Hackers and writers

My favorite essay on programming is Paul Graham's 'Hackers and painters'. I am not referring to his book, but the essay you can find on his website. PG discusses how both hackers - the subculture, not necessarily related to computer security - and painters work in similar ways, and the concept of beauty one can find in programming.

What is it that hackers do? They write words for machines and humans alike. A programming language is a set of words that a machine can understand in order to perform an operation and output its result. Hackers also write documentation and comments to share their writings with other hackers.

Hackers are writers with their own genre. With their own rules. With their own standards for beauty.

One could argue that being a better writer is being a better hacker.

If you are building a startup, it is certain that you will have to rely on your writing skills one way or another. To explain what your product is about in a clear fashion. To inspire your employees. To inspire your users.

Writers improve their art by writing more. Similarly, hackers gotta hack. Makers gotta make.

Hackers and writers are both makers, and I believe that eventually, hacking will become an art.