Paul Graham

Hackers and Painters
27 minutes, 9.3mb, recorded 2004-07-13
Unlike architects (who figure out what to build) and engineers (who figure out how), great hackers and painters do both. Who makes a good hacker and how can you identify a good hacker/programmer in a job interview? Why is empathy an important skill for programmers? As a hacker who also studied painting in Europe, Paul may be uniquely qualified to write a book entitled Hackers and Painters. If you leave your day programming job only to get home and write more code, this is a great book for you.

Speaking with IT Conversations host Doug Kaye, Paul explains some of issues explored in his new book including Why Nerds Are Unpopular--Paul gets email from all over the world about this essay--and Good Bad Attitude--Is there such a thing as a hacker ethic?

In 1995, working with Robert Morris, Paul built what was arguably the first major web-based application, Viaweb, which was acquired by Yahoo in 1998 and became Yahoo Stores. Regarding the stressfullness of those days, Paul wrote, "I remember sitting back in the dentist's chair, waiting for the drill, and feeling like I was on vacation."

And you won't want to miss Paul's comments on Java, which he says, like Cobol ("a Neanderthal language"), is an evolutionary dead end.

Paul Graham is currently working on a new programming language called Arc. In 1995 he developed with Robert Morris the first web-based application, Viaweb, which was acquired by Yahoo in 1998. In 2002 he described a simple but effective Bayesian spam filter that inspired most current filters.

Paul is the author of On Lisp (Prentice Hall, 1993), ANSI Common Lisp (Prentice Hall, 1995), and Hackers & Painters (O'Reilly, 2004). He has an AB from Cornell and a PhD in Computer Science from Harvard, and studied painting at RISD and the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence.

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