Much has been said about the Mort, Elvis and Einstein controversy over the past few years (yes, years). The past few days have been no exception. One of our MVPs is apparently upset about them, and apparently some employees are not too happy about it either. I’ve waited several days to comment until the screaming stopped. Now that it has, it’s my turn to weigh in. Most of this content about this topic is completely off-base and unfounded. “Why?”, you might ask. That’s because Mort, Elvis, and Einstein don’t exist. That’s right, there is no one person on this planet that is meant to be exhibited by these personas. The names depicted here are meant to represent behaviors — not people. Trying to pigeon-hole people into one of these areas is just a misrepresentation of what the persona was meant to portray.
Mort is not a VB developer, Elvis is not a C# developer, and Einstein is not a C++ developer. Sure, the personas use these analogies because they do fairly closely resemble a large stereotypical audience, but it doesn’t “fit” to anyone. Then again, no description fits more than one developer. These personas don’t drive features and they don’t do anything but serve as reminders that we have different types of developers who need different types of features, documentation, and applications. Don’t think this is true? Ask the average VB developer what a thread is and they may get the “word for word” answer, but a large part of that audience never has wanted to understand the intricate details of thread local storage, differences between the stack and the heap and why those are important in the context of application development. Does that mean that all VB developers don’t care about threading? NO. Once again, there is plenty of evidence that einsteins exist in the VB community as well — “Einsteins” meaning people who want detail! Mort behaviors exist in the C++ community as well. I’m one of the people have have a mort mentality with C++. I know so little about C++ I’m amazed I’m allowed to breath the same air as the folks here at Microsoft. That, indeed, is the Mort side of me.
Several people have asked “Why are there no definitions for these from Microsoft.” And they are hopping mad about it! Quite frankly, its because the personas were not meant to be public information. They were used to help mold and categorize functionality internally, and nothing more. Because of that, the actual documents for these personas are not available externally. If they were, they would also likely be taken out of context.
That said, this won’t be the last discussion about these fictional characters. I imagine we’ll be hearing about them for some time. Just remember to take everything you hear with a grain of salt, and if you think the way we construct software is wrong, by all means RESPOND! Speak up, tell us how you would approach it. Better yet, apply to the team that interests you most and come implement those changes yourself!