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Joel, how do you compensate the "non programmers"?

Just curious Joel.
After seeing your office layout, it's obvious that the programmers are the prima-donnas at Fog Creek. My q is how do you compensate or manage the non-programmers, therefore they don't feel to be 2nd class citizens?

Saturday, September 27, 2003

> the programmers are the prima-donnas

Holy.. did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed buddy?

Li-fan Chen
Sunday, September 28, 2003

I think it's more likely that he doesn't know what prima donna means. He's trying to say that programmers are considered the most important part of the organization, and they know it. Whether or not he really believes that they are self-righteous and overly demanding, I don't know.

Either way, he has a very interesting question. Hopefully Joel knows enough to give non-programmers offices too.

sell out
Sunday, September 28, 2003

Non-programmers should be constantly worked very hard.

Hey, it's easy to find them and they don't mind low pay (and if they mind, just replace them).

A good sales or marketing man is worth his weight in gold.

However, the coffee maker is not, and should be treated as such.


Celmai Taredin Parcare
Sunday, September 28, 2003

coffee maker? it's definitely a C, so No Hire :)

Sunday, September 28, 2003

The coffee maker seems to be a lowy function, unless we rename it to:

Coffee Maker Officer = CMO :)

This sounds really impressive on the resume:

January 2001- March 2002: CMO for BrainTrust, Inc.

Can't find a good name for the chief stamp licker, tough.

Celmai Taredin Parcare
Sunday, September 28, 2003

Postage Hydration Analyst?

Sam Livingston-Gray
Sunday, September 28, 2003

Postage Hydration Analyst?  LMAO. 


I'm happy I'm not the only one who noted the explicit definition of all people who are not developers as second class.  At least second class people get shelves. 

Sunday, September 28, 2003

I'm sure that Joel will be along shortly to tell us he didn't mean that the way it sounded.

In the meantime, who else thinks its a natural function of the way people are

Joel is a developer. Joel believes developers are your most important asset. Developers are the first class citizens in FogCreek.

Marketing people think they are the important part of a company -- Who do you suppose is the first class citizen in a company founded by a marketing person?

Robert Moir
Sunday, September 28, 2003

A point: in a software company, the developer is probably the most important people. Sure, a great product is useless without good marketing and sales, but all the marketing in the world can't sell a product that doesn't exist.

Mike Swieton
Sunday, September 28, 2003

I don't disagree with you in the slightest, Mike.

But I still think that the question of who gets the primo work space is connected to what kind of person is in charge.

We talk about development companies run by the clueless here who treat their programmers like dirt often enough.

Robert Moir
Sunday, September 28, 2003

Actually, I am thinking back to the article, though I'm too lazy to reread it... Does he ever actually say that the marketing/etc guys don't get such similar offices?

He doesn't say they do, but... ? 8-}

Mike Swieton
Sunday, September 28, 2003

You're too lazy to reread the article but not too lazy to post about it and wait for an answer here?

From the article:
Private Offices. Not only did we get spacious, windowed private offices, but even the common area workstations (for non-developers) are hidden in clever angular alcoves, so everyone gets their own private space without line of sight to anyone else.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Joel IS the "marketing guy." He's also the guy managing the buildout of the office space so he's the "director of operations." All his articles are about managing software engineering, so he's also the main project/product manager. What non-programmers are even necessary at his company?

Sunday, September 28, 2003

"What non-programmers are even necessary at his company?"

Well he will need someone to do HR/Accounting work for payroll and such. You need IT support or you'll have your programmers doing network troubleshooting themself. You need technical support representatives to take calls.

Optional : You need a lady who gossip,an old guy who lost hope in the company and always treaten to quit. And a young employee who surf the web, download gigs of stuff and play games on your T1 line. Well that describess the previous companies I've worked for.

Application Specialist
Monday, September 29, 2003

"...developers are your most important asset."

To my mind, any thinking like this amounts to an optimization of the part at the expense of the whole.  Apparently, each person that works in an organization is necessary to the organization pulling off its mission.  Otherwise, why would you have hired them?  In other words, you could make a case for assigning the value generated by the whole organization to each person in the organization since without one of these people the value would not materialize.

Just like any component based system, the value of the system is not inherent in any given component, it is a function of the links between the components.  If you don't understand how your system creates value, you will inevitably sub-optimize it.

Monday, September 29, 2003

You ever notice... how Joel doesn't reply to threads that start out with something contentious to obnoxious about him or his business?

I don't blame him a bit! ;-)

Bored Bystander
Monday, September 29, 2003

Naah Bored, I think Joel's not stupid enough not to understand what the original poster meant with his question.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

If giving the non-developers the better space would result in more profit, then I'm sure Joel could make that *business* decision.

It's not who runs the company, it's on who's productivity/retention the profit turns.

fool for python
Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Fog creek has like 6 employees.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

contrarian wrote about Joel, "Well he will need someone to do HR/Accounting work for payroll and such. You need IT support or you'll have your programmers doing network troubleshooting themself. You need technical support representatives to take calls."

HR/accounting can be outsourced, and in my opinion, should be.  HR takes on a life of its own within a company.  Much better to have other people take care of it, and only sign up for as much as you actually want.

IT support is a good example, though since Fog Creek is still a small company, I don't think they need anyone yet.  If they do, I'm sure "IT" will be put in one of the non-developer workstations.

Tech support can be handled by developers for now; once the company has enough customers that this seriously impacts developer time, the tech support folks can work at one of the non-developer workstations.

The Pedant, Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, September 30, 2003

The programmers are the prima-donnas? There's only one prima-donna in any opera, and I think the same applies at Fog Creek.

Breandán Dalton
Wednesday, October 15, 2003

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