Jason Lewis writes of the plight of the Chaotic Good, especially when trapped in a large organization. Apparently these are D&D alignments. The most concise explanations of these that I have found are in the form of memes, of which there are many to choose. In case that doesn’t clarify the matter, the good neutral folkx at Max Planck Institute offer an alignment quiz. From the post:
I’ve seen myself as “chaotic good” long before this series of posts, or before I ever thought of applying the D&D alignment categories to roles at work. It fits with my politics (anarchist-communist), with my gneral M.O. of getting things done (open source is always bettter, and it’s always easier to ask for forgiveness than to get permission). It also fits with my general attitude toward work: if you want something brilliant, tell me what you want and get the fuck out of my way. If you want a mess, keep letting middle managers stick their fingers in the pie of my creative process.
Church makes an excellent point, though, that the “technocrat” disposition, and the alignments it tends to entail (chaotic good to chaotic neutral) tend to be notoriously difficlut to manage. The only thing I think is missing from the series he’s been doing on this issue is that if you’re a programmer, you weren’t meant to have a boss.
The article by Paul Graham on why programmers aren’t meant to have a boss is also a good read, and Paul Graham has been mentioned in the present blog before. Graham has reached the conclusion that (for a programmer, at least) nothing good can result from working for a large organization. Nothing at all. Paul Graham says that instead people (even entry level people) should be founding startups.
It’s interesting how we get from anarcho-communism (which I’m all for) to going into business for oneself (which terrifies me a lot and repulses me at least a little). Addressing the employment problem with self employment is the textbook example of “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” For better or for Worse, I’m not emotionally ready to let go of the desire to beat them. If a programmer isn’t meant to have a boss, that would logically imply that a programmer isn’t meant to be their own boss. As Paul Graham says:
The people who come to us from big companies often seem kind of conservative.
No arguing with that. But from my unique and twisted perspective, the people who start businesses also seem kind of conservative. More often that not, VERY conservative. I know part of this is my belief that libertarianism is a subset of conservatism, but even if we assume (for the sake of argument) that not all libertarians are conservatives, can founders of startups be communists?