The Myth of the Brilliant Developer
“I walk into a large white room. It’s a dance studio in midtown Manhattan. I’m wearing a sweatshirt, faded jeans, and Nike cross-trainers. The room is lined with eight-foot-high mirrors. There’s a boom box in the corner. The floor is clean, virtually spotless if you don’t count the thousands of skid marks and footprints left there by dancers rehearsing. Other than the mirrors, the boom box, the skid marks, and me, the room is empty.
To some people, this empty room symbolizes something profound, mysterious, and terrifying: the task of starting with nothing and working your way toward creating something whole and beautiful and satisfying.
Some people find this moment—the moment before creativity begins—so painful that they simply cannot deal with it. In its most extreme form, this terror totally paralyzes people.
The blank space can be humbling. But I’ve faced it my whole professional life. It’s my job. It’s also my calling. Bottom line: Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.”
Twyla Tharp in “The Creative Habit
This talk stems from a personal question both Carmen and Martin share, but is deeply rooted in the work of dr. Carol S. Dweck and choreographer Twyla Tharp. Just as with their research and practices, our talk starts by questioning what “natural talent” really means or whether such a thing exists at all, and goes on to analyse how this belief manifests itself and can influence our careers as developers. By tackling this subject, our wish is to open up the discussion about our self-image as developers and about what we as a community can do to create a healthy and empowering environment for everyone.