Monday, September 17, 2007

Fame

This post is not about java. At least not strictly. I was wondering the other day why I read the blogs that I read (and I read quite a lot as you can see on the right). Why do I read Jonathan Schwartz's Weblog ? Why Neal Gafter's blog ? Why Paul Buchheit ? Do I read them because they write nice things ? Maybe. But how did I know it when I started reading them ? Did someone recommended them to me? True, but why I cared ?

The answer is I read them because they are famous. Jonathan Schwartz is the CEO of Sun. Neal Gafter works at Google (Google Calendar I think) and on closures for java, Paul Buchheit is also at Google (Gmail, AdSense). Their fame is the reason I cared to subscribe to their feeds. Their smart posts maybe is the reason I keep reading them but the fact that they are very well known is the reason I started looking at their blogs. Of course I read some of my friends 's blogs and they are not famous. I didn't say that I read only the blogs of the famous.

So the next question is: why are they famous? Is it because they write blogs ? Is it because they have written books ? Of course not. They are famous because they did something great. Blogs and other stuff came later. They first created something great, something big. This is what they are known for.

When I started this blog I wanted mainly to create an archive of the solutions I give to problems in my everyday job as a programmer. But in the back of my mind I also had the thought that the blog is a good way to be known for what I do. Ok, now I don't think so. As a matter of fact, what I do is not something that I 'm worth being known for. What I do is using the technology and the great things that others have created. Maybe the visitors that come here through a search in Google for "hibernate troubles" will remember me for some time but this definitely does not make me famous.

My advice: If you want to become famous do something great. Then you can start a blog about it.

2 comments:

past said...

I believe fame is what (sometimes) comes after success. Most of the time successful people are interesting, partly at least because they might be able to shed a light on how to succeed.

Of course success can be measured in many ways, depending on the goals one sets. Some want to become rich, others want to be loved.

The best blog I read (measured by how much happier I feel when I see the "1 new item" tag) is the one from Steve Yegge. Not because of what he writes about, but because of how he writes about it. I think the most successful thing he has ever done is this blog, but that is more than most people can be proud of.

You are in the ideal position to provide insight on how it feels to work as a software developer in a software company in Greece. I know you could share many tips from you experience for every word just mentioned: software, developer, company, Greece. If you can do that in an engaging way that grabs the reader's attention, you will have succeeded in what I presume is the goal of this blog.

After that, I wouldn't worry too much about fame.

chstath said...

How did you ever learn about who Steve Yegge is? He works at Google if I remember correctly. If he was an excellent writer but worked for an unknown small company somewhere that has created nothing, would you ever have heard about him? Probably not. What I 'm saying is that you bothered to take a look at his blog in the first place because you knew who he was and were curious to see what he has to say. After that you appreciated his good writing and kept reading him. So my question is: if I provide insight on how it feels to be a developer in Greece and do it in an engaging way that grabs the reader's attention, how on earth will anyone discover this blog and come to read my engaging and insightful writing? And even if someone does (by a lucky (for me) google search), then that will make me famous as a good writer not as a good developer (which is the actual goal).

My deepest concern that is expressed in the last paragraph of the post is that we can't be known as good developers because we don't develop any technology. We are just consumers of technology created by other people (that are famous for that). Instead of spending time writing abstractly about things like software, Greek software market, etc, practicing our written English and maybe becoming known as good authors, we should spend time creating something (and be famous for what we are: good developers).