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Developer Hegemony: The Future of Labor

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  287 ratings  ·  38 reviews
It’s been said that software is eating the planet. The modern economy—the world itself—relies on technology. Demand for the people who can produce it far outweighs the supply. So why do developers occupy largely subordinate roles in the corporate structure?

Developer Hegemony explores the past, present, and future of the corporation and what it means for developers. While
Kindle Edition, 476 pages
Published April 23rd 2017 by DaedTech
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Mark Seemann
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I feel a little dirty after having read this book. A great part of it unrolls why modern corporations are poor workplaces, particularly for software developers. Having gone independent six years ago myself, I enjoyed the cynicism of the analysis, and found myself metaphorically cheering on the author throughout much of this part. I couldn't quite shake the feeling, however, that I was suffering from massive confirmation bias.

It's often entertaining and validating to read a scorching criticism of
Mircea Ŀ
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
The book is both good and bad. It’s a good read if you want to gain some perspective, but it also is severely lacking in some areas (to the point where I would say it give anti-advice)

The Good:
You will have a mini-existential crisis, especially if some of the situations described kinda sound like something you’ve experienced. Probably the best thing that you can take away from the book is to be more introspective and to try to think about the long term.

The Bad:
The format chosen and the length
Jan Van Ryswyck
This is an important book. It might be the new "Mythical Man Month" for the next generation of software developers and knowledge workers. Only time will tell. I can only hope that the future outlined in this book might become reality one day. Perhaps we're at the dawn of the age of the "developer opportunist", the "efficiencer". A person who doesn't seek to align business with IT, but who is both business and IT. I'm going to need more time to digest the thought provoking content of this book. ...more
Georgia Martine
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Erik makes a lot of good points that he also makes on his blog. He makes the case for changing the software development industry to give software developers the power and respect they're probably owed.

He's positive that the way that we work is going to change, and I believe him. Something has got to give with the current model which only really works for the "journeymen".

He gives no-nonsense advice to start a blog on Wordpress and to not get sucked into considering a more technical
Michael Haupt
Sep 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
One-sentence review: a waste of time and money that could have been a single blog post.

A review of the book in the style of the book: "This is the truth about how developers want and need to work. If you disagree, you're pathologically wrong, because this book is right. Nuff said."

The book is written from the perspective of someone for whom corporate structures didn't work out, and sadly, the book generalises this perspective to the level of universal truth. In doing that, it puts all dissenters
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic polemic on the future of labor

I say polemic because Dietrich pulls no punches in saying what he thinks about all aspects of software development, his experience in the industry, what he sees as the future of developer labor, and related topics. I'm a professional productivity trainer and consultant and found his take bold and compelling, with numerous examples, metaphors, and case studies pointing the way to the future he describes. I highly recommend this book not only for developers
Josh Hamacher
Mar 30, 2018 marked it as abandoned
I abandoned this and have no intention of going back to it.

The first 20% was enjoyable. It outlined a simplistic, hyperbolic view of modern corporate life. It wasn't an unreasonable model and I nodded in agreement at points, even while being slightly annoyed by repetition.

After that, I slogged through another 25% of the book, wondering if the author would ever actually get to the point (and what exactly that point would be). It steadily became more incomprehensible and rambling, and I abandoned
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: software developers
Shelves: it
One of the best books I have read, I think every software developer should take a look at it. The author is a good observer, gives a lot of eye-opening examples, allows to understand how corporations treat employees and what are consequences of choosing different career paths. Logical structure, good writing style, keeps you curious what comes next, with just enough humour. I couldn’t not stop reading it. You don’t get a pie-in-the-sky - the author suggest taking an evolutionary approach to ...more
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
The first half of this book is a dark and deeply cynical look at the current corporate culture. The part ends with a grim outline of a plan you'd have to follow to succeed in this environment.

Had the book ended at that point, it would be the most depressing thing I've read in the past few years – especially considering that I witness first-hand some of the described pathologies at my workplace. Fortunately, there's a second part which describes the alternative to the corporate model.

My biggest
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Some interesting analysis and points of how big corps operate and their intrinsic dynamics. However the author's prophecies of the software industry feels very colored and one-sided of his own point of view, values, and choices.

I'd recommend to read for some alternative ideas on overlapping topics here.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Something I think speaks to the efficacy of the author's paradigm is the way the reviews of the book break down. You have the pragmatists, who are depressed at the truths expressed in the book; you have the opportunists, who nod, while feeling a twinge of guilt at their own behaviors as exposed here (and in more than one case, a suspicion of confirmation bias, as their own success leads them to conclude the book is correct); and you have the idealists, who hate this book because it flies in the ...more
Robert Boyd
In the same vein as 'The New Kingmakers: How Developers Conquered the World', this book describes the hero's journey of the software engineering profession. The past three decades have shown outlier rise-to-power scenarios where the world's wealthiest people became so because they knew how to tap the value of software, but this is clearly indicative of an overall trend.

Erik Dietrich illustrates why developers have all the leverage to reclaim the bulk of the value capture in the new economy.

Sergey Machulskis
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Totally worth your time, especially if you're knowledge worker and you feel like grunt sometimes. I expected the book to be a little bit crazy but it isn't. The entire corporation-driven sector of the IT industry is crazy instead.

This book is an in-depth version of Don't Call Yourself A Programmer article, one of my favourites.
And by "in-depth" I mean really deep dive into the delusion of "real programmer". And it debunks a myth that the pyramid-shaped organizational chart is wise, honest and
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It sheds light on the ridiculousness of corporate structures in knowledge work like software development. I have always struggled working in a corporate environment as I find the whole process of interviews, annual reviews, IDPs etc. did not result in having great people in the company, or helping anyone improve and become their best in any way. It's all a bunch of baloney that was setup in the past by early corporations and is being copied to this day. Anyway, I ...more
Anish K George
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book has three layers of content. One is a true observation and assessment of corporate layers. Second is how the author envision future of programming industry. Third is about how and why technical staff should learn to market themselves.
There are many developers these days who pretends that they just want to program the JIRA task assigned to them and go home. Then after a few days they complain about not being recognized enough and not getting new opportunities. This book is a guide for
Jacob O'Bryant
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A refreshingly cynical take on how companies work. I worked at a relatively good software company my first year out of college, but I still found myself nodding in agreement as I read. He's too hard on startups though. He basically makes the case that we should all be independent consultants/contractors, which in general I think is a great idea. However, startups are still needed to create brand new products. Though the author didn't address it, this book sparked the following question for me: ...more
Deiwin Sarjas
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it
A refreshing perspective after having spent almost a year mostly reading books on management.

The criticism in this book felt accurate, if a little one-sided. The vision and suggestions, however, I have a problem with. I'm currently mostly interested in the organization of engineering teams in software product companies and the book offered little guidance on that topic. It briefly mentioned that they'll be partnering with efficiencer firms, but it's hard to believe that software product
Jake McCrary
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to have a hard time reviewing this book and giving it five stars is maybe too high. It wasn't the easiest book to read. It definitely has some depressing moments.

The first part of the book takes a very cynical look at corporations. If you've worked for companies of any size beyond small then you'll probably read this part and start feeling depressed. You'll be able to take the categories Dietrich describes and put former/current coworkers and yourself into them. This doesn't always
Mihai Cosareanu
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a great perspective to think from. It sounds a bit radical though, and I don't think that all big corporations are the same. Things are changing and the technology market is pretty dynamic, it's going to force them to change at some point, but I do agree that becoming an "efficiencer" is way better than being a software engineer. Looking at yourself as a business that helps other businesses automate stuff is a much more viable economic model.

I think it's definitely worth reading and there
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
The book has some good thoughts, but it's very cynical. I got tired of it after the first few chapters. Let's be honest: A large percentage of software companies and teams are dysfunctional, but in a variety of ways. The book lost my interest when I saw it wasn't talking about anything currently relevant for me. Maybe I'll pick it up again in a few years, especially if I'm at a different company (God forbid I end up some place so bad again...).
Peter Morlion
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great insights into the corporate world. This confirms things I had been seeing in many companies, byt explains it better and provides an optimistic alternative to the traditional options in your career. The first half seems to lead to a conclusion that you should become an unethical asshole, but read on! This books provides good tips on taking control over your professional life. As a programmer of course.
Tatiana Ensslin
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good book but the publisher clearly didnt do a good job of reviewing. Stream of conscious styled with lots of random stories to support ideas and act as similies to theories.

I felt up to chapter 36 was worth the read, it sorta got away from me after that.

Cynical but yet does present a categorical view of corporate structure.
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is uneven, overlong and could have used an editor to hone its message. Despite that, every developer should read this book.

The middle part is a cynical masterpiece about the meta-game of corporate work, and how to get ahead.

The rest of the book boils down to understanding why developers are valuable and how end up working for yourself in a non-corporate environment.

Bill Meade
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book of the year

Jul 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Dietrich seems to have a superficial grip on what he writes about. The only value I see in this book is the last quarter when he uses the first person pronoun less and talks about specifics.
Tim Siwula
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
very good. paints a great macro picture for you to make sense of. Using this information you can know where you are, have been or want to go.
Pragmatist / Idealist / Opportunist / Opportunist Owner
Mark Magagna
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interesting take on a different approach for development.
Josh Clement
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Interesting take on the future of work.
Could have been shorter, but I appreciated the depth and tactical detail, especially in the corporate examples.
Stein Karlsen
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-improvement
Talks bout different roles in an organization, pragmatists, opportunists and idealists.
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“I became
a sponge. A new chapter began in my own education, and I dual
majored in corporate politics and software development in the real
“So far, I’ve covered the importance” 0 likes
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