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Honestly that anecdote just proves that you were a better engineer than the 60 hour boot loader guy. It doesn't say anything about hours other than that some people will work hard even if they aren't making progress. You aren't claiming that he'd have done better by spending only 2/3 the time, just that a solution (that he couldn't find) existed that fit.

Honestly I find myself amused at the extent of the argument here. Most people I've known in the tech world who work long hours generally do so because ... they like it. It's a way to define your life. It's a way to feel good about yourself. I'm sure there are programmers trapped in death march dungeons somewhere for exploitative wages, but they are the exception, not the rule.

I think the point is more that having some sort of time constraint perhaps helps force you to come up with more realistic solutions.

For example the number of startups with VC investment who seem to have spent 50%+ of their time creating a new NoSQL DB or something.

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