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Beautiful Teams by Jennifer Greene, Andrew Stellman

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Chapter 20. Development at Google

Alex Martelli

Andrew: How did you come to know what you know about how software works?

Alex: I started out as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for Texas Instruments and then IBM Research. I found myself drifting from doing the hardware, the chips, to doing the system, to doing the microprogramming, because the research operation was just building a few prototypes at a time—to get the chance for the prototypes to actually be used by our target audience of scientists and such, we basically had to make it easy for them to get to there with, say, FORTRAN or APL. They definitely weren't going to be happy doing microcode. So eventually, after a few years of drifting, I had to realize I wasn't designing hardware anymore. I lost track of exactly what was happening in hardware design and for chips and technologies, and resigned myself to being a software person instead.

Shortly after that, I joined a start-up where everybody basically ...

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