Business models

The Art of Programming: The Coder as Rock Star

A recent article in The New Yorker, “The Programmer’s Price,” described a new business model in the tech world: programmers are working with agents to find business opportunities and negotiate contracts.  This demonstrates a shift in how the tech world and other industries view programmers – no longer are they hired to sit in a corner and code.  Essentially, they were creating something, but no one thought of their work as creative in the same sense that an artist is creative.  In today’s publishing landscape, where data rules and content is liberated from physical, paper formats, it is clear that programmers’ work is not only creative, but fundamentally redefining both for the content itself and for the publishing industry overall.  This work doesn’t just require coders, but visionaries and “rock-star developers,” as the article calls them.  The search for coders is no longer a race to the bottom in terms of hourly wage; it is a talent search.  In the scenario offered in the article, companies can act as agents for creative developers, earning approximately 15% of what the developers earn.  A creative developer is now in the same place as the author – the talent – and it benefits publishers to recognize this and adjust their business models accordingly.

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