Hitting the High Notes
An excellent post here by Joel Spolsky of Fog Creek Software about rejecting mediocrity. More specifically, he explains why design adds value faster than it adds cost; that if you try to skimp on programmers you’ll make crappy software nobody will like, and you won’t even save that much money. Build a team of stars (as opposed to an army of drones), he says, put them in an environment where they want to work, and aim to hit the high notes.
The real trouble with using a lot of mediocre programmers instead of a couple of good ones is that no matter how long they work, they never produce something as good as what the great programmers can produce.
Five Antonio Salieris won’t produce Mozart’s Requiem. Ever. Not if they work for 100 years.
Five Jim Davis’s — creator of that unfunny cartoon cat, where 20% of the jokes are about how Monday sucks and the rest are about how much the cat likes lasagna (and those are the punchlines!) … five Jim Davis’s could spend the rest of their lives writing comedy and never, ever produce the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld.
The Creative Zen team could spend years refining their ugly iPod knockoffs and never produce as beautiful, satisfying, and elegant a player as the Apple iPod. And they’re not going to make a dent in Apple’s market share because the magical design talent is just not there. They don’t have it.
The mediocre talent just never hits the high notes that the top talent hits all the time. The number of divas who can hit the f6 in Mozart’s Queen of the Night is vanishingly small, and you just can’t perform The Queen of the Night without that famous f6.
(via i never knew)