Ravi Mohan's Blog

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The Fowler Effect and The Thief's justification

One of my friends said " You thoughtworkers , (conveniently ignoring the fact that I am no longer a Thoughtworker) always point at Martin Fowler and say 'See how cool he is. Aren't I cool too?' ".

Though this was intended as a joke, there is a kernel of truth to this.

And it is not about Thoughtworks( which is one of the finest companies in the world. I advise any non thoughtworker reading this blog to consider working at Thoughtworks for a year or two.You'll meet some very high calibre peple and learn an incredible amount about how to write good code)

I have seen people from Lucent and even IBM Global Services (!!) and Wipro (!!!) and God Forbid, TCS , walk around with their noses in the air .

There are a few Indians , thoughtworkers and others , who stand on their own feet, technically and otherwise . But there is also a tendency to "derive" one's own coolness from a company, a co worker etc , which I think is shameful .

On a related thread, yesterday I was speaking to a friend who was in a moral dilemma which was all about being attracted to ,what we in our college days used to call an an AMG (Another Man's Girl). To a degree the attraction was reciprocated and my friend was in a dilemma as to proceed further or not.

In my usual brutally direct fashion,I pointed out that the solution to poverty is not theft . You can't steal another man's girl just because you don't have one (or more :-P ) of your own.

Back to the Fowler Effect .If you are poor in "coolness" the solution is not to steal a bit of Martin's , but to generate some of your own !

In general I think what one ought to do is to strive to reach the levels of excellence exemplified by the person(s) you admire. That is not only personally fulfilling, it is also a fitting tribute to your idol.

Besides it puts the "coolness" where it belongs - inside you .

So, yes, I want to be known for my technical skills . Yes I want to speak at OOPSLA someday. I want to write books . And Martin Fowler has been and remains a BIG inspiration, as a person who has "walked the walk". And Thoughtworks has been very educational . But I don't want ANY respect for having worked in Thoughtworks or having worked with Martin . Just react what I do and who I am and I am more than happy. Having said that, I WILL dedicate the first book I publish to Martin and Thoughtworks!

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