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"Coder at Work" - selecting the candidates to interview

Vijitha Kumara

Joined: Mar 24, 2008
Posts: 3900

Hi Peter,

I saw one of the threads here you mentioned about not picking more language inventors, but how did you pick (any particular consideration(s)) the interviewees for the book from around 280+ suggestions you had?


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Peter Seibel
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Joined: Oct 18, 2009
Posts: 48
I don't really know. Some of them I knew I wanted to talk to if I could. Then once I got those I picked other folks who I thought would balance things out in some interesting way. I had pretty good success getting folks to agree to be interviewed--I approached 20 people to end up with 15 interviewees. Two people initially agreed but then went dark when I tried to schedule the interviews; one agreed and later backed out due to lack of time; one seemed willing but went dark, and one I could never get to reply to any of my emails or letters. The rest are in the book.

One of the ways I tried to balance things was between famous and not-so-famous folks. Obviously I wanted some recognizable names on the cover to draw attention but I also wanted some people that maybe not everyone has heard of but who have done great work. Luckily my dad used to work at Bolt Beranek and Newman so I was able to get a message to the ex-BBN mailing list asking for suggestions which lead to me interviewing Bernie Cosell who probably most folks have never heard of.
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
subject: "Coder at Work" - selecting the candidates to interview
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