As far as this blog is concerned, the concept of studs and fighters began sometime in 2007, when I wrote the canonical blog post on the topic. Since then the topic has been much used and abused.
Recently, though, I remembered when I had first come across the concept of studs and fighters. This goes way back to 1999, and has its origins in a conversation with two people who I consider as among the studdest people I’ve ever met (they’re both now professors at highly reputed universities).
We were on a day-long train journey, and were discussing people we had spent a considerable amount of time with over the previous one month. It was a general gossip session, the sort that was common to train journeys in the days before smartphones made people insular.
While discussing about one guy we had met, one of us (it wasn’t me for sure. It was one of the other two but I now can’t recall which of them it was) said “well, he isn’t particularly clever, but he is a very hard worker for sure”.
And so over time this distinction got institutionalised, first in my head and then in the heads of all my readers. There were two ways to be good at something – by either being clever or by being a very hard worker.
Thinking about it now, it seems rather inevitable that the concept that would become studs and fighters came about in the middle of a conversation among studs.