Great Commodities

Great Commodities

I’ve been reading Paul Graham’s essays for many years and almost always find something insightful. His latest post, Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In, is no exception.

However more great programmers will not help Silicon Valley.

Most US companies are based on a strongly-typed hierarchy whose evolutionary path is entropic and bureaucratic. This means shallow leadership, ineffective hiring practices and the inability to identify and reward greatness. A programmer cannot be a commodity if his or her value is dependent on this cluster-fuckery and as a non-commodity he is indistinguishable.

I wish that Graham didn’t think of programmers as commodities to begin with. Maybe he doesn’t, but I don’t know how he could have written the essay otherwise.