Posted by : May 19, 2013
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The feeling of working on a new startup is exciting to say the least, but would it be as exciting if it was easy? Probably not. The thrill of it all comes down to the risky nature that is inherent in the startup culture. Everytime I purchase a lottery ticket, I get this very same feeling of excitement. The common denominator? The probability of success is in short supply, but the payout could be huge, and in the case of a startup, the impact to society could also be huge.
I really don’t write all that much about the project I’m working on because I like to be low-key, but it’s also because I don’t want to advertise that I’m working on something that is likely to fail. After all, would you tell all your family and friends that you purchased a bunch of lottery tickets? No, because you know that your chances of winning big are very small. I believe we humans all like to save ourself from unnecessary humiliation. This is what separates us from most (all?) species on the planet.
But really where would the human species be without risk takers? Without people willing to take a chance, we might still be using candles for light, or horse and wagon for transportation. The point is that we shouldn’t be ashamed of working on a startup or new technology that hasn’t been proven successful, we should be happy that we’ve even been given a chance to attempt building these great new things even if they never see the light of day.
The startup life isn’t for everyone, and many people won’t or can’t understand what we go through on a regular basis (emotional highs and lows), but that doesn’t mean it should stop us from even trying.
P.S. No, I didn’t win the Power Ball, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop playing.
Posted by : March 24, 2013
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I think the reason why IT Recruiters have a hard time attracting talent for their high profile clients is because they don’t understand the psyche of a hacker and what’s important to us. We’re very much not like you, so much so that you would probably have to flip your own list of personal job priorities on it’s head to better understand us. Maybe then you can begin to attract the talent you seek.
This list is by no means comprehensive and is not in any sorted order. It’s simply listed as a way of showing which things hackers value more or less, based on me personally.
1) Money / Cash Compensation
2) Personal office space
3) Free employee lunches
1) Meaningful work- ability to work on challenging problems, and be encouraged to learn/try new things, even if it’s unrelated to a current project or assignment (Google’s 20% time comes to mind).
2) Work / Life Balance- Choosing hours, ability to telecommute, flexible vacation scheduling
3) Easy access to the latest technologies
4) Ability to work in a team environment where feedback is 2-way and constructive and dictator leadership is non-existent (everybody has a say, and won’t be punished, embarrassed, or looked down on by offering it)
5) Working with intelligent people who are passionate about the company and the products/services they offer
6) Meaningful equity (in lieu of bonuses) based on performance, contributions to the product, and meeting certain milestones
7) Working on a product that you (hacker) can and do use
If IT recruiters want to be more successful in recruiting good technical talent they need to start performing internal assessments of their own clients or potential clients to get a better feel for what it’s like to work there, because I think part of the problem of dealing with an IT recruiting agency over interviewing with companies directly is that a lot of the corporate/start-up culture gets lost in translation.
Posted by : March 17, 2013
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Startups are typically built on mashups of difference services, creative inspiration (taking something out-dated and adding a twist) or solving personal problems. Many of us have moments in our lives when we’re inspired to create something new based on a particular personal experience, but there are also a large majority of people who may never attempt building new things because they:
1) “Can’t come up with ideas”
2) “It’s probably already been thought of”
3) “I’m not smart enough to build it”
4) they start building it but soon after lose the drive to complete it
I have experienced many of these myself in the past, and a recent discussion on Hacker News made it apparent to me that there are many others in the hacker community who face the same issues. Here’s how I now look at things:
#1 is a cop-out, ideas are all around us, it’s weeding out the good ones that’s the hard part.
#2 while it’s true it may be something that’s already been thought of, there’s a good possibility that you can improve upon what’s already been built. And if it’s something that’s already been thought of, then it tells you that there’s most likely already a market demand for it.
#3 if you’re passionate enough about the idea, and you know it’s a good one that would solve problems for others as well, you can probably find others who are smarter than you who want to build it.
#4 means you didn’t pick the right product to develop, because chances are you weren’t passionate enough about it in the first place.
The aim of this post is to have a discussion about the best thing you’ve ever hacked (built) that you may have initially had hesitation with but turned out to be successful, to inspire others to get busy with building their own products or services, and to follow through on them.