I think many aspects of what makes for a great programmer depend on what you’re working on and the people that you’re working with, but I’ve seen some common traits in people who have had a lot of success in software development that I felt were worth sharing.
Drummond has always been about flipping the switch on baked-in ideas about art and music, but this is something else. Performance for the sake of performance, completely dissolving the boundaries between musician and audience, to the point where they become one and the same entity.
I find conceptual music deeply fascinating and satisfying, and the idea of a piece of music mutating and evolving beyond the reach of it’s composer is an amazing idea.
In 1997, when I was first hired at New York magazine, Kurt Andersen, now a best-selling novelist and radio-show host, had just been fired as editor. Everybody was grieving about this, though not me, since I wouldn’t have had a job there otherwise. And though it wasn’t until years later that I even met Kurt, he unwittingly left me a gift: tacked to the bulletin board in the office I took over was a single page titled ‘Words We Don’t Say’. It contained, as you might surmise, words and phrases that Kurt found annoying and didn’t want used in his magazine. Just yesterday, I rescued it from a bunch of old office stuff that I was throwing out, and I have to say, 14 years later, it’s still a pretty useful list of phony-baloney vocabulary that editors are well-advised to excise from stories.
The following note was written by Eric Idle to fellow-Python Graham Chapman in the late-1970s.