CHAPTER 6

The Myth of the Ninja Rockstar Developer

In 2007, I was hired as a senior web developer at the local events search engine Zvents. On my first day, not more than 15 minutes after entering the office as an employee for the first time, the CEO asked me, “Are you our new rockstar developer?”

To be clear, he meant well. He meant the term as a compliment, consistent with industry jargon, as well as an expectation of big things.

I had certainly heard the term before, but was still taken aback. I had never thought of myself as a “rockstar” before, and wasn’t entirely sure what it truly meant. (Actually, it might be more accurate to say I already thought of myself as a failed rockstar, having played keyboard in a few rock bands in my younger ...

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