Developers Club geek daily blog

2 years, 10 months ago
From the translator
Reading now and then a few years ago the Forbes log, I came across article which I found extremely interesting. Well, you know as happens — you read, you read, and on each paragraph you vosklikat: "About! Qie about me!". Could not believe that I one such, and nobody will be honored if not to translate then to refer to it in the Russian-speaking press. However in four years of it did not occur. Well, "you want to make something correctly — make it", therefore I provide to attention of respectable public the first half of article. (I try to translate artly therefore work moves not quickly; the original size — more 30th kilobyte, and, "having passed mortal life to a half", I understood that to keep there are no more than forces.)

P.S. Could not understand how to put the transfer tag in heading.

Rising of a razrabotchikonomika

Venkatesh Rao's article is published in December, 2011 in the Forbes log.

In evolutionary biology there is a theory according to which mutual altruism and cooperation arose as a solution of the problem of storage of food. If to you, an early hominid, has luck to fill up a large mammoth, you had no slightest chance to skharchit it entirely before it becomes rotten. Then you shared food: attachment in a stomach of your friend was the best attachment for the excess capital. In this case you could demand return of a contribution that time when the mammoth is filled up already by this friend.

Recently I reflected over this paltry idea in the context of human wealth. If only you are not a professional investor (and even if you are), now to find places for storage of surplus of the capital where he would be in safety and was not amortized too quickly (not to mention bringing of the income) it becomes harder and harder. The stock market even more often casts thoughts of a bloody feast of "bears". Volatility and unexpected short-term rallies make game with short positions of unsafe. Even storage of assets in dollars, seemingly, conceals the dangers — thanks to threat of devaluation and any modern words like "quantitative mitigation" which we, average investors, hear for the first time. Euro now too does not look as optimistic alternative. The solution to invest in gold — and in general in any raw materials — seems, demands a little apocalyptic view of the world, and reflections how you are going to get access to actually subject of ownership if all and the truth will depart to depths of hell (there is a wish to note that at the moment I cannot call such view of the world so unjustified).

But there is one smooth water — if you know how to be enclosed in it: software developers.

Rational attachments in anticipation of an apocalypse

One absolutely reliable place where it is possible to save your capital today — if you know how are wallets of software developers. If the world in general experiences dangers of the hanging economic apocalypse, then it is the only investment which will stand to all storm to spite. And it is unimportant, private you the person or corporation or in what place of the developed world you live. You should find a method to invest in programmers.

In the following text I will specially speak about developers as if they were goods in a butcher shop. From the practical point of view, they that also are, if the majority of them did not find a method to use the rarity as benefit. What follows from: if such method was not found by them, it will be found by someone else. Under capitalism everyone has only three options: it is possible to be either the capitalist, or someone's capital, or absolutely worthless from the economic point of view. In today's context these options look approximately so: it is possible to invest in developers, to be a developer, or to be gray weight. In other words, if you own much more fundamental profession seeming to you — we will tell, you the baker in the pekarenka — you are almost useless: and not because bread in itself is not important but because the survival question in grain business consists in that how many stands developers who will help you to win fight in game which Yelp, Groupon and the other softovy companies play on the home field behind your back. If your pekarenka has no proprietary application for iPhone, she will soon beg for mercy at guys like Yelp.

And God forbid, if you do not possess qualifications — we will tell, in the field of the same bread baking — which the economy oriented to developers could use: then you in considerable danger. One of the reasons for which the movement "Occupy the Wall Street" did not conceive due influence — looking at number of the people involved in it — is that the majority of them simply did not hold any cards which would have though some value in game in economic poker.

We will pass from a look of a butcher shop to more gumanistichny at the end of this article.

Attachments in good razrabotchok at the moment are so good rate that if you have money and you were lucky to come across the talented developer to whom you, apparently, were pleasant and who is ready to work for you then pay it that he wrote for you something — anything! — even if you have no uniform good idea (they cost nothing: I will sell them to you at five kopeks a bunch). If you have no money — offer it anything that at you at the moment there is a lot of. The net present value of the strong and positive relation with the talented developer is ridiculously high today. If you gain his trust so that he will be ready to throw the current project to join yours, its value jumps up to heaven. The secret door behind the drawn center before you — and opens it your developer.

(I fairly warned you that I will objektifitsirovat and dehumanize programmers.)

On the other hand, I used to know the people having the supplementing talents — for example, talent to raskoshelivat investors or to promote a product in the market — which responded with commitment to commitment — for example, insisted on participation in the project of the entrusted developers even if the unacceptance of this condition meant failure of the multimillion transaction.

But rules of investment into the razrabotchikovy capital completely differ from rules of investment into other types of the human capital (the term entered by the economist Arthur Lewis in 1953 — at peak of industrial economy) or traditional capital resources. You do not stock up with programmers the same as stock up with builders, soldiers, chemists, engineers, real estate or dollars (moreover, even the word of "stock" is unsuitable here — you have to think in terms which John Hagel calls "flows", but it is a subtlety which we in this article will ignore, and we will use a metaphor of "stocks").

At the moment the only thing that is potentially more valuable, than good relations with the high quality developer is an acquaintance to the specialist - "vyzhivalshchik", not by hearsay familiar with the weapon, underground shelters, huts - in - to the wood and volume to similar features (on that option of succession of events at which cartridges will become world currency). On what of these options it is better to put — to solve to you, depending on the level of pessimism of your view of the world. Personally I am pessimistic — but after all not so to do capital investments in "vyzhivalshchik". The software industry understands it, and tries to stock up on high-quality programmer talents (a key word — "high-quality") so quickly as soon as it is possible — any ways, up to merger of the small companies large is exclusive with the purpose to catch talented developers in the order, with clear intention to throw out at the same time on a garbage can any other assets which will be purchased "in loading" (that gives new sense to expression "acquisition of talents").

So far the software devours the world, and each company turns into the softovy company, people in other industries of economy begin to realize slowly that, as a matter of fact, is created around, and was late try to join race to manage to snatch the piece of pie. Almost inevitably they will not manage it — if only they do not learn to compete with, as a matter of fact, most software industry. But about it is slightly lower.

Anatomy of wars for programmer talents

In the middle of extremely depressive labor market, the true despair which is observed in wars for programmer talents looks improbable. Almost every day I see the big companies, the small companies, the mnogopytny entrepreneurs beginning entrepreneurs, and even venture capitalists coming for hunting behind clever brains. Talents hunters captivated LinkedIn, place a drag-net on Quora, and shower a seine in Facebook and Google+. The caricatures representing a seedy type of the CEO holding a poster in hand "I look for the co-founder with a technical vein" pass from hand to hand. Oh, damn, I am one of such hunters (by the way whether there will be among you no cool iOS-developer concordant with me to posotrudnichat?).

Zealous fresh angels investors are ready to throw money into any project in which one-other strong developer participates, expecting that even if this project will burn through, an opportunity to be in the forefront investors for the following project of the same developer is worth it.

The whole startups were created only for that good design teams remained together.

Gold cages with workplaces to which delicious buffets are applied hi-tech places for a dream and kindergartens are only an iceberg top.

Generally it is the mechanisms available for big — "too big to fail" — the software companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft. In game where these players of the highest league set the lower level for monetary (and not only — like quality of life) remunerations for work, and the beginning startups take that give a real opportunity to hit rather large jackpot, has no other appearance of business the slightest chance in competition for large talents how many it did not throw out cash or events on a negotiating table.

Wars for talents really happen on the much bigger arena. Fight for minds of talented developers begins much earlier, than they will even be able to think of paid work. Sometimes it begins at high school. The matter is that the industry of software — unlike any other — is capable to accept talent in the bosom much earlier, than any other, pushing him in necessary the parties by schooling to certain programming languages, program environments, formats of data and tools. The talented tenth-grader who began to scribble programmulk for iPhone at the age of 14 years, most likely, will remain in the field of an attraction of Apple throughout all the career. The boy whose the first programmer experience represents the pad to Google Maps made by means of the tools and API provided to Google, also, most likely will rotate around Google. In particular, that fact about Google is little-known that attachments which they made in Python (one of three programming languages which the company uses in the work), partly were their strategicheky rate on nedotsenenny language made when they noticed that other companies lost sight of the growing number of talented programmers on Python.

As a result all of them are the large software companies sitting on the mountains of cash; the startups attracting fast take-off; and the insiders of the industry owning "the necessary communications" — suck in all high-quality talents, available in the market, leaving all other industries and sectors of economy to suck the elbows.

All this creates an unprecedented watershed of a mezhda between haves talents and poor them. This watershed will exceed on the importance a notorious watershed between the North and the South of the USA soon. I, by the way, do not exaggerate.

Phenomenon of a rarity of "desyatikratnik"

Why the general trend of increase of unemployment avoids the industry of software (or, at least, the prospering its part)? It that — again technology "bubble"?

Yes and no. The markets of technologies which are now reconnoitered can really turn back puzryam, but in that measure in what investment they are investments into people who will carry out the career in the industry — no.

It is interesting to note that "investment into people" — so expected work model in the industry of software that consciously the companies which are beaten out from it like Sequoia Capital, are forced to explain specially that they invest in the markets and trends, but not in people, not in commands. In any the friend of the industry it would be it's a no-brainer. It is clear, for example, that the industry of power invests in the promising markets of power sale and trends of an alternative energeiya, but not in experts-power engineering specialists. In other industries investment into people — the strategy which is destiny of the few (such as Zappos in trade in footwear or Southwest in the industry of air transportation).

One of the reasons why so occurs, consists that it is incredibly difficult to evaluate talent of developers beforehand, and its value can depend very strongly on a situation that means that amounts of inflow and outflow of personnel have to be big (as potential "star" can not gain necessary development in your environment). Human risks are rather high in order that development of capability to cope with them was necessary for success. Traditional mechanisms like universities not too successfully cope with creation — and even with detection and disclosure of talent of outstanding developers. Reaches that shone the industry like Peter Til offer — vesm ozorno — to pay rather talented developers that they gave up study in college and instead went in the ways of startups.

Other reason — that to program capability is the most transferable high-level capability on the planet. To notice and to temporarily attract talents does not mean that you will manage to keep them. Except for option slavery and "gold handcuffs" for talents from the absorbed companies, you have nothing to oppose to social and economic mobility. Software developers can not only about ease. to jump out of one industry in another — they are even capable to drive in itself with unprecedented ease. The engineer-nuclear physicist will not be able to earn the living if the reactor or a bomb over which it is necessary to work is not provided to him. The biochemist needs laboratory and group of lawyers which are capable to provide him cover in fight against FDA. Razrabotik POE, on the contrary, is capable to swim freely on the Internet, earning the kopek by a nayomnichestvo, not creating deep attachments if wishes that. Until the Internet, any other profession even close switch off it will not be compared to software development on the level of freedom which the last gives those who succeeded in it.

But the main reason is a phenomenon of "desyatikratnik".

You see the level of programmer talent is fantastically not linear. There is even a special term — "desyatikratnik" (the well-known idea which is originally belonging to Frederik Brooks, consisting in that, efficiency of work good the programmer, not "slightly above" average efficiency by profession — and above much. In programming efficiency of work in process of accumulation of experience increases exponential thanks to the nature of technology.

Though in some other area there is a phenomenon of "ten-multiplicity" too, it has no such dominiruyeshchy value, except as in programming anywhere. Moreover, while other industries invented acceptances by means of which workers of the average level (we will tell, chemists or accountants) manage to be used synergistically on a permanent basis, the industry of software of it did not make. In it this effect still is something like black magic.

One of the reasons of it is covered that other industries, as a rule, turn "kratnik" into "desyatikratnik" by means of software (for example, the engineer who was set for the computer with the CAD system, somehow suddenly becomes an engineer - "desyatikratnik"). Yes, in the world it is complete of lotions which programmers wrote for themselves, but from a phenomenon of "desyatikratnik", as well as dependence of the industry on it, somehow it is impossible to get rid — neither an engineering, nor managerial way. Because "desyatikratnik" continue to invent for themselves new tools — to continue to remain "desyatikratnik".

Therefore the employment rate also has to be higher — so far "desyatikratnik" will be recognized and zakhomutyvat.

(The termination follows.)

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