Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fortran developed by a Virtuoso Team

Last week, the New York Times ran an obituary for John W. Backus, who, in the late 1950s, put together and led the team that created the breakthrough programming language FORTRAN. The obituary reads like it came directly from our book on Virtuoso Teams: a team of young, gifted, and diverse members, assembled specifically to launch a revolution in programming, working under extremely focused conditions, yet led with a "light touch," and prototyping all along the way. Backus is quoted as believing: "“You need the willingness to fail all the time.... You have to generate many ideas and then you have to work very hard only to discover that they don’t work. And you keep doing that over and over until you find one that does work.”

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