There are now more than 7.2 billion people on planet Earth. About 32 million of them visit Stack Overflow monthly… which would categorise them as “developers”. Living in an era defined by software where “Software is eating up the world”, some of us might wonder about who all these people are? What motivates them on a personal and professional level, why and how do they operate? Are they all or most of them obsessed “Geeks”?, Do they secretly admire Mark Zuckerberg? Why do some of them bring up questions about Spolsky test in interviews and what is a “Spolsky test” anyway?
There were two personal moments that sparked the creation of this site and it’s corresponding book.
The first was in 1998 when I started studying informatics as an undergraduate student at a time when a small company named Google was taking off, a few months before the first dot-com bubble. What was puzzling me was that there seemed to be some people in the field that were studying or applying informatics aiming to reshape how we do business, or trying to advance our livelihood and the world in general, yet many of my classmates and maybe partially me were more interested into “getting a nice job”. Most of them preferred to end up post-graduation to stable and conservative institutions: banks. This was the moment that I started wondering: what differentiates wannabe startupers from wannabe bankers? How can they both emerge from similar educational structures?
My curiosity had me immersed in a Slashdot, Hacker news, and similar web sites diet, supplemented with chit-chat/pub-talk discussions with people of the industry. The pivotal moment for me was the 2010s where I got employed by a “strange” company as a senior developer. I really disliked the place from the very first day staying there because of some “help” from the HR and pressure from my environment. The place was essentially stuck in the 90s both as a mentality as well as infrastructure, tooling, and day to day practices. On my first days on the job I was reaching outwards to find out what was wrong with my colleagues and the corporate environment: How could a person get out of the recently upgraded underground station, leave the newspaper that has a post-2010 date and his smart-phone on the desk then pretending for the rest of the working day that we are still in the 90s? After some weeks without producing any explanation my brain regressed and started contemplating that there was something wrong with myself. Why were the people around me not only happy but also confident that they were advancing their careers? Should I readjust my perspective? After the third iteration of this process I concluded that there was nothing wrong with “them” nor with myself - there was just not a good match. After a barrage of panic attacks and disagreements with my management I left the era of 90s back never to return again.
What I kept from these experiences was curiosity on researching topics such as how people treat their profession, whom should they work for, where and why. At about 2013 when I. Cringely re-released “Accidental Empires”, I devoured it. Later on I decided that pairing “Empires” with Aldous Huxley’s “Brave new world” could provide with the two most appropriate reference points for my theory: There are roughly three archetypes that can describe people on the IT occupation, each one of those has it’s own targets, motivations, and reasons for working for this particular industry. Once you mix people from different groups together funny things will definitely happen.
This book’s target audience consists of two main categories. The first one includes people already engaged in the field who would be interested to understand more more about themselves and their colleagues or just get an additional perspective on the people related dynamics within their profession. The second category includes those whose work involves interacting with IT personnel such as being tasked with allocating talent optimally. Human resources specialists or recruiters would be the first that come to mind.
Summarising this effort aims to be a know thyself guide for the IT people, a know thy-friends guide for the ones that interact with them. Or as Almost-Sun Tzu stated it in antiquity: “If you know the people you work with and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred projects. If you know yourself but not the people you work with, for every release to production you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the people you work with nor yourself, in every project you will suck.”
Every couple of weeks there will be one chapter released here. It will be posted through social media and emailed to the mailing list which you can join at the bottom of this page. This will continue for the first chapters of “IT Archetypes” which will be available from this web location. After that the rest of the book will be available for those who will want to purchase an electronic edition on a DRM-free format. The free chapters present the main concepts to an adequate depth while the remaining ones expand further diving into specific details and cases. The aim was to have a good balance of publicly available versus purchased material, without “hiding” the good parts on the purchased version, but also rewarding readers for their purchase.
Last but not least, this is team effort. There is a UI/UX team of volunteers and many good friends who helped proof reading initial versions of it’s chapters.