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I disagree. I think that top-1% programmers actually fare worse when thrown into a typical Java codebase. Sure, they're very productive on their own stuff (whether in Clojure or Java, although I still think those programmers will fare better with Clojure) but if you dropped a 1%er (or even a 10%er) into a pile of someone else's FactoryFactory garbage, he'd either rewrite it or fail completely to make any headway. Bad code is the Waterloo of good engineers.

I've seen companies end up in inversion, which means that the most apparently productive engineers are the worst ones. It's a common effect in "design pattern" Java shops with all their Visitor and Factory and Vibrator and AbstractSingletonFactory patterns. It's not pretty. Good people are either taken badly (because they keep agitating for rewrites) or become disengaged and eventually leave or are fired.

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