Hackers and painters

by Wojciech Adam Koszek   ⋅   Apr 20, 2012   ⋅   East Palo Alto, CA

Paul Graham's classic. Probably must-read if you do anything with computers and programming as your profession.

I’m catching up with a list of computer classics and reading Graham’s Hackers and painters

I really expected this book will be about bearded guys arguing about Linux vs GNU/Linux and about how we all eat in front of the LCD screens, bend our necks over laptops with USB flashlights etc..

Books positively surprised me

Really nice take on business and technology. Mix of things in about right proportions.

This book is a statement of “Start small” and “growing business”.

To remembered:

  • Graham mentions LISP, which was a valuable platform for development of their Web store creator. Well, it’s the second author of ISV/software engineering/business books, except Joel Spolsky that I’ve read who mentions LISP. This automatically extended my Amazon wish-list queue.

  • If your customers won’t buy your software anyway, you don’t loose anything by giving them software for free. It was in the context of piracy. I think this is why lots of companies (even EDA companies charging $ and $ per license) provide free variants of their tools.

  • Customer service exceeding expectations 1st and one of the most frustrating things after moving to the US is: “Welcome…. Press 1 to … Press 9”. Graham says they were picking up phones by themselves (I see an analogy between Graham and Derek Sivers).

  • Making tools right for the job Seems like Viaweb had several useful tools and toolkits hacked by themselves that made them more effective. This is something frequently overlooked.

  • Amount of wealth isn’t constant This is something people from ex-socialist countries should read.

In general, I’d made this book mandatory for all Computer Science/Electrical Engineering students.

“Launch It”
“Ignore Everybody”

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About the author: I'm Wojciech Adam Koszek. I like software, business and design. Poland native. In Bay Area since 2010.   More about me