I understand your objection to my singleminded absolutism but I stand by it. The ability to concentrate is not the only factor in doing good work but next to it all others are secondary at best.

I’m a pretty smart guy. I’m not a genius. I’ve worked with others who’ve made me feel stupid. But in at least a dozen cases in my career I’ve been able to solve problems that had eluded others, often for years, people who were

  • Smarter than I am
  • More experienced than I am
  • Had code access to the technology exhibiting the problem, while I didn’t

The difference between me and them was my ability to gnaw at the problem for hours or days at a time, to think and think and think. I almost always had my real breakthroughs away from the computer, usually while driving a long way. I’ve come up with algorithms that reduced solution time by over a dozen orders of magnitude. I’ve analyzed code and gotten web pages to load 300 times faster. And the only advantage that I have is being able to stay focused on the problem; interrupt me with meetings and I can’t do this at all.

American Software Developer living in Vietnam. Classical musician (guitar, woodwinds), weightlifter, multilingual, misanthrope • XY

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