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ERIC SINK ON THE BUSINESS OF SOFTWARE by Eric Sink

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ElevenGREAT HACKER != GREAT HIRE

I wrote this essay in response to an essay by Paul Graham. I certainly recommend reading the original. Despite the general tone of disagreement in my response, I remain a great admirer of Graham's writings.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2004

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Paul Graham's recent essay "Great Hackers."1 His sermon is well written, and I assume it played very well when he preached it to the choir at OSCON.2

Graham describes the notion of a "great hacker," which he seems to roughly define as a programmer who is several times more productive than average. (Please note that some people use the word hacker to describe programmers who engage in illegal activity. That connotation is not applicable here or in Graham's ...

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