The Best Developer In The Building

“For the last several years in a row he received excellent remarks. His code was clean, well written, and submitted in a timely fashion. Quarter after quarter, his performance review noted him as the best developer in the building.”

Have you read the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris? Tim is something of a ‘lifehacker’ who tries to figure out ways to accomplish 80% of anything by expending only 20% of the energy, and he applies this to everything in his life – work, fitness, education – everything. Then he writes books about them and sell them. Many people love him. Many people hate him.

In the 4-Hour Workweek, one of the concepts Ferris discusses is outsourcing tasks to virtual assistants (VAs) in order to free up time. One man in the US may have read Ferris’ book and taken the concept to the next level.

The Verizon Security Team was hired to investigate a remote connection coming from China… well, why don’t you just read the whole story here?

So what do you think? The comments on that story are the most interesting part – some people saying he is a scam artist, and others saying that he should be promoted. I think the best quote from the comments section is this one from “Tyler”:

“So he managed a multi project setup, are able to communicate the requirements to remote “team members”, deals with different time zone, deliver in time, with good quality … Sounds like he was just in the wrong position.”

Is this story proof that the North American work ethic has died? Or is it proof that we have elevated ourselves to a higher level? Does it suggest that the really important work is coming up with a ‘big idea’, and that the details can be handled by anyone, as long as they are handled? Is ‘Bob’ a hero, or a villian?

If you look at this objectively, he did create a major security problem for his firm. On the other hand, as far as we know, no security breach occurred – so maybe ‘Bob’ took the proper precautions and chose a firm who could handle the security concerns. The thing that gets me about this story is that it’s not as if ‘Bob’ was delivering crappy work. In fact, according to the story, he was delivering the best work in the building, and doing it for several companies at the same time!

If ‘Bob’ had been a subcontractor, he would have been a very successful and popular one. But he wasn’t, he was an employee. Is he a cheat? Or is he simply adapting to the new reality of the world? Did he find a way to provide for his wife and family, hurt no one, and even help a company overseas?

I’m just fascinated by this story. It’s only January 17th, and I think this will be one of the most interesting stories of the year.

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