Joel Spolsky's latest column in Inc. is a must-read for entrepreneurs (and I include anyone who has founded an organization) who have grown beyond the garage:
The great employees will be devoted, sure, and it's completely reasonable to expect them to work their butts off. But unlike founders, employees are concerned about what their jobs are like today. They're not as excited about making sacrifices for the long run. So don't tell your star salespeople to take the bus and stay with relatives when they make that call in St. Louis, even though that's what you did when you started the company.
Via Bruce Schneier, a fourth undersea cable providing Internet connectivity to much of the Middle East has been cut in as many weeks:
The first three have been blamed on ships' anchors, but there is some dispute about that. And that's two in the Mediterranean and two in the Persian Gulf. There have been no official reports of malice to me, but it's an awfully big coincidence. The fact that Iran has lost Internet connectivity only makes this weirder.
This may not be more important than tonight's primary elections, but it may be important.
I have to thank Mike Huckabee for comic relief just now, too.
I'm reviewing a lot of CVs right now, and I would like to vent for a moment. Just a few things, though:
- If you're applying for a Quality Assurance position, spelling and grammar count a lot.
- Unless you've gotten an invitation to apply, the people reviewing your résumé have others to read. Write concisely. Highlight the important parts. Limit yourself to two pages of paper with a link to a longer version. Don't waste the reader's time. Even if you're perfect for the job, you go into the phone screen with a mark against you if your CV has Dickensian verbosity.
- Don't put information on your CV that we can't use to hire you. If you put your age, marital status, immigration status, race, or anything else like that on your CV, a potential employer might bin the thing just to prevent any hint of bias in the hiring process.
- But do put down your bona fides. If you say "Engineering Degree" on your CV, you actually do need to include the actual degree (BA, BS, BBQ), the name of the institution and the date. Like it or not, a degree from the Ira Bialystock Engineering School and Storm Door Company is not the same as one from Northwestern, and since we're going to call your school to check that you graduated as a precondition of hiring you, don't waste our time by having us guess. We will simply guess that you went to IBESASDC and not NU, and pass.
Via Marc Andreesen (yes, the Marc Andreesen), from Variety:
[O]verall music [CD] sales during the Christmas shopping season were down an astounding 21% from last year. From the week of Thanksgiving up through the day before Christmas Eve, 83.9 million albums were sold, a decrease of 21.38 million from 2006's 105.28 million.
It's important to realize, as the RIAA simply can't grasp, this has nothing to do with piracy. Suing people isn't the answer; getting a clue and selling over the Web is.
The Stanford law professor is focusing on corruption as a way of combating creeping copyrights:
Mr Lessig has concentrated for a decade on copyright law and its interaction with the internet. So he left some people feeling confused earlier this year when he announced a new focus for his campaigning efforts: tackling corruption. Not everyone understood that this change in academic and activist emphasis is more of a shift in strategy than in substance.
For years Mr Lessig has presented legal arguments against excessive copyright extensions. But he says lawmakers are so in thrall to big-media lobbyists that they do not even realise that counter-arguments to copyright extensions exist. Even though Britain's Gowers Review, published in 2005, argues against such extensions, and eminent economists such as the late Milton Friedman have declared the importance of copyright limits to be a “no brainer”, Mr Lessig says legislators are clueless about “an issue that any rational policymaker has no problem understanding.” Swayed by campaign contributions from vested interests—such as film studios, music companies and book publishers—America's Congress has lengthened copyright terms 11 times in the past four decades, he observes.
I've finally brought a new server online to take over from three old ones. By "old" I mean a Windows 2000 box with gerbils powering it and two salvaged desktops, one with a whopping 640 MB of RAM. Together all three have performed the tasks of one fully-functional server. And now, I have one fully-functional server.
A couple of problems have emerged.
First, which I knew would happen, the IDT Webcam that used to run on the old Windows 2000 server needed a new home. I've moved it to my spare laptop.
Second, apparently Symantec Endpoint Security does not run on 64-bit operating systems. Never mind that Windows 2003 x64 has been around since—wait for it—2003; Symantec apparently missed the memo. They're telling me I need to keep an old, 32-bit computer (they actually suggested a Windows XP machine) as the central antivirus server for the network. Um. No.
Finally, the rails that shipped with the new server don't fit my server rack. I am now looking for new rails.
Otherwise everything is hunky-dory, and as soon as I figure out the antivirus situation, I can decommission the old Windows 2000 box (along with the two old desktops.)
I believe I figured out why the conference disappointed me. I last went to VSLive in 2003, when I had just started to get really good at my craft. The sessions at that conference hat a lot of information that I hadn't encountered before, and taught me a lot about where I should look to keep fresh and informed.
Four years of keeping fresh and informed, however, has pushed me well past where I was in 2003. So this year's sessions, despite being just as informative as the 2003 offerings, turned out not to be as useful to me.
There are a couple of other factors, some of which I previously identified:
- The conference is in San Francisco, one of my favorite cities on earth;
- Except for Monday, the city has had perfect spring weather;
- I haven't slept especially well, which colors my perceptions and moods.
The last point bears emphasis. I truly love the Hotel California, and I will stay there again the next time I'm in San Francisco; however, I will endeavor not to stay on the Geary Street side. It's too damn loud. Maybe because it's only a block away from the theater district, every night we had some new musical performance:
- The symphonic "March of the Garbage Trucks" started each day at 5:30am.
- Last night around 3am, we got the recitative and aria "O Too-Quiet Street / I am the very model of a modern crazy homeless man," followed by "Officer! Officer!" featuring the SFPD Men's Chorus.
- And who could forget Saturday night's rousing operetta in three acts, Happy Birthday, Fratboy, that also included a guest appearance from the SFPDMC?
Meanwhile, people on the courtyard—or even on the Jones Street side—swear they heard none of this. So much for Room 404.
I'm now going to the post-conference workshop. At least that's my plan; coming out of a miserable Chicago winter, today's sunny, 20°C weather sounds a lot more appealing than a windowless room and "Windows Workflow: a Gentle Introduction."
I have to say, the conference has disappointed me a bit. Many of the panels I thought looked interesting turned out to be somewhat less in-depth than I'd hoped. To make matters worse, I'm in one of the greatest cities in the world, the weather is perfect, and I haven't had enough exercise this week.
So, as irresponsible as it seems, I'm going to take the next two hours or so to cogitate on what I've learned this week, by walking up Powell Street until I hit water. That should get me back to the conference (by Muni, most likely) in time for the next panel I'm interested in seeing.
I hope to write more when the conference ends, or perhaps if I play hooky from a session or two tomorrow. Today, I would just like to point out that San Francisco offers more food options than a human can count, so I passed up the boxed-sandwich thing and headed into the streets. It's easy to be mostly-vegetarian here, too, especially when you find a good Mediterrenean restaurant four blocks away.
New session starting soon; I'll be back.
I'm sitting in the Hotel California lobby watching rain-soaked buses trundle down Geary Street. I'm in the lobby because the hotel's WiFi doesn't actually reach the fourth floor. This, and the unfortunate confluence of a room overlooking the street and a 23-year-old's birthday party Saturday night that spilled out of the lobby and down the block until the cops broke it up around 4 am, is my only complaint about the place. Old hotels have old windows, so it got a little noisy during the melée
The hotel is truly a gem. From the little perk at check-in—a frozen tequila shot—to the wine and cheese spread they put out every night, to the understated décor, to the lobby it shares with Millenium (a wonderful vegetarian restaurant with a tasty wine list), I love staying here. The bill adds to my pleasure: only about $100 a night, half of what hotels closer to the Moscone Center wanted. Since it's also only about 500 m from there—a 10-minute walk through Union Square—it was a no-brainer.
Of course, I'm in my third-favorite city on the planet (after Chicago and London), sitting in a hotel lobby. The one day that the conference sessions are truly uninteresting to me is the one day that it's pouring down with rain. It's supposed to let up a bit later, so I may have dinner at the Ferry Building or even, if the spirit (and Muni bus) moves me, Sausalito. And they put out the wine and cheese in an hour.