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I remember a professor at Stanford for an early CS class (I'm pretty sure it was Jerry Cain) mentioning COBOL programming and drawing a graph with salary vs time for a given language that manages to be adopted widely. First when the language is rare there's a great ascent up, then as more people gain knowledge the rates drop to some minimum as the knowledge supply broadens. Then as the language shifts into a legacy context the graph ramps up again. If I remember right he claimed the ramp exceeded the initial peak in the earliest days of the language. I forget what the context was but I think it started out with a question about what languages paid the most. I think I recall him quoting a $300/hr figure for COBOL because it's so old school and the knowledgeable population so small. Then come to think of it I think he said the rates essentially drop to zero when the language is all but abandoned and transitions to modern equivalents have befallen.



It's funny what most of us consider "a lot of money". An uber driver yesterday mentioned overhearing two organ replacement surgeons talking at his gym in Palo Alto. One said, "man, the pay sucks. It's only $13,000,000 a year :-(". And the other one responded "sheesh, come work for us and we could at least get you up to $19,000,000 a year." Kind of puts things in perspective...


Yah, the free market is an amazing thing where free individuals freely agree upon rates even as astounding as those figures. The even cooler thing is that there even exist institutions that can fit that into their payroll! Maybe cooler still is that economies exist that even hold institutions such as those.

I remember going to this Bay.net talk with Juval Lowy who beat down on everyone calling devs code monkeys who got paid peanuts. Haha, ~100K range is definitely peanuts compared to a seven figure salary. What a world.


Almost nothing about healthcare in the United States resembles a functioning market, much less one worth marveling at because of all the freely available choices being made.


IANAD, but that sounds impossibly high. Sure they weren't joking or discussing how much their malpractice insurance policies cover?


FMH I wonder what the Surgeons I have met (I am on a transplant list in the UK) would say to that.


It's a funny anecdote, but in practice both supply and demand matter.

JavaScript is both extremely popular and rather well-paid. Why? Almost everyone needs it.




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