Sunday, July 31, 2005


Unfortunately, in the world of business, businessmen don't understand software developers. Numbers, theories, and mind games don't interest them. Too often, businessmen are salesmen by nature. They need everyone to look sharp and say "Yes" when appropriate. Businessmen get disgruntled when programmers don't act the right way or dress appropriately. They don't understand the creativity required to program: creativity that has to express itself in other ways, such as appearance. Instead, they feel these people are just hoodlums; necessary vermin that should be locked away or forced to conform.

Truly great programmers are non-conformist by nature. They will break the mold subtley but significantly. In my opinion, you should cultivate that. In fact, successful technology companies do. Microsoft, Google, and Apple all cultivate creativity. IBM, for many years, did not. They eventually became a services company because their mindset was too dogmatic to allow creative geniuses to flourish.

How many of the following pioneers of computer science fit your company's dress code? Most of them are not freakish by nature, but each displays a creative flare, a hint of being anit-establishment.

Linus Torvalds
Bjarne Stroustrup
Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson
James Gosling
John McCarthy
Steve Wozniak
Leslie Lamport

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