The "Sex & Cash" Theory for geeks

“The creative person basically has two kinds of jobs: One is the sexy, creative kind. Second is the kind that pays the bills. Sometimes the task in hand covers both bases, but not often. This tense duality will always play center stage. It will never be transcended…

geeks. You spend you weekdays writing code for a faceless corporation (“Cash”), then you spend your evening and weekends writing anarchic, weird computer games to amuse your techie friends with (“Sex”).”

Hugh uses this analogy to explain his suggestion for being creative, “Don’t quit your day job”. It’s interesting when we see key open source developers get hired by Google or JBoss to take their sexy side project and get paid for it. There’s a certain allure to getting paid for something you previously did purely out of passion. In my own life, I realize that I do side work in both arenas – I have a nicely paying contract doing some vanilla, cut-and-dry development, and some side projects that pay little more than potential for the future. Up to this point, each project is clearly for-hire or for-creativity.

As he mentions, there is a tension between the two that can be balanced, but it’s challenging. Pattern the employment relationship after a marriage, and the convergence of “sex” and “cash” is incidental. Of course, if you let the two become cause and effect, and it’s prostitution. Sound familiar?