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Not Working

Admittedly, the job of software guru can look pretty soft. At the Software Methods Conference in Boston one year, Meilir Page-Jones, arguably a guru himself, finished a presentation with his own musical parody of the Dire Straits hit, “Money for Nothing.” Meilir's version is the lament of the working programmer who cranks out applications day after day and then has to sit through the portable pontifications of podium presenters. “That ain't working, that's the way you do it; money for nothing and the trips for free.”

Actually, software stardom can be a mixed bag. Very few people stay “on the circuit” as long as Martin or Yourdon. Part of the secret of survival may be, as Meilir whimsically reminds us, not to take any of it too seriously. It may even help to be a little clueless. I had no idea that I might be a guru until a trip to Brazil with my younger daughter in 1988. Our host, a professor of computer science at one of Rio's major universities, asked Heather what it was like growing up with a famous father. She didn't know what he was talking about. And neither did I.


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