It was a usual day, a friend in tech team asked to go out for dinner in evening after office.
The guy I 'admire' working on a project in office. We shared past experiences and had casual talks over lunches we had. Now there was something especial about this friend of mine that made me invest time to write here.
During a lunch discussion, I mentioned how a vendor pitched us a software that might touch a nerve of industry and is a big pain killer in image processing domain. He asked a little more, being from same organization and team i shared in brief what the software does actually. He listened and was in deep thinking. We discussed about how the vendor may have built it the logics inside.
Next day in office the guy comes and showed me the snippet in java and asked me to give few images to test. I was surprised. The code that he wrote in 2 hours last night was more or less a basic MVP of the solution (i.e. of the vendor's solution). Looking at the raw version on black console and results in numbers, it was clear that the solution need a more fine tuning. We tested it 3-4 times quickly on different set of images. The logic he used to moderate images was just one night work (the logic in code was simple). And, it was efficiently working.
We went for the beer again next day.
Me : What propelled you to write that code in night ?
He : was bored up since last couple of days to work on same thing, so thought to do something different. Is it working ?
Me : Yes. Results are fucking good. But why "bored" in project in office?
He : Because it is too simple. No fun.
Me : Why don't you fine tune what you have created ?
He : Don't have much time from boring office work.
He was passive, logical, and spock-like. We smiled and we were silent. We finished another pint.
Me : Why did you leave previous firm ? I asked
He : Boring work.
I could see and feel a sense of little dissatisfaction in his eyes. This super confident guy wanted to do things that matter, the things that will make a difference, (Ohh! not a photo sharing app or another e-commerce firm that sells one thing to another or a chat app) – but hauntingly brief time was killing that perhaps.
The guy wasn't interested in tweeting, blogging, or startups much. He cares about building and shipping code. I was experiencing the guy who was a part of a nomadic band of software tradesmen, who quietly, steadily have the capability to build the infrastructure behind the world’s most successful companies. When this breed leaves – in search for a constant change for the better, they leave firms behind wither and die (and the gradual death goes unnoticed).
If some one wants to build a tech company, he’ll need to hire this breed, but will rarely find through a recruiter or websites. They are being cold-called, cold-emailed, and cold-LinkedIn-messaged on a daily basis by recruiters, but their response are similarly cold. Outwardly successful companies that fail to draw engineers like him will struggle with the performance and stability of their technology and will constantly struggle to exist and won't be at top of their domain for long. (YAHOO! is one as i finished a book recently about it)
I explained him what new feature in existing office project will benefit and bring value to users and how our efforts will not be in vain. He listened and was curious to know more as we walked to the metro station. The most powerfully attractive force for him I felt that time in my short conversation was the promise of building a product that will get into the happy hands of hundreds, thousands, or millions as I envisioned.
I was talking to a type of guy whom i experienced is obsessed with constant change for the better and something complex that can change the world through his software skills. Many of him are largely invisible, but their affiliations have determined the rise and fall of technology giants in long run. The start-ups who recognize the unsung talents today will be tomorrow’s success stories.