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High Level Doers

Jim Goodnight, (CEO of the SAS Institute, Inc), writes code on the side: “His first love is programming, which he likens to solving puzzles“. Marissa Meyer (Vice President, Search Products & User Experience, Google, Inc.) writes code on the side:

I still like to write some programs every year. I do some programming on the weekends. Lately it’s been more web-centric, using PHP and MySQL. The next thing I’ll try to tackle is the Google App Engine. I’m looking to do a little more programming with Python and Ruby on Rails. But I think it’s just an element of keeping my skills fresh by exploring some of these new trends and keeping my hand in coding, even if it’s on the side of core Google work. – From the book “Making It Big In Software

Gee, do you think this low level behavior by high level employees has anything to do with why these two companies are considered insanely great by boatloads of experts and laymen? How about your company? Forget about those in the stratosphere like Jim and Marissa, do any of your front line managers do any grunge work “on the side” to keep themselves grounded in reality? Probably not, because when they made the leap into the guild of management they became too self-important for such mundane activity. Plus, because they’re expected to be infallible, they can’t be “seen” making any mistakes by the DICforce.

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