Made you blink, didn’t I?
Yes, it’s true. I have now been trained as a specialist (although now “former”) hacker. I used to pay my days with huge computer systems, using ninja-like tools to solve the most complex of problems.
So what is a hacker, really? Well, the truth is the actual definition of a hacker is one that takes delight in solving problems and overcoming limits.
In the event that you thought hackers were the crooks, think again. Hackers already have a signal a couple of rules they live by to do their work. Oahu is the “crackers” (like safe-cracker) that you have to view out for.
If you’re a creative, smart and big picture thinker, you’re probably a hacker too. Welcome to the club – I’d like to fairly share the Hacker code with you. It’s simple, and it only has 5 rules:
Hackers solve problems and build things, and they believe in freedom and voluntary mutual help. (Sound familiar?) To be accepted as a hacker, you have to behave as though you have this type of attitude yourself. And to behave as though you have the attitude, you have to actually believe the attitude.
Still wish to join the club? Okay, here are the guidelines:
1. The world is saturated in fascinating problems waiting to be solved.
Being fully a hacker is a lot of fun, but it’s a type of fun that takes a lot of effort. The effort takes motivation. Successful athletes get their motivation from a type of physical delight to make their health perform, in pushing themselves past their own physical limits. Similarly, to become a hacker you have to obtain a basic thrill from solving problems, sharpening your skills, and exercising your intelligence.
(You also need to develop a type of faith is likely to learning capacity – a belief that although you may not know every one of the thing you need to solve an issue, if you tackle just a piece of it and learn from that, you’ll learn enough to solve another piece – and so on, until you’re done.)
2. No problem should ever need to be solved twice.
Creative brains are an invaluable, limited resource hire a genuine hacker. They shouldn’t be wasted on re-inventing the wheel when you can find so many fascinating new problems waiting out there.
To behave just like a hacker, you have to trust that the thinking time of other hackers is precious – so much in order that it’s almost a moral duty for you to share information, solve problems and then give the solutions away just so other hackers can solve new problems instead of experiencing to perpetually re-address old ones.
(You don’t have to trust that you’re obligated to give all of your creative product away, although hackers that do are those that get most respect from other hackers. It’s in keeping with hacker values to sell enough of it to stop you in food and rent and computers. It’s fine to use your hacking skills to guide a household as well as get rich, so long as that you do not forget your loyalty to your art and your fellow hackers while doing it.)
3. Boredom and drudgery are evil.
Hackers (and creative people in general) shouldn’t be bored or need to drudge at stupid repetitive work, because when this occurs this means they aren’t doing what only they can do – solve new problems. This wastefulness hurts everybody. Therefore boredom and drudgery are not just unpleasant but usually evil.
To behave just like a hacker, you have to trust this enough to wish to automate away the boring bits around possible, not just for yourself but for anyone else (especially other hackers).
(There is one apparent exception to this. Hackers will sometimes do things that may appear repetitive or boring to an observer as a mind-clearing exercise, or to be able to acquire a skill or possess some particular sort of experience you can’t have otherwise. But this really is by choice – nobody who can think should ever be forced into a predicament that bores them.)
4. Freedom is good.
Hackers are naturally anti-authoritarian. Anyone who can give you orders can prevent you from solving whatever problem you’re being interested in – and, given the way in which authoritarian minds work, will generally find some appallingly stupid reason to do so. So the authoritarian attitude needs to be fought wherever you discover it, lest it smother you and other hackers.
5. Attitude is not any replacement for competence.
To be a hacker, you have to produce many of these attitudes. But copping an attitude alone won’t allow you to a hacker, anymore than it will make you a champion athlete or perhaps a rock star. Being a hacker will need intelligence, practice, dedication, and hard work.
Therefore, you have to understand to distrust attitude and respect competence of each kind. Hackers won’t let posers waste their time, however they worship competence – especially competence at hacking, but competence at anything is good. Competence at demanding skills that few can master is especially good, and competence at demanding skills that involve mental acuteness, craft, and concentration is best.
In the event that you revere competence, you’ll enjoy developing it in yourself – the effort and dedication can become a type of intense play rather than drudgery. That attitude is imperative to being a hacker.
If this is practical for you, you just might be described as a hacker too! Live it, like it and allow it grow.