Building the Best Software Services, can you find the secret guild?

I have been the bay area for the past two weeks for business meetings before I head back to Redmond.  Actually haven’t been here for two weeks straight, taking two trips.  I’ve lived for 22 years in Redmond, and before that spent 32 years in Silicon Valley.  I go back and forth often enough that I have an office space in both locations.  How Silicon Valley works is different than Seattle/Redmond, but there is a common trait.  The guys who belong to the secret guild of low level programmers who can build services that scale and run like an energizer bunny.  Working on OS at Apple and Microsoft got me used to working with the developers who belong to the secret guild.

What is the secret guild?  Here is a post that tells the story.

the secret guild of silicon valley

The governors of the guild of St. Luke, Jan de Bray

A couple of weeks ago, I was drinking beer in San Francisco with friends when someone quipped:

"You have too many hipsters, you won’t scale like that. Hire some fat guys who know C++." 

It’s funny, but it got me thinking.  Who are the “fat guys who know C++”, or as someone else put it, “the guys with neckbeards, who keep Google’s servers running”? And why is it that if you encounter one, it’s like pulling on a thread, and they all seem to know each other?

The reason is because the top engineers in Silicon Valley, whether they realize it or not, are part of a secret Guild.  They are a confraternity of craftsmen who share a set of traits:


Read the post to get the rest of story.

For those of you too lazy to click on the link, here is the closing paragraphs.

Finally, the implicit compact that the Guild makes with a company is that their efforts will not be in vain.  The most powerfully attractive force for the Guild is the promise of building a product that will get into the happy hands of hundreds, thousands, or millions.  This is the coveted currency that even companies that have struggled to build an engineering reputation, like foursquare, can offer. 

The Guild of Silicon Valley is largely invisible, but their affiliations have determined the rise and fall of technology giants.  The start-ups who recognize the unsung talents of its members today will be tomorrow’s success stories.