Q: Who should read the New Kingmakers?
A: Anyone who wants to understand the emerging, developer-centric landscape. This is a book about technology, but a deep understanding of technology is absolutely not necessary to appreciate the message.
Q: But I don’t think developers are that important.
A: In that case, you should definitely read the book.
Q: At less than a hundred thousand words, is it really a book?
A: For lack of a better term, yes.
Q: Why isn’t the book longer?
A: After reading Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee’s excellent, 76 page Race Against the Machine, it occurred to me that the developer story could be expressed, or at least summarized, in a similar format. The result was the New Kingmakers. The book is intended to tell the story as efficiently as possible, so that busy people aren’t required to invest weeks reading it.
Consider it the tl;dr of business books, in other words.
Q: What if I’m convinced that developers are important, but my management doesn’t agree?
A: They will be forced to adapt eventually, one way or another. In the meantime, this book will help you make a stronger case for the strategic importance of the developer, and thus their relevance to corporate strategy.
Q: What is the book about?
A: As the line says, the New Kingmakers is in simple terms a book about how developers took over the world. Most technology companies today – and a growing number of non-technical companies, for that matter – are becoming aware that developers will mean the difference between their success and failure. The New Kingmakers was written to document their rise as well as the reasons behind it. More importantly, it aims to answer one simple question:
“If developers are – or become – the New Kingmakers, what should I do?”
Besides testing the hypothesis for the skeptics in the audience, it provides those seeking a competitive advantage moving forward recommendations on how to attract, recruit, retain and leverage developers to the mutual advantage of technologist and company alike.
Q: What might readers expect to get out of the book?
A: It depends on what they bring to it. Those in the technology industry who already appreciate the importance of developers may gain a broader understanding of their importance, as well as evidence to make the case to the odd skeptic here and there. Those with little exposure to developers, meanwhile, should gain a ground up appreciation for the trends and transitions that have left developers in charge. Both groups, of course, should emerge with new ideas about how to operate more efficiently in a developer-centric world, whether that’s in product strategy, human resource management or otherwise.
Q: So it’s not necessary to be a developer to read this?
A: Not at all, although they may appreciate some of the data it contains.
Q: Does the book touch on Big Data, Cloud, NoSQL or other constantly hyped technologies?
A: Inasmuch as a given technology empowers developers, it is covered, but this isn’t a book focused on the cloud or any other specific technology. It is rather about how a number of generally unrelated technical trends collectively changed the balance of power in favor of the rank and file.
Q: How does this book compare to Stephen O’Grady’s analyst blog?
A: It’s longer, for one. This extra space allows for the incorporation or more examples, case studies, facts and figures. The book also synthesizes a number of different parallel lines of research in one digestible package.
Q: What is RedMonk?
A: The analyst firm that Stephen O’Grady co-founded with James Governor in 2002. It’s the only developer focused analyst firm in the industry, and works with companies large and small to help them understand the strategic importance of developers to their business.