Athletes vs Programmers

Keith Rabois gave a talk in YC's startup class. Among many interesting things, I'll focus on his idea that since athletes do fine with salary transparency, maybe it could be more successful in tech too. However for three reasons I don't think the example of athletes generally translates to programmers[0].

Athletes have agents to negotiate on their behalf, but programmers negotiate themselves[1]. Therefore perceived discrepancies feel more personal.

Feedback Cycles
If an athlete improves you can see it quickly, as soon as the next game. Meanwhile, if you get better as a programmer it will take a long time, maybe years, before the impact is fully realized.

Telling the extreme performers for both are relatively clear. But in contrast to programmers, it's much easier to differentiate those in the middle of the distribution. Two reasons: first, every game is entirely recorded, from multiple angles even, and presumably teams also record their practices. In contrast, only an infinitesimal number of programmers do this[2]. Moreover, there're dozens of people at sports organizations who analyze all footage, whereas for programmers it can be hard, for good reasons, for even your manager to know exactly what you've been doing

[0] Like Rabois, I am not saying whether companies should or shouldn't have transparency
[1] There's a startup called FreeAgency trying to do this. (I'm not affiliated.)
[2] One example would be malisper

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