How many Salieris are there for every Mozart?

Every now and then I bump into particularly interesting occurrences of synchronicity. Today, reading a blog post felt like looking into a mirror:

I have worked for the same small company since my senior year in University. I have worked on projects developed in Ada, PHP, ColdFusion, Java, C#, VB 6, VB.Net, ASP, ASP.Net, and javascript/ecmascript. I’ve worked on projects that store data in MySQL, SQL Server, and Oracle including writing stored procedures, functions, and endless queries. i’ve messed around with ruby and ruby on rails. i’ve screwed with perl a little. i’ve made some bad flash applications and participated in a couple small open source initiatives. yet, through all of this i basically feel like i don’t know much at all.

Apart from the fact that the author obviously has a broader spectrum of technology experience, I could have written that.

On to the synchronicity: later today, my RSS reader brought me a post titled What to do if you’re Salieri? from Kyle Baley, “The Coding Hillbilly”:

[… snip …] I can’t help thinking there are a lot of Mozarts out there. And I don’t mean in their day-to-day work. That’s the easy part. I can pound out good code and talk best practices, often coherently.

Rather, there are people out there who are able to create beautiful music in our industry by asking the right questions and having a clear vision of what the state of the world should be. Or at least, they recognize problems I didn’t know existed [… snip …]

I know I keep getting better because today I can come up with elegant solutions to problems that a year ago I’d probably have solved by brute-forcing some spaghetti code solution — not that I wanted to, but because I couldn’t see a better way out — but that’s hardly comforting when there are people out there really pushing the envelope.

There are days when I think I’ll always be a follower rather than a leader. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s not exactly what I hoped for either.

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