Quick SummaryRecently, I came across a code of ethics for hackers (yes, it really does exist) that I'd like to share with you, because I think it really hits home with what we all really are as entrepreneurs. Here it is:
The Hacker's Code Of Ethics!
Hackers solve problems and build things, and they believe in freedom and voluntary mutual help.
To be accepted as a hacker, you have to behave as though you have this kind of attitude yourself. And to behave as though you have the attitude, you have to really believe the attitude.
But if you think of cultivating hacker attitudes as just a way to gain acceptance in the culture, you'll miss the point. Becoming the kind of person who believes these things are important for you - for helping you learn and keeping you motivated. As with all creative arts, the most effective way to become a master is to imitate the mind-set of masters - not just intellectually but emotionally as well.
Or, as the following modern Zen poem has it:
To follow the path:
look to the master,
follow the master,
walk with the master,
see through the master,
become the master.
So, if you want to be a hacker, repeat the following things until you believe them:
1. The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved.
Being a hacker is lots of fun, but it's a kind of fun that takes lots of effort. The effort takes motivation. Successful athletes get their motivation from a kind of physical delight in making their bodies perform, in pushing themselves past their own physical limits. Similarly, to be a hacker you have to get a basic thrill from solving problems, sharpening your skills, and exercising your intelligence.
2. No problem should ever have to be solved twice.
Creative brains are a valuable, limited resource. They shouldn't be wasted on re-inventing the wheel when there are so many fascinating new problems waiting out there.
To behave like a hacker, you have to believe that the thinking time of other hackers is precious - so much so that it's almost a moral duty for you to share information, solve problems and then give the solutions away just so other hackers can solve new problems instead of having to perpetually re-address old ones.
3. Boredom and drudgery are evil.
Hackers (and creative people in general) should never be bored or have to drudge at stupid repetitive work, because when this happens it means they aren't doing what only they can do - solve new problems. This wastefulness hurts everybody. Therefore boredom and drudgery are not just unpleasant but actually evil.
To behave like a hacker, you have to believe this enough to want to automate away the boring bits as much as possible, not just for yourself but for everybody else (especially other hackers).
4. Freedom is good.
Hackers are naturally anti-authoritarian. Anyone who can give you orders can stop you from solving whatever problem you're being fascinated by - and, given the way authoritarian minds work, will generally find some appallingly stupid reason to do so. So the authoritarian attitude has to be fought wherever you find it, lest it smother you and other hackers.
5. Attitude is no substitute for competence.
To be a hacker, you have to develop some of these attitudes. But copping an attitude alone won't make you a hacker, any more than it will make you a champion athlete or a rock star. Becoming a hacker will take intelligence, practice, dedication, and hard work.
Therefore, you have to learn to distrust attitude and respect competence of every kind. Hackers won't let posers waste their time, but they worship competence - especially competence at hacking, but competence at anything is good. Competence at demanding skills that few can master is especially good, and competence at demanding skills that involve mental acuteness, craft, and concentration is best.
If you revere competence, you'll enjoy developing it in yourself - the hard work and dedication will become a kind of intense play rather than drudgery. That attitude is vital to becoming a hacker.
....and that, my dear friends, is the code of the hacker.
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