We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made.
Jonathan Solórzano-Hamilton

A bad craftsman blames his tools. It’s always disheartening to see the blame for failure of effectively delivering software fall on developers.

I’m sorry, but I can’t help but see this story as massive mismanagement. You put the expectations on Rick and then crunched him until he burned out, while being massively toxic along the way. All the points about how he overdesigned parts of the application made me scream “where was the product owner?”. It seems like you leave your developers (even in the after-Rick) to handle themselves, with no coaching into good practices and no checks on what is actually being produced; maybe you need a more tech-savvy (and hands-on) head of development?

Secondly, your metric for talent is clearly flawed. Whether or not Rick would have not snapped even if not mishandled, he was not the great asset you think: soft skills are a necessary component of good teamwork, and he clearly didn’t have lots. While it’s (anecdotally) true that technical “geniuses” often are also a bit spectrumy, that ability is wasted (nay, damaging) if not channeled properly.

And lastly, don’t ever expect anyone to work seven days a week, twelve hours a day and produce anything but insane crap. All levels of software development require some degree of higher thought and creativity, and crunch just kills it.

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