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Friday was formally my last day at Memento, but I count it as yesterday. Way back in March, I gave a sort-of four months' notice, saying that I would likely be leaving "at the middle of the year". At their request I left that squishy, but the acquisition by FIS did nothing to change my feelings there, and I decided to take myself literally, with myself ending on June 30th. Part of why I was leaving is that I'm a small-company guy at heart, preferring fast, agile organizations that get results quickly, and for all that FIS seems more clueful than the average big company, there has to be more bureaucracy as a result.

That said -- it *is* a good company, at least the group-formerly-known-as-Memento part of it, and they're hiring like gangbusters. If you're looking, and you like a more stable environment than I do, it's worth checking out. The FIS job-search page is here. (Yes, it totally fails in Chrome, and yes, that says something about the fact that this is a big finanicial firm that hasn't managed to keep up with these newfangled browsers. Don't hold it against the Memento group -- I don't even know what *state* is responsible for the stupid job-search site.) Look under US / MA / Burlington for the Memento listings: they're looking for everything from a UI Architect (that is, someone to replace me) to an administrative assistant.

Anyway, my head is starting to adjust to me moving on. This afternoon, I started my ToDoList of tasks in the House and Estate projects: that got to 40 tasks in the first half hour and I suspect that I got less than half of what actually needs doing. So it's going to be a busy summer of getting my life in order.

In the meantime, I'm gearing up my programming. The nice thing about programming for fun, instead of working for someone, is that I'll likely get more done in 2 hours/day that I've typically been doing in an entire day. First up is The Great OP Compiler Project, as I attempt to take all the data in the existing Order of Precedence site (many, many hand-maintained HTML files, slightly grungy and inconsistent, with much of the semantics implicit in the formatting), and literally write a compiler from that into a nice clean SQL format. It should be an entertaining project, and will limber up my Scala skillls. The objective is to have that ready before Pennsic, so we can begin the actual port to the new site sometime after. And in the meantime, I'll be gearing up the Querki project in the background, to start in earnest in August.

And on the relationship front, things are going well. We ordered the ring yesterday, after much discussion of what we were looking for in a diamond. It's going to be very pretty.

Expect lots of diarizing and stuff, especially in the next month. There are no less than three major Jane anniversaries, starting tomorrow, and I've got a lot to process. I'm holding it together, but there are going to be some rocky days during July...
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... you finish your job and are packing your desk, and the tea selection on the back of your desk takes an entire moving box all by itself. (Yes, really. Even I am a little boggled.)
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Conducted an interview this morning; suffice it to say I wasn't blown away in general, but the worst of it was the resume, which was almost Platonically bad. Let's count up the problems, each of which serves as a cautionary tale:

Check your freaking English: seriously, if you're going for a professional position (and programming is definitely a profession), there is absolutely no excuse for poor English on the resume. It's not just a matter of using the right words -- syntax matters, and not knowing when to appropriately use "a" and "the" looks bad. (Moreso when you don't have the excuse of being Russian.) Having syntax errors in the very first sentence is going to handicap you from the get-go. If you're not a native speaker, have someone who is one check it over for you; if you can't even do that, I am forced to wonder whether you fail on "not a team player" grounds.

Additional buzzwords don't make it better: listing all of the source-management tools you've ever used doesn't impress me. Listing them all as "SourceSafe"s mostly convinces me that you don't know what you're talking about. So does listing "Agile" and "Scrum" as separate methodologies if you're not prepared to explain the difference to me correctly. Listing HTML as a "development language" isn't *quite* as bad as listing test-driven development as a "technology", but it's close.

Formatting matters: not quite as important as the proper English point above, but again goes to looking professional. Having most of the resume look like one run-on paragraph, with no variation in the line spacing to separate the jobs, makes it look like it was written by a tenth grader. (And really, most of the computer-savvy tenth graders can make it look better than that.) It doesn't have to be a work of art, but at least make the effort to find a decently readable template -- if it's slapdash and hard to read, it comes across as a disrespectful waste of my time deciphering it.

Know your resume: folks often point out that having a three-page resume can be a negative. Here's a sharper point on that: listing something on your resume that you don't remember clearly is a Very Very Bad Idea. As an interviewer, I'm going to ask you about the things you list. If you keep having to ask to look at my copy of the resume, and then have to spend thirty seconds remembering what that line was talking about, you're doing yourself a disservice. If it isn't important enough for you to make the effort to bone up on it and have it fresh in your mind, it isn't important enough to list on the resume.

Don't inflate: the uber-sin, that trumps all the others. If you list yourself as "Architect" -- if you claim that you have *ever* been an Architect -- I am going to treat you like one. And if I discover that your actual skills are those of a conventional Senior Software Engineer, it's going to go worse for you than if you said that in the first place. When you say that you "re-architected" a software system for a client, and I find on drilling down that all you did was perform fairly conventional refactorings, I'm going to get downright annoyed.

All of this boils down to two points, which (uncharacteristically) I'm willing to say are hard and fast rules if you're interviewing as a programmer:
  • Make the effort to make your resume look adequately professional.

  • Don't brag, don't inflate, don't fill it with puffery -- keep it real, honest, modest and limited to things you're prepared to talk enthusiastically and knowledgably about.
None of this is rocket science, and there's no good excuse for violating it...
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[A bit of introspection, caused by this week's LinkedIn trawl.]

I've largely stopped hiding the fact that I interviewed at Google a couple of times in recent years -- I wasn't unhappy with Memento or anything, but it's hard to avoid being intrigued by Google. The sheer size of the company was daunting to me (mind, I consider a 300-person firm "large"), but I have a lot of friends there, and the general attitude towards development sounded kind of cool. I was always a bit skeptical about the self-image of Google as a large number of startups lashed together in a single company, but projects like Wave demonstrated that they had room for cool skunkworks and fun ideas.

The first interview got scuttled by Jane's cancer (we got the diagnosis the day of my interview). That went quite well, but I had to shut it down -- it made no sense for me to be commuting to Cambridge when her health could get dicey. (And in retrospect, it was absolutely the right decision: besides simply not having to spend as much time away from her due to commuting, Memento was really good to me during her final months, better than most companies would be.)

By the time the second came around, the nymwars had brewed up -- indeed, everything hit the fan between starting the process and me actually coming in for the interview. The result was considerably less successful: while I liked the people I talked to, and think I presented myself decently, I'd bet that my intense distaste for Google's new policies came across as strongly negative, and I wasn't surprised that they opted to not continue from there.

My concern was less about the specific policy, and more about the decision-making process. The realname policy was dumb and naive, and IMO continues to be well short of appropriate -- while it's improved a good deal, they've promulgated a lot of nonsense about how people interact online, ignoring decades of experience and study in this field, and how online identity *works*. Once again, it was clear that Google's upper management had managed to screw up a fundamentally good product with a few bad decisions. (Very much like Wave, which I still think was a *great* product that was torpedoed by a few idiotic mis-steps.)

And the thing is, much of the company clearly *knew* that it was broken. Without going into too much detail, a bunch of people said pretty clearly that they knew the policies made no sense, but felt fairly powerless to do anything about it. Now *that* is what I expect from a 20k person company: bureaucracy, management fiat, and poor mechanisms for bubbling intelligence up the chain. Suffice it to say, over the course of the interview, I developed a pretty strong sense (and did nothing to hide it) that I could only cope with the company by being a fairly loud iconoclastic pain in the butt about these mistakes. So like I said, I wasn't really surprised that they chose not to pursue further interviews.

This all comes to mind because of James Whittaker's blog post this week, on why he decided to leave Google. I confess, the post comes as an odd relief to me. Google is secretive enough that I couldn't be sure that I was reading things right in that second interview, and in reading the other tea leaves around company policy and what was leaking out. But his description matches pretty closely what I was coming to suspect: that the company has crossed the line from being the scrappy world-beating startup to being a much more normal corporate giant. I'd sort of assumed that was happening, since it happens to every big company eventually -- I remember clearly the days when Apple and yes, even Microsoft were the little Davids taking on the evil corporate Goliaths.

It does make me a little sad: I have a suspicion that I would have quite enjoyed the Google of 3-4 years ago. But it sounds like they're gradually becoming a more typical big company, and I just don't enjoy working for those. Probably for the best that I stick to real startups, where the way that I deal with bad company strategy is to walk into the CEO's office and have a chat...
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One of Memento's better qualities is that the company has a fairly strong community-service ethic. Company policy is that employees get to take a half-day several times a year to do Something Good, and in order to make that a bit more real, management has a habit of occasionally leading field trips. And so it was that a half-dozen of us found ourselves serving lunch yesterday at Rosie's Place.

The place itself is quite a bit nicer than I expected. The usual impression from word of mouth is that it's a homeless shelter, and that's partly true, but the place thinks of itself more as a support center, providing women in need with necessary services. The shelter part is actually fairly modest -- a small number of medium-term beds. Their real pride and joy is clearly the classrooms: they recently bought the house next door, and renovated it to hold a large number of classrooms where they teach classes to help the women they serve to help themselves. And then, of course, there's the kitchen.

They provide hot lunches and dinners to all the women who come in, but the effect is deliberately *not* a stereotypical soup kitchen. The statement that they make (repeatedly) is that you should treat the ladies as you'd want your own mother to be treated -- with respect, and in a way that helps them keep their dignity. That tends to be self-reinforcing, with the result that the whole thing is very *polite*, making it much more pleasant for both the patrons and volunteers. The atmosphere is deliberately non-institutional: comfortable, well-lit, cafeteria style but not sterile.

So I spent the first hour or so on prep -- primarily on mixing the chicken and pesto for lunch. Then I ran one of the initial lines: bread and soup basically as requested. (The rule was that you'd serve so much automatically, but provide as much as requested if she asked.) Then on to plate-prep for the main lunch, which was served at table -- we had an assembly line making up plates of chicken-pesto burritos, a fairly ornate corn/barley salad, asparagus and an apple, and then several people taking those around to tables with full service. And then cleanup, starting quietly in the background as things begin to empty, and getting thorough once the dining room closes at 1pm, proceeding gradually enough that we were done by 1:10pm.

The politeness aside, they run a nicely tight ship: the schedule of what goes out when is firm, which I suspect plays into the dignity point -- they treat the women like grown-ups, and insist that they behave as such. And the volunteers are instructed on proper food safety from the get-go, with all the right nuances. (Including the point of, "We have lots of gloves. Do not attempt to save us gloves. When in doubt, put on new gloves.") The result is that it's a pretty satisfying place to work, with no surprises or panic. (Andy, who runs the show, reminds me a lot of a good SCA kitchener -- helping out as he has time, but always looking around for crises to deal with, understanding that his job is mainly to provide direction.)

All in all, a lot of hard work -- running pretty much flat-out for three hours -- but a good time. They do a nice job of making the volunteers feel useful, especially if you're the sort to go looking for ways to help out. Recommended as a way to spend some time, if you're looking for a opportunity to be societally useful...
jducoeur: (Default)
One of Memento's better qualities is that the company has a fairly strong community-service ethic. Company policy is that employees get to take a half-day several times a year to do Something Good, and in order to make that a bit more real, management has a habit of occasionally leading field trips. And so it was that a half-dozen of us found ourselves serving lunch yesterday at Rosie's Place.

The place itself is quite a bit nicer than I expected. The usual impression from word of mouth is that it's a homeless shelter, and that's partly true, but the place thinks of itself more as a support center, providing women in need with necessary services. The shelter part is actually fairly modest -- a small number of medium-term beds. Their real pride and joy is clearly the classrooms: they recently bought the house next door, and renovated it to hold a large number of classrooms where they teach classes to help the women they serve to help themselves. And then, of course, there's the kitchen.

They provide hot lunches and dinners to all the women who come in, but the effect is deliberately *not* a stereotypical soup kitchen. The statement that they make (repeatedly) is that you should treat the ladies as you'd want your own mother to be treated -- with respect, and in a way that helps them keep their dignity. That tends to be self-reinforcing, with the result that the whole thing is very *polite*, making it much more pleasant for both the patrons and volunteers. The atmosphere is deliberately non-institutional: comfortable, well-lit, cafeteria style but not sterile.

So I spent the first hour or so on prep -- primarily on mixing the chicken and pesto for lunch. Then I ran one of the initial lines: bread and soup basically as requested. (The rule was that you'd serve so much automatically, but provide as much as requested if she asked.) Then on to plate-prep for the main lunch, which was served at table -- we had an assembly line making up plates of chicken-pesto burritos, a fairly ornate corn/barley salad, asparagus and an apple, and then several people taking those around to tables with full service. And then cleanup, starting quietly in the background as things begin to empty, and getting thorough once the dining room closes at 1pm, proceeding gradually enough that we were done by 1:10pm.

The politeness aside, they run a nicely tight ship: the schedule of what goes out when is firm, which I suspect plays into the dignity point -- they treat the women like grown-ups, and insist that they behave as such. And the volunteers are instructed on proper food safety from the get-go, with all the right nuances. (Including the point of, "We have lots of gloves. Do not attempt to save us gloves. When in doubt, put on new gloves.") The result is that it's a pretty satisfying place to work, with no surprises or panic. (Andy, who runs the show, reminds me a lot of a good SCA kitchener -- helping out as he has time, but always looking around for crises to deal with, understanding that his job is mainly to provide direction.)

All in all, a lot of hard work -- running pretty much flat-out for three hours -- but a good time. They do a nice job of making the volunteers feel useful, especially if you're the sort to go looking for ways to help out. Recommended as a way to spend some time, if you're looking for a opportunity to be societally useful...
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Today's Lunch 'n' Learn was a seminar on the subject of effective verbal communication in the office, which I expected to be a pablum waste of time. In reality, it was surprisingly interesting, and even a bit useful.

Probably the most intriguing part of it was the quiz handed out at the beginning, which listed 20 *bad* habits in communication, and asked you to rate yourself on each, with a scale of 0 (I never do this) to 5 (I do this all the time). Fascinating opportunity for introspection, and I couldn't honestly rate myself 0 on anything. I think I do reasonably well at avoiding some bad habits (absence of substance, bullying, insincerity -- by and large, practices that feel vaguely dishonorable to me, so I avoid them very carefully), but am a bit more prone to some others (preaching, using cliches, excessive information -- mainly, stuff that can lead to being boring).

The other rather interesting exercise was assigning everyone into groups of three, and assigning each group to talk about what each person's *best* strength in communication was. I wound up paired with Jim, our tech writer, and Ildi, our head of training, so we were a pretty communicative bunch. Their assessment of me was that my primary strength was that they always feel like I know what I'm talking about when I speak -- which on the one hand is flattering, and on the other hand implies a slightly scary responsibility. It's good to know that folks take me seriously, but underscores the need to avoid BS'ing, because folks might believe me when I'm just talking through my hat. I am very good at sounding confident -- sometimes more confident than I really feel. So that's something to be careful about.

Overall, it struck me rather like an Agile seminar does: I didn't really *learn* much that is new and different (my apprenticeship to [livejournal.com profile] baron_steffan was mainly in rhetoric and philosophy, so I do know the subject moderately well), but the session served as a nice reminder of both good and bad approaches. One can always use a refresher of best practices, to help avoid falling into bad habits...
jducoeur: (Default)
Today's Lunch 'n' Learn was a seminar on the subject of effective verbal communication in the office, which I expected to be a pablum waste of time. In reality, it was surprisingly interesting, and even a bit useful.

Probably the most intriguing part of it was the quiz handed out at the beginning, which listed 20 *bad* habits in communication, and asked you to rate yourself on each, with a scale of 0 (I never do this) to 5 (I do this all the time). Fascinating opportunity for introspection, and I couldn't honestly rate myself 0 on anything. I think I do reasonably well at avoiding some bad habits (absence of substance, bullying, insincerity -- by and large, practices that feel vaguely dishonorable to me, so I avoid them very carefully), but am a bit more prone to some others (preaching, using cliches, excessive information -- mainly, stuff that can lead to being boring).

The other rather interesting exercise was assigning everyone into groups of three, and assigning each group to talk about what each person's *best* strength in communication was. I wound up paired with Jim, our tech writer, and Ildi, our head of training, so we were a pretty communicative bunch. Their assessment of me was that my primary strength was that they always feel like I know what I'm talking about when I speak -- which on the one hand is flattering, and on the other hand implies a slightly scary responsibility. It's good to know that folks take me seriously, but underscores the need to avoid BS'ing, because folks might believe me when I'm just talking through my hat. I am very good at sounding confident -- sometimes more confident than I really feel. So that's something to be careful about.

Overall, it struck me rather like an Agile seminar does: I didn't really *learn* much that is new and different (my apprenticeship to [livejournal.com profile] baron_steffan was mainly in rhetoric and philosophy, so I do know the subject moderately well), but the session served as a nice reminder of both good and bad approaches. One can always use a refresher of best practices, to help avoid falling into bad habits...
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When confronted with a monumental project, there's nothing quite like breaking it down into as many medium-level problems as you can, then sketching out the dependencies between them. The result still looks huge, but suddenly it looks *tractable*, with a lot more clarity of where the critical path is. I've had this huge bundle in my head for weeks, but only when I sit down and list each task and its preconditions does it become crystal-clear where we hit the bottleneck in the process, after which we can parallelize the heck out of the rest of development...
jducoeur: (Default)
When confronted with a monumental project, there's nothing quite like breaking it down into as many medium-level problems as you can, then sketching out the dependencies between them. The result still looks huge, but suddenly it looks *tractable*, with a lot more clarity of where the critical path is. I've had this huge bundle in my head for weeks, but only when I sit down and list each task and its preconditions does it become crystal-clear where we hit the bottleneck in the process, after which we can parallelize the heck out of the rest of development...
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This isn't helpful for everybody, and my apologies to those for whom it is just frustrating. But I think there's a point worth making to any young programmers in the audience, at least.

I often go on about self-education, in many different ways: my basic principle is that you should be trying to improve your skills in *some* fashion every single day. Doesn't have to be just raw programming skill -- indeed, it's often best to do this in a well-rounded way. So sometimes I'm learning about programming, but sometimes it's about project or product management, sometimes about usability design, sometimes about my current problem domain, etc. The point of the exercise is doing something that helps you advance your career skills every day.

Folks take this as being about job security, and there's something to that: I developed the habit largely as a reaction to watching several people wash out of the industry after Y2K, and others who have just gradually rusted and become unemployable. But it's just as much about *owning* your career and your life.

Specifically, I'm reacting to more than a couple of friends who have been buried by work, often in ways that I find a little abusive. When I find out that a friend is having to go into crunch mode on a regular basis, that work is eating their life, that it's making them miserable and lonely, my reaction is sympathy -- but also a pretty good reminder that I just don't *do* that. (At least, not any more. I did do that at Looking Glass, for five miserable months of working every single day. Buzzpad was founded by a bunch of LG refugees, mainly on the theory that there had to be a better way to do software development.)

Seriously: when I interview for a job, I am very clear upfront that I work 40-45 hours a week. I try to be reasonably focused and smart in that time, and when a genuine crisis arises you do what's needed to deal with it. But if the crises keep coming, or if you are in never-ending crunch mode, that's a sign of management failure, and I just plain don't tolerate that. And this loops back to the self-education point: I can get away with not tolerating it -- with saying, "No, really -- you need to fix the institutional problem here" -- by being the best.

Plain and simply, you get to be the best by deciding to be, and then working hard and constantly at it. And the payoff is that employers *need* you; that, in turn, means that you aren't at their mercy, and can push back when an employer is turning their management failures into your problem. And this usually improves the company, to boot. Scared employees let employers get away with practices that are, in the long run, detrimental. The 40-hour work week isn't about being *nice* to employees, it's that it is a good sustainable pace for the average person; companies that overwork their staff tend to suffer the results in the long run. By not putting up with "It's a startup, so we all put in 150%!" bullshit, I force employers to develop good habits instead of building a house of cards.

Ultimately, though, it's about owning your life. If you're good enough, you don't have any reason to be afraid of your employer and what they might do. And if you aren't scared of your employer, you're in a much healthier place all around. And while being That Good isn't enough in every field (especially in this economy), it definitely still is in programming: truly top-flight engineers, with deep and broad skills, are still in real demand...
jducoeur: (Default)
This isn't helpful for everybody, and my apologies to those for whom it is just frustrating. But I think there's a point worth making to any young programmers in the audience, at least.

I often go on about self-education, in many different ways: my basic principle is that you should be trying to improve your skills in *some* fashion every single day. Doesn't have to be just raw programming skill -- indeed, it's often best to do this in a well-rounded way. So sometimes I'm learning about programming, but sometimes it's about project or product management, sometimes about usability design, sometimes about my current problem domain, etc. The point of the exercise is doing something that helps you advance your career skills every day.

Folks take this as being about job security, and there's something to that: I developed the habit largely as a reaction to watching several people wash out of the industry after Y2K, and others who have just gradually rusted and become unemployable. But it's just as much about *owning* your career and your life.

Specifically, I'm reacting to more than a couple of friends who have been buried by work, often in ways that I find a little abusive. When I find out that a friend is having to go into crunch mode on a regular basis, that work is eating their life, that it's making them miserable and lonely, my reaction is sympathy -- but also a pretty good reminder that I just don't *do* that. (At least, not any more. I did do that at Looking Glass, for five miserable months of working every single day. Buzzpad was founded by a bunch of LG refugees, mainly on the theory that there had to be a better way to do software development.)

Seriously: when I interview for a job, I am very clear upfront that I work 40-45 hours a week. I try to be reasonably focused and smart in that time, and when a genuine crisis arises you do what's needed to deal with it. But if the crises keep coming, or if you are in never-ending crunch mode, that's a sign of management failure, and I just plain don't tolerate that. And this loops back to the self-education point: I can get away with not tolerating it -- with saying, "No, really -- you need to fix the institutional problem here" -- by being the best.

Plain and simply, you get to be the best by deciding to be, and then working hard and constantly at it. And the payoff is that employers *need* you; that, in turn, means that you aren't at their mercy, and can push back when an employer is turning their management failures into your problem. And this usually improves the company, to boot. Scared employees let employers get away with practices that are, in the long run, detrimental. The 40-hour work week isn't about being *nice* to employees, it's that it is a good sustainable pace for the average person; companies that overwork their staff tend to suffer the results in the long run. By not putting up with "It's a startup, so we all put in 150%!" bullshit, I force employers to develop good habits instead of building a house of cards.

Ultimately, though, it's about owning your life. If you're good enough, you don't have any reason to be afraid of your employer and what they might do. And if you aren't scared of your employer, you're in a much healthier place all around. And while being That Good isn't enough in every field (especially in this economy), it definitely still is in programming: truly top-flight engineers, with deep and broad skills, are still in real demand...
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The news says that Billerica has 17.5 inches, and Woburn has 18.5. Burlington is about halfway in between, so I guess I know how much snow we have. The plowing service is on probation and I think they know it; we'll see if the driveway is properly plowed tonight.

Of course, Memento has lots of people who work remotely anyway, so the company scarcely even blinked: the message from HR wasn't so much "The office is closed" as "The roads are bad, so we encourage you to work from home". Since most people work from home frequently anyway, that's fairly straightforward. (I'm pleased to see that our new VPN seems to be holding up.)

The amusement of the day was the monthly Sprint Review meeting. Our two Product Managers live in Atlanta and Phoenix, so they usually phone in to these things, while the rest of us gather in a meeting room. This time, they decided to come to the meetings this week in person, so they are staying at the hotel near the office. The result? They were the only ones in the meeting room, while the rest of us stayed home and *we* phoned into it. Clearly, there is a karmic conspiracy against the entire project ever being in the same room at once...
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The news says that Billerica has 17.5 inches, and Woburn has 18.5. Burlington is about halfway in between, so I guess I know how much snow we have. The plowing service is on probation and I think they know it; we'll see if the driveway is properly plowed tonight.

Of course, Memento has lots of people who work remotely anyway, so the company scarcely even blinked: the message from HR wasn't so much "The office is closed" as "The roads are bad, so we encourage you to work from home". Since most people work from home frequently anyway, that's fairly straightforward. (I'm pleased to see that our new VPN seems to be holding up.)

The amusement of the day was the monthly Sprint Review meeting. Our two Product Managers live in Atlanta and Phoenix, so they usually phone in to these things, while the rest of us gather in a meeting room. This time, they decided to come to the meetings this week in person, so they are staying at the hotel near the office. The result? They were the only ones in the meeting room, while the rest of us stayed home and *we* phoned into it. Clearly, there is a karmic conspiracy against the entire project ever being in the same room at once...
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The press release just went out, so I can actually talk about it now: we've got a new CEO.

The weird bit is that the CEO transition was mostly the idea of the founding one. The founder of course owns a lot of stock, and he stepped back a little while ago and decided that he's a good entrepreneur, but wasn't the best possible person to bring the company up to the next level. So he led the search for his own replacement, to find someone who is less about "take an idea and build a new company around it", and more about "take the success and efficiently build on it".

This is something like my fifth startup, but it's the first one that's is clearly succeeding on all levels, and all but certain to become a major player. (The check fraud system I've been working on for the past year is on the verge of release, and looks like it's going to shake up the market something fierce.) And it's the first time I've ever seen a CEO succession (at a company I'm working at) explicitly due to success, rather than failure...
jducoeur: (Default)
The press release just went out, so I can actually talk about it now: we've got a new CEO.

The weird bit is that the CEO transition was mostly the idea of the founding one. The founder of course owns a lot of stock, and he stepped back a little while ago and decided that he's a good entrepreneur, but wasn't the best possible person to bring the company up to the next level. So he led the search for his own replacement, to find someone who is less about "take an idea and build a new company around it", and more about "take the success and efficiently build on it".

This is something like my fifth startup, but it's the first one that's is clearly succeeding on all levels, and all but certain to become a major player. (The check fraud system I've been working on for the past year is on the verge of release, and looks like it's going to shake up the market something fierce.) And it's the first time I've ever seen a CEO succession (at a company I'm working at) explicitly due to success, rather than failure...
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Just got this link going around at work, which nicely illustrates how careful you have to be with online solicitations.

We're all used to phishing emails that pretend to be from legitimate banks in order to get your personal information, but this one takes it to a whole new level: a company that set itself up with all the accoutrements of a real credit union, including its own website and toll-free number -- but didn't exist. The entire company was nothing but one big phishing scam, encouraging you to sign up for accounts simply so they could steal your information. Very, very special...
jducoeur: (Default)
Just got this link going around at work, which nicely illustrates how careful you have to be with online solicitations.

We're all used to phishing emails that pretend to be from legitimate banks in order to get your personal information, but this one takes it to a whole new level: a company that set itself up with all the accoutrements of a real credit union, including its own website and toll-free number -- but didn't exist. The entire company was nothing but one big phishing scam, encouraging you to sign up for accounts simply so they could steal your information. Very, very special...
jducoeur: (Default)
... and today's Lunch 'n' Learn was one of them. Having a full-time Math Team helmed by a serious research mathematician means that our analytics are pretty much at the cutting-edge to begin with. But today, the head of the team presented one of the ideas he's toying with for detecting fraud in the long run, and it makes pretty much everything else out there look like children's blocks by comparison. I think I need to brush up on my math, just to understand the systems that I may be building in a few years...
jducoeur: (Default)
... and today's Lunch 'n' Learn was one of them. Having a full-time Math Team helmed by a serious research mathematician means that our analytics are pretty much at the cutting-edge to begin with. But today, the head of the team presented one of the ideas he's toying with for detecting fraud in the long run, and it makes pretty much everything else out there look like children's blocks by comparison. I think I need to brush up on my math, just to understand the systems that I may be building in a few years...

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August 2017

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