Most people, at the top of their profession, derive some intrinsic value from their work. It is probably one of the reasons they excel in their chosen vocation. Such a calling usually satisfies significantly more than their financial needs. They derive an extreme sense of satisfaction, and at times, inspiration from the work itself. Ernest Newman noted:
The great composer does not set to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working. Beethoven, Wagner, Bach and Mozart settled down day after day to the job in hand with as much regularity as an accountant settles down each day to his figures. They didn’t waste time waiting for inspiration.
All the truly exceptional developers that I have had the pleasure of working with displayed an intense passion for their craft. They got off on the work. Just like exceptional musicians get off on their music. Passion for your craft is a pre-requisite for greatness. If you want to hire the best of the best, learn to look for a certain fire in their bellies and sparkle in their eyes.