knowing.

    MTE! I kind of suspect that's how a rockstar would view the world though. "This shit is pathetically easy, why is everyone terrible at it?" No, it's easy because you're good at it. Those people who complain about letters in their math are average, the people who immediately grok algebra are exceptional. It feels too pessimistic to be true, but....



  • @Weng said:

    Crucially, the things that excite me are not the things that actually get attention.

    Well, you're worth as much as your work is. There's no need for a pro assembly coder who can analyze your code down to every single electron changing its state in the processor's logic gates, when all your company does is barebones CRUD webapps.

    @Weng said:

    Tell me how you spent half an hour staring at a novel length stored procedure and replaced it with a simple 3-table select statement because the guy who wrote it didn't understand the data as good as you.

    Which is good... unless the stored procedure ran in 0.1ms, the select runs in 0.01ms, and you've just wasted half an hour of company time for a total of 1 second of improvement over a year.

    Tell me how you were slapped in the face with a totally WTF system, and added new, useful stuff to it despite its shittiness. Because sometimes, well, crap's just there, and removing it makes you feel good, but doesn't turn up a profit.

    @Weng said:

    Tell me how fucking awesome you are!

    You don't need a fucking awesome programmer most of the time. You need a guy who delivers - and sometimes, it just means "a grunt who maybe can't optimize his stored procedure to take account of cosmic rays striking the HDD, but will deliver fairly clean, fairly working code and won't bill us up the wazoo for it".


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Maciejasjmj said:

    You don't need a fucking awesome programmer most of the time. You need a guy who delivers - and sometimes, it just means "a grunt who maybe can't optimize his stored procedure to take account of cosmic rays striking the HDD, but will deliver fairly clean, fairly working code and won't bill us up the wazoo for it".
    Nope. We have enough of those to handle our demand. We don't have enough truly good guys to watch over them and make sure they don't shoot the Big Picture in the foot with functionally perfect but technically mediocre code. (Our problem domain means code runs in one of a few big, shared environments. One lonely turd can bring everything else down).



  • @Weng said:

    Nope. We have enough of those to handle our demand.

    Well then, that's your situation. You just phrased it as if that was how you treated candidates in general, from juniors and trainees to system software engineer.

    A great way to end up with a team of five rockstars and no bassist.

    @Weng said:

    One lonely turd can bring everything else down

    Jeesh. I don't think any of the projects I've worked on would fly in that environment.



  • @Maciejasjmj said:

    A great way to end up with a team of five rockstars and no bassist.

    I'm a bassist and a rockstar, TYVM.



  • @chubertdev said:

    I'm a bassist and a rockstar, TYVM.

    As a bassist bass player owner of a bass guitar, I concede.

    Incredible Bass Solo (Wojtek Pilichowski) – 01:34
    — Nathan Navarro


    Filed under: it's all in the fingers baby


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Maciejasjmj said:

    You just phrased it as if that was how you treated candidates in general, from juniors and trainees to system software engineer.
    Oh, I do. It doesn't count against them when they fail to play ball. I'm kind of a dick.

    @Maciejasjmj said:

    Jeesh. I don't think any of the projects I've worked on would fly in that environment.
    Yeah. You can't think about it like a normal development project. Prior architects kind of sucked, and our developers just aren't good enough, so I'm steering things in the direction where most of the common, can-squish-other-people code is completely abstracted away from line developers (previously you were reimplementing basically the same thing on every god damned project with minor twists). Of course, still have to worry about CPU and RAM, but that's less easy to max out than "some jackass did a locking query on ReallyImportantTableEverythingTouches in the middle of a transaction and no other database work can occur until it's done counting the grains of dust on mars"





  • But a good programmer would turn the command into a handy little
    function. If a line of code looks repetitive, Guvench told me, “people
    will say, ‘The code smells.’ ”

    TIL I'm a rockstar programmer.

    It's just another article in an endless series of handjobs for tech entrepreneurs.



  • @Weng said:

    Crucially, the things that excite me are not the things that actually get attention. Fuck social, fuck the web, and fuck mobile. This alone will forever relegate me to "just another enterprise hack". Because I'm too good for Startup Culture.

    Do you get excited by digging into the guts of codeline hardware and interlockings that are older than you are? By "my code is a crucial part of the operation of the entire US industrial economy?" By building hardware and software that has to run 24/7/365 in the field without a single whit of IT attention?

    Because there's a level of jobs that are beyond the entire "startup culture"/"enterprise hack" debate out there, if you only know where to look for them...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @tarunik said:

    Do you get excited by digging into the guts of codeline hardware and interlockings that are older than you are? By "my code is a crucial part of the operation of the entire US industrial economy?" By building hardware and software that has to run 24/7/365 in the field without a single whit of IT attention?

    These questions reminded me of this line of commercials.


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