There Are No Famous Programmers

I frequently meet a friend for lunch and we talk. Usually I'll blab on and on about music, or some weirdo project I have going on. He'll tell me about jobs he's had or trips he might take now that he's sold a company and can chill out for a while. After one such meeting he said, "It's so refreshing to meet up with a geek who doesn't talk about VCs and term sheets the whole time."
Let's try an experiment. Think of a project you use all day. Maybe it's Rails or Python or something. Now, name 4 people on the core team without looking them up. I can't do that for anything I use. Alright, let's say you can do that. You know a myriad of things about the people who make your tools, but can you honestly say you know as much about them as you do about the tools they made you? Be honest with yourself and really look at how much you know about the people behind your gear as you do about the gear itself.
The famous programmers aren't really famous for programming anymore, but instead because they created some business or non-profit. Their code can't stand on its own as awesome, it has to be paired with some non-code fame formation and then people can grok their concept.
This is why I believe that there are no famous programmers, and being famous does not help you in your programming career. I've said this before, but today I was offered a system administrator job, again. It was very humbling to say the least. It kind of knocked me out to have someone think through all the things their company needs and the only thing they could think I'd be good at was system administration.
Yep, just a system administrator. Still.

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