I don't think it's unreasonable to say, "We're having trouble finding one great programmer". If a programmer is pretty good at what she does, then odds are she's already got a secure, comfortable, well-paid job. The VC might have suggested that extra money could attract a great programmer, but he didn't.
I think it comes down to Ambrosia versus Microsoft. The author would prefer to produce software the way Ambrosia does. The VC prefers the Microsoft way.