Three GuysSeptember 12, 2008
Since C4, I keep thinking about three guys. Together, they pretty well represent all of the things I find distasteful in the Mac software community. They also represent most of the things I admire in that community. I don’t know what to think of them, and I keep coming back to the problem in my mind. I keep worrying that not liking them is somehow a fault of mine.
Young Hotshot Engineer Guy is the simplest case. He is brilliant at what he does, and his intentions are unimpeachable. But he’s incorrigibly arrogant and crass. This case is simple because it’s pretty obviously my own narrowmindedness and overdelicacy that keep me from letting myself admire him. He acknowledges his own rockstar attitude and eloquently defends it, leaving me with little choice but to respect him but abhor the way he expresses himself.
Veteran Hotshot Engineer Guy infuriates me. He has an amplified version of the YHEG’s arrogant, crass attitude, and as a bonus is something of a lecher. The difference is that while he’s supposedly a good engineer, and he is almost universally lauded, I have found his work to be unpardonably flawed. I don’t feel much of a desire to try liking this person, but he keeps returning to my attention because of how prominent he is.
Elite Pundit Guy would be pretty easy to figure out, if not for one thing I can’t let go. He is an esteemed writer whose words are widely read and agreed with. He is clever, creative, and connected. When I approached him at C4, he was gracious and helpful. But in my mind I keep returning to when he, with a handful of vicious words, disparaged and dismissed the product I’d spent the previous year building, the first major project I took real pride in helping to complete. He probably doesn’t even remember writing that offhanded opinion, but it’s indelible from my pride.
I fantasize that if I could call these guys out and make them answer for their words and actions, “Hey man, why you gotta be like that!?”, they’d see their failings and apologize. They’d change their behavior and act the way I think Mac software community guys should act. They’d let me sit at the cool kids’ table at conferences, and we could follow each other on Twitter.
But in actuality I’m just burningly, helplessly jealous. My work is not as cool, not as sophisticated, not as fashionable as theirs. This jealousy is actually a pretty strong motivator for me to show them how good of a job a nice guy can do. I wonder if that’s a healthy source of ambition, or not. I am a crazy person.