by Asim Jalis
Here is a thought: It's not that important to get immediate
payoff. As long as you create value for someone eventually you
get a payoff at the end.
For example, if I have a neat strategy for testing I should share
it, even though there is no money in sharing, because by sharing
I create value for people, which in turn makes me more valuable,
because now my name becomes associated with valuable things.
This also explains why Kent Beck can charge a high billing rate.
If instead of giving XP away for free he had sold it through a
high-priced training organization, he would not have created
value for as many people as he did by giving it away. However, in
doing so he has made himself much more valuable.
Fundamentally, we are all human, and pretty much the same, but
for some reason people elevate certain people (the celebrities)
to a higher plane. So Britney Spears is just another girl, but
for various reasons she is higher up on the pyramid than other
girls, who might be more attractive and better singers than her.
Similarly, Kent Beck might be a slightly above average
programmer. But by creating value for so many people he's
acquired this kind of celebrity status, which he can leverage to
increase his billing rate.
The point is that he is no longer a generic programmer, like we
are. We are programming grunts. There are limited opportunities
in this world for grunts.
The underlying business model here is that instead of trying to
get a payoff by selling software, one gets rewarded for creating
value and in this way for associating oneself with value and
becoming more valuable.
Another example of this might be Linus Torvalds. Linus increased
his value by creating Linux, which continues to create value for
people and companies around the world.
I was reading this article by an open source programmer in
Toronto who said that he gets telecommuting contracts through the
web despite the downturn because people assume he is really good
at the kind of programming he has done in his open source shared