I just finished improving the hell out of the Database performance and scalability in our product. When i say finished, i mean finished as in coded and working – not as in a scalability-how-to-flashy power point template. I did this because that was the only way to be sure; Only way no one could come back and question me about my “assumptions” and “perception” and my “focus”.
The code and effort was besides my normal duties – in between a marriage, a death and an abortion, in the span of about an year or so. It involved sweat – tons of it.
I imagine top management in companies like people like me, who takes initiative and thinks out of the box – HR speak for “works for free”, but probably hates the disruptiveness and so called un-professionalism, at the same time. Why do hackers or hacker wanna-be’s do such obviously un-practical things? If i had dedicated all that time to the Indian stock markets i might have been party to the richest stock run witnessed in history so far. This is so dumb a thing to do. But why do it?
The other day i was talking with a colleague. The topic was about being un proffesional about allowing a product we were developing for past 2 years into the hands of another far less technical and far more “proffessional” team. His perceptive is “so what ?”. You move on – his experience has shown him that one keeps moving from one project to another – but the experience stays with you and thats all that matters. Meanwhile you put your efforts in what the company thinks is important in that 6 month period. Makes sense?
It is my personal opinion that unless a hacker cares about what he / she creates, the product is not going to be any good at all. The person might be proffessional but the product will not be.
It pains me to see years of sweat, dying away in a source control somewhere, before finally the server dies or the backups get discarded as part of yet another “e-trash” initiative some bright person has cooked up.
Program writers i feel can be professional – and so can managers perhaps – but being a hacker i belive is all about the passion and the thought and care given in developing something thats truly worthwhile. I belive thats this is one of the major things that big corporations get wrong, this human angle, while they try and develop world class products. That is probably one of the reasons why small companies with only a promise of a private cabin for all programmers, and a hacker boss, regularly beat the big ones in creating better products. *
*.Google also gets it i believe. But I’m willing to wager that 10 years down the lane this will no longer be true of Google too.