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This is why having a well-known online presence is important.

It's worth noting that it's an online presence backed by serious code, which makes Zed worth listening to (and hiring). It seems like many online presences have the attitude without supplying the code.

Zed Shaw's code is insignificant in the face of the contribution of many, many far more talented open source developers who are far less accomplished at leveraging controversy to drive traffic and attention.

The mileage that Zed Shaw has received on a simple well-designed Python SMTP library is absolutely astounding and totally disproportionate to the complexity, novelty, and general market need for the library. His only other notable contribution is a simple, feature-constrained single-purpose micro web server that uses a scaling-limited thread-per-request architecture.

Yeah, it's not like he wrote something that lots of people used like... mongrel, for example.

[Edit: This comment doesn't really make much sense now, since the parent updated his comment to note that Zed ALSO wrote mongrel. I'd delete this comment except for reply attached to it.]

Do you know -- off the top of your head -- who the primary contributors are to Apache? They wrote the HTTP server that runs the web.

[Edit] Why is the reply nonsense? The point is fairly clear -- there are far more established, widely used, complex and important projects that do not have such vitriolic personalities attached. Zed Shaw's known for his blog posts, not because of any proportionally notable contribution to the open source community.

(The original unmodified comment referred to this reply as "nonsense").

I pretty much agree with you. My comment was on the "online personality" part.

If one person wrote Apache, you'd probably know his or her name.

Apache (originally NCSA HTTPd) was originally written by Robert McCool. He also drafted the initial CGI specification.



Can't argue with that!

ZS built a lot of his reputation before he switched to python -- see his rants on Ruby on Rails etc.

They're "all mouth and no trousers", as a British saying goes. Zed has a wardrobe full of trousers.

I am getting a weird sense of deja vu here. Like when VA Linux hired that other loudmouth, ESR. How did that work out for them?


...but, OTOH, it worked out well for ESR...

(Or as they say in Texas, "all hat and no cattle".)

But, will his online presence hurt him or help him in this case? Zed is obviously intelligent, but his tendency to not "play nice" with others might not fit with too many grow mode startups who don't want drama, and just want to get the best stuff out the door as fast as possible. Though, maybe a little Zed drama will help get better stuff out the door. It's a tough call. I wish him the best of luck and can't wait to see what happens with the lucky company that he fits into.

I think in the absolute, it will absolutely help him. It might detract some companies from hiring him, but I think his contributions in software and publications opened him up to a magnitude of potential employers, even if some of them might not want that sort of exposure.

Let's say he didn't post or publish anything, would you say he'd be better off? I'm positive he won't.

I'd hire Zed just for his online presence. I'd put him in the Technology Evangelist role he mentioned. Just having Zed on staff would mean instant publicity for a small startup. Even if he doesn't play nice (although he seems like a reasonable guy if you watch his talks), you could keep him relatively isolated in that type of role. Let him work on Lamson while he pimps your product all over the web and at conferences.

If they're looking for free marketing, then yes.

I'm sure he'll find something worthwhile, tho, because of his presence. So overall, it will help him.

If he wants a management position, not so much, IMO.

What qualities does he bring that would make him a good leader? It's his way or the highway, he's always right, everybody else are idiots, has a taste for drama...

Yep, just what any struggling organization needs. Dissent is fine, what Zed brings - just in a blog - would suck to work with.

I think he's a good programmer and self-promoter, but nothing of his that I've read would lead me to put him in charge of something. In a few years, when he's matured some, maybe.

Is it really important in this case? Just so a bunch of different companies can fawn all over him because he said "I'm looking for work, contact me"?

If you have the skills (he does), finding a job should not be too difficult. No need to blog about it.

It is one way to network. You can do it without a blog, too -- call up old clients/bosses/etc that you've overdelivered to and ask them what they've heard on the grapevine. (Works better if they remember you as someone they sincerely enjoyed working with and that they would recommend to friends.)

Even when what the fame is infamy for chewing out and bitching at communities?

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