Is it always better to hire someone to do the same job for less money? Does shopping around for the lowest cost employee really benefit the company?

Well, Joel Spolsky doesn't seem to think so, at least not where programmers are concerned. He seems to think that with programmers it's far better to find the best possible candidate, and let their performance recoup the costs for you. I have to say I tend to agree. With the reproduction of the final product having a price tag of $0 (not counting distribution costs), since you can make as many copies as you want without having to double the cost (as opposed to say, a woodworker where you have to re-factor in time and materials); there is no reason not to find the best talent possible, even if they charge a little more.

Once your amazing programmers have created their work of art, you can freely reproduce it and pass it out to the masses. I particularly enjoy his analogy to movie stars and hit films. Couldn't 5 lesser actors produce the same product as one superstar? No, of course not. And you know why the filmmakers are willing to pay Mr. Pitt that astronomical wage? Because they know that they can sell the movie an infinite amount of times without having to increase the cost of production, so long as people LIKE the movie they're putting out. I'm here to tell you that people ENJOY things made with talent and passion....traits of those superstars, not the 5 "lesser" replacements. This is also something Joel goes on to discuss.

It's quite an interesting read.

Perhaps all that nose in book time is worthwhile after all, huh? At least I can keep telling myself that as I continue to pursue the ever increasingly vast sea of languages, protocols and packages. It's a never ending stream, so it's a good thing I enjoy it. ;)

-Colin

[Listening to: Special Meds - Where's My Show?]