Second Class Citizen

Occasionally someone will pipe up and make you realise the sad truth amongst web developers, or for that matter, programmers. We are second class citizens in the eyes of many.

Gone are the days where making a computer do something different is cool, No, Now its a job, anyone can do it, you’ve just got to learn to code..  heck, some people are purely programmers for a day job, with no outside interest in it.

There Are No Famous Programmers – Zed A. Shaw (
Let me tell you about this cool new web server. I figured out how to merge the ZeroMQ event polling system with the libtask coroutine library so that you can use libtask to handle tons of TCP/UDP and ZeroMQ sockets in a single thread. I then took this very cool hack, and started building a web server using my Mongrel HTTP parser, but I modified the parser so that the same server on the same port can handle HTTP or Flash XMLSockets transparently. The next step is to get this server to route HTTP and XMLSocket JSON messages to arbitrary ZeroMQ backends. I was inspired by this so much that I registered and may try to bring it back. Not sure how or when though.

Sounds cool right? Totally doesn’t matter one bit. I could hack on projects like this and nobody would care at all because I’m a famous programmer, and there is no such thing as famous programmers. I don’t exist. I’m an enigma.

And he’s right, Name a “sucessful” startup who you can think of the name of the current CEO, I’m sure you can think of one, Did they write the product you’re associated with them however? In most cases, No. They’re just the ones with the vision, The one with money, The one with the guts to say “This could work!”. Being a programmer isnt enough anymore, you need a masters degree in marketing, A bucket load of cash, and a face to put forward – and face it, you’re not it.

Gone are the days when a single person can be a superstar, without the help from others, you’ll never reach gold; and if you do, be sure your programming days are long gone..

3 thoughts on “Second Class Citizen”

    1. No, Not really, But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to go through life without receiving recognition for effort put in. I wouldn’t say I have that problem with WordPress however, thanks to the openness and the fact there is no single spokesperson for the project.

      Which brings us to Matt (You had to ask, Hi Matt!)

      Matt nearly fits right into the group which Zed spoke about, except he does at least have a programming background/knowledge. Whilst Matt no longer makes his mark seen on WordPress, he’s still the one that most non-tech/non-WordPress-knowledgeable people will look to, and associate with the name “WordPress”. But the major difference is that he (I assume at least :P) acknowledges that WordPress wouldn’t be what it is today without the contributions which many have brought it.

      I personally don’t know Matt well enough to say much more.. He seems like a nice enough guy, But he no longer has much to do with directly writing code seen in WordPress (I just checked, 1 commit this year, 7 in 2009).
      But everyone has to have their priorities, Matt’s has gone from writing code, to managing, a move which many people make at some point in their career, which, strangely enough, loops back to my last paragraph.. if you hit gold.. your programming days are over..

      I do thank Matt however, without him, WordPress wouldn’t be where it is today both on a spokesperson/marketer and as a coder (with over 15,000 commits, at least 2,000 of those directly associated with matt, Not that I’m counting) – Note on those numbers there, thats on a quick trac query, it may actually be wrong or missed some :)

  1. Truth is that a single person can nearly never be a superstar. Most successful startups combined a good tech person with a good marketing person. That’s true in any field really. It’s rare to get the all in one business/technical superstar. Better off finding somebody who compliments your skills and shares your vision.

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