Hackers, Daubers, Dabblers and Blowhards

Posted on April 6, 2005 
Filed Under Uncategorized

Maciej CegÅ‚owski takes a dig at Paul Graham’s pronouncement that hackers are like painters and comes up with some gems:

“…hackers are nothing like painters. It’s surprisingly hard to pin Paul Graham down on the nature of the special bond he thinks hobbyist programmers and painters share. In his essays he tends to flit from metaphor to metaphor like a butterfly, never pausing long enough to for a suspicious reader to catch up with his chloroform jar. The closest he comes to a clear thesis statement is at the beginning “Hackers and Painters”:

‘Of all the different types of people I’ve known, hackers and painters are among the most alike. What hackers and painters have in common is that they’re both makers.’

“To which I’d add, what hackers and painters don’t have in common is everything else.”

He goes on to define the difference thus:

  • “Computer programmers cause a machine to perform a sequence of transformations on electronically stored data.
  • Painters apply colored goo to cloth using animal hairs tied to a stick.

“It is true that both painters and programmers make things, just like a pastry chef makes a wedding cake, or a chicken makes an egg. But nothing about what they make, the purposes it serves, or how they go about doing it is in any way similar.”

CegÅ‚owski then takes us down the always winning ‘get more sex’ argument:

“Great paintings, for example, get you laid in a way that great computer programs never do. Even not-so-great paintings – in fact, any slapdash attempt at slapping paint onto a surface – will get you laid more than writing software, especially if you have the slightest hint of being a tortured, brooding soul about you…many of the women whose pants you are trying to get into aren’t even wearing pants to begin with.”



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