To me, Bram Cohen – the creator of the P2P technology BitTorrent – is inarguably a uniquely precise individual, the kind of character you would find among the profound hyperlexics in a Douglas Coupland novel. His hobbies include “recreational mathematics”, juggling, and solving strategy games and twisty puzzles. If you read his blogs at Advogato and LiveJournal, you’ll see him espousing pragmatic mathematical advice on everything from electoral votes to military-strength cryptography. This is a guy who wrote an entire algorithm, in pseudo-code, on wagering in Final Jeopardy.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that BitTorrent is not only open source and free to download, but terribly clever. He told Neowin that he gets an interview a day. So it’s a sad thing then that all everyone ever wants to ask him about is his thoughts on piracy, and the fact his program is the preferred pilferer of the people.
He usually gives a non-commital response, citing technology agnosticism. He believes the traditional CD and DVD model of the moviemaking fat cats is quickly becoming extinct, but that is a pragmatic assessment easily proven by mathematical trends. People say he’s playing it safe, but I think that’s really what he thinks. Piracy is a socioeconomic topic that doesn’t involve math or logic. And anything that doesn’t involve logic, isn’t worth considering.
You just have to read his entry on hiring employees to understand how his mind works. “Interviews are practically worthless for screening candidates,” he sniffs. His strategy? Pick the candidate with the shortest commute time. Can you get any more pragmatic?