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From the Software developer bestiary

The extraterrestrial

Also know as: "The weirdo"

Quote; “I can’t see why we need to buy that big expensive server dohickey. I have already found some computers in the basement and I have got them connected together and they do all that stuff already.”

The extraterrestrial can be difficult to deal with but is often the guy that comes up with the idea that gives your system an edge. When the project runs in to a hard technical problem and nobody can come up with a sound solution, the ET usually appears with a completetly wild idea that noone has though about. If you aren’t used to working with this benevolent kind of ET, chances are that you will dismiss the idea and say something like “That can’t be done!” or “I have never heard anyone doing that!” Big mistake. The ET doesn’t think like you do and that is a good thing: He will find solutions where you can’t. To get the most out of the ET you may need an “Interpreter”, who understands the ramblings of the ET and can translate them into human terms.


An ET never ever gives up on a problem and will find a solution given time. The solution may sound strange, as most ETs have a tendency to use their own vocabulary, but you will get it if you think about it for a while. Many ETs have backgrounds or personal interests that differ from those of other developers. They may be former physicists or ballet dancers, or spend their spare time raising ostriches. They can use these other activities as inspiration for their ideas and that sets them apart from your regular hacker, who often has computers and programming as his sole interest in life.


An ET should be a developer or designer, but make sure that the ET is not solely responsible for one part of the system. Chances are than noone else in the project will understand what the ET has done…

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