Paul Graham's earlier work pissed off a lotta product pushers. His latest clarifies, and thus I can enter this meme on the after schock.
Eric Sink duly noted, (to paraphrase liberally), that it's probably a bad idea to hire a zealout. Yes, I said zealout, he didn't. He said hire a profesional, and I think the moral of the story is, when remotely possible, to hire a hacker who is a professional. Hopefull those who read his article will read more than the last paragraph, and thus not conclude that hackers cannot be professionals.
Then what is a profesional hacker? (cue music) Passionate, but not militant. Expressive, but not zealous. Aggressive, yet adaptive. Smart, yet empathetic. Able to type-cast, yet dynamic. Can follow procedures, yet functional. Uses source control and bug trackers but makes it PERTy only when necessary. Results and collaboration. And finally: Proud, and not condescending.
Yes, I lean towards Eric's perspective yet have been influenced by more respectable (and just plain cool) hackers in my life to let potential short-sighted conclusions go unnoticed. Tact is a necesity and will go a long way. I've met as many tactless hacker consultants as I have smug "GPL is leprosy!" bandwagoners (sometimes both!) and since they both negate each other out of existance I'm (profesionally!) content with a product-shop wife with a hacker mistress.* I admit to having read the Great Hackers through nolstalgic eyes and generally feel most product-shops miss the point in regards to leveraging the hacker identity. My guesstimate would be that they only go as far as ThinkGeek, or worse, Despair.com. Frankly I find the term hacker about as saturated and misused as engineer. Funny how both hackers and shop-grinders like to be recognized for what they contributed to the community. 1:46AM. I digress.
*Wish I could remember the Pythonista who said "Java is my wife, Python is my mistress" in some comment thread...here it is. Values of Cool, indeed.
Perhaps I should add a link to the Slashdot comments, but I've found Slashdot's Read More... considerabley harmful.
For those wondering about the title, I enjoyed this book. Not that it exemplifies tact, and too bad G and J are only phonetically similar, but I'll stick with it. I wonder if Vonnegut is required reading for Comp. Sci. majors. It would likely get read, but would it help?