Got an interesting e-mail today. Hans Friedrich, like me, develops Web apps in Rails, and he watched the awesome Google Video I linked to recently where Tim Ferriss and Marci Alboher talk about their respective books (both of which are excellent).
Hans is a hard-working Rails developer, putting in long hours and making good money. Although I don't do the big-money/long-hours thing, I've done it in the past. Hans pointed out that the four-hour work week and the hard-working programmer can be very different things, from very different worlds - I'd add that this is especially true in Silicon Valley - and he asked me to connect the dots. Here's a partial quote from my reply:
Those dots are some great dots to connect but I'm still figuring out the answer myself. I think one great way to do it is PeepCode, which Geoffery Grosenbach told me is now his full-time thing. Selling information products for $9 a pop is a great model in terms of scalability and automation. It does require that Geoff keep learning as much as he can about Rails, but if you enjoy learning about Rails, that's just another plus.
Of course, if you're working for a startup, Tim Ferriss' ideas are pretty hard to implement; but if you're running your own consultancy or working for a larger corporation, the book gives you some pretty great options and strategies.
Definitely expect to see more in the future about The Four Hour Work Week and my experiences putting its ideas into practice. Although many of the ideas are new to me, and putting them into practice may take some trial and error, I've been doing the frequent mini-retirements thing since I was 18 or 19, and I absolutely swear by that. A crucial part of enjoying life.