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"Coder at Work" - selecting the candidates to interview

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Hi Peter,

I saw one of the threads here you mentioned about not picking more language inventors, but how did you pick (any particular consideration(s)) the interviewees for the book from around 280+ suggestions you had?

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I don't really know. Some of them I knew I wanted to talk to if I could. Then once I got those I picked other folks who I thought would balance things out in some interesting way. I had pretty good success getting folks to agree to be interviewed--I approached 20 people to end up with 15 interviewees. Two people initially agreed but then went dark when I tried to schedule the interviews; one agreed and later backed out due to lack of time; one seemed willing but went dark, and one I could never get to reply to any of my emails or letters. The rest are in the book.

One of the ways I tried to balance things was between famous and not-so-famous folks. Obviously I wanted some recognizable names on the cover to draw attention but I also wanted some people that maybe not everyone has heard of but who have done great work. Luckily my dad used to work at Bolt Beranek and Newman so I was able to get a message to the ex-BBN mailing list asking for suggestions which lead to me interviewing Bernie Cosell who probably most folks have never heard of.
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