What could curious software developers learn if they better knew the habits, goals, and advice of the world’s best programmers? Setting aside the subjectivity of how “best” is defined for a moment, most intermediate or senior developers have witnessed certain individuals who can single-handedly build worlds. To what extent can aspiring daily practitioners learn from their path?

John Carmack is the prototype example. Looking at his daily to-done list, it stretches the imagination to think that one man could finish 19 tasks in a single day:

= feb 18 ===================================
* page flip crap
* stretch console
* faster swimming speed
* damage direction protocol
* armor color flash
* gib death
* grenade tweaking
* brightened alias models
* nail gun lag
* dedicated server quit at game end
+ scoreboard
+ optional full size
+ view centering key
+ vid mode 15 crap
+ change ammo box on sbar
+ allow “restart” after a program error
+ respawn blood trail?
+ -1 ammo value on rockets
+ light up characters

Chances are he wasn't tearing through varied systems like these when he first started. But he practiced, and he learned. And now, he has amassed decades of progress making his software dreams become realities. Having the right habits probably contributes to such outlier performance? Could he guide others to repro his circumstances? What inspires him?

And what does he have in common with other programming titans, like mitchellh (Mitchell Hashimoto)? Obviously they share the talent to focus intensely enough that the rest of the world fades to transparent background. They probably both think for themselves and are intensely curious about technical subjects? What other common ground might be found between the seemingly disparate paths they took toward building their worlds?

How far ahead do they plan, and how explicit is their planning? How do they choose what to work at the start of their day? How do they facilitate creativity, and how important is it to them to feel creative? What substances will they publicly admit to trying in pursuit of incremental velocity? 😂

The stated premise of the Tim Ferriss podcast is to “tease apart the routines and habits of the world’s top performers.” That spirit has carried his podcast to incredible heights over 10 years. Granted, he has succeeded in no small part by possessing much greater wit & presence than the current author, a pretty normal dude, could produce. A better analogy for what this podcast could be is probably Conversations With Tyler. That podcast succeeds by pairing "a set of interesting questions" with "uniquely smart people." That recipe seems like one that could be recreated w/ a focus on code behemoths?

To assemble interesting questions, I can continue accumulating those in my existing Questions for Prolific Developers list (50 Qs and counting so far). Presumably, if the podcast is interesting to anyone else, they will submit questions to augment my basic set.

In terms identifying "World-Class Developers," combining contemporary dev heroes (Carmack, Hashimoto, Torvalds) with those discovered via GitHub's publicly visible stats seems like an adequate starting point? Git commit stats research suggests that only 1% of developers reach 3,400 commits per year. To the extent I can identify devs with 4,000+ commits, they have a strong case to be considered "world-class." There are surely hundreds such developers that could have stories worth telling?

Would any other nerds aspiring devs find this podcast interesting? If I can prove any enthusiasm for this concept, it would probably be a lot easier to get the celeb-devs to give me the time of day. 😅