Showing posts with label Pathological Corporation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pathological Corporation. Show all posts

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Contrarian Resume

"Contrarians" are a kind of investor who wager against the conventional wisdom. Of course, the words extends beyond just the financial world.

TheHackerCIO is a contrarian.  

He sees no reason to respect conventional wisdom. Historical tradition isn't enough to justify decisions, policies, or edicts. They must be reality based. They must be true. They must make sense. They must have reasons and good ones that justify their prescriptions.  Otherwise, it's time to ignore them, or defy them with everything you've got.

ManagementSpeak, for example is the accepted convention.  Wikipedia explains that:
Corporate jargon, variously known as corporate speakcorporate lingobusiness speakbusiness jargonmanagement speakworkplace jargon, or commercialese, is the jargon often used in large corporationsbureaucracies, and similar workplaces.[1][2] It may be characterised by sometimes-unwieldy elaborations of common English phrases, acting to conceal the real meaning of what is being said. It is contrasted with plain English.
Readers of TheHackerCIO will recognize this as the  language of the Bloated Behemoth Enterprise. One of many pathologies found there.

This one has to be opposed with everything you've got. Why? Because it has evil purposes: dishonesty, evasion, pretense, concealment of truth, deliberate confusion to distract, or at best, a lack of candor, openness, or transparency.

And one of the most pernicious effects of ManagementSpeak is the nearly universal impact on resumes:

  • Boilerplate is mandatory. 
  • Never use a personal pronoun. 
  • Only 3rd person. 
  • Use acronyms to blast the brain. 
  • Ungrammatical Bullet points describing accomplishments which never even feature a subject, but start off with a verb, such as
    • Analyzed requirements with end users
                     instead of
    • I analyzed and discussed requirements and features with key users.
  •  Then, since the result is so mind-stultifying, no more than 2 pages of that, thank you very much.

What brought this to mind was that I applied for a job. The e-submission had a check box for a free resume evaluation, so I unchecked that box, having no desire for more spam to deal with. Naturally, the software ignored my selection and the next morning I had my free evaluation. I immediately clicked the link to unsubscribe, and haven't been troubled again, luckily.

But ...

I read their "eval." ; and it was evil.

They wanted $300 to fix these problems:
1. It was too long.
2. It had a personal pronoun.
3. There were deceitful ways to as they put it "minimize," short term assignments.

Needless to say, TheHackerCIO isn't coughing up hundreds of bucks to get his resume into conventional shitform. But he has been acutely aware that rewrite-time was nearing. Now I just have to do it. Starting as soon as I post this, I'll be doing a full top-to-bottom rewrite.

Contrarian resume is coming. I'm going to be 100 percent grammatical, spelling out the first person for every one of my many accomplishments. It's all about me, as indeed it should be, being my resume, so "I" and "me" are going to be a major element. (I'll report here later with the final count, so be sure to check back here in a couple of days. UPDATE 2014-05-02: I counted at least 60 instances of self-reference, including I, Me, I'll, I'd, and so forth. ) I also will pay no attention to length at all. I will only concern myself with showcasing relevant experience. If I fall one word over to another page, that's the way it's going to be distributed. If it takes 10 pages, so be it. I'm going to highlight my short-term projects, as well, by explaining that the instability was the clients, not mine. I might even mention that I resent them for it.

In short it's going to be fresh, honest, clear, relevant, personal, non-deceitful. It's going to be a blast to write it.

Never yield to evil. It leaves a bad taste. And you won't find happiness that way...

I Remain,


Monday, April 14, 2014

I'm not asking *For* a cable; I'm asking *About* one

Ahhhh, The trials of boutique consulting!

Upper Service organization management decreed to TheHackerCIO that "You are to make no further requests for anything, until further notice. Just keep your head down and do your work. Let us make the requests for things to the end-user." So, all requests for things ended.

But progress was most crucially being held up for want of an ethernet cable! It went like that nursery rhyme:
  • for want of a cable, the device to server went unconnected ...
  • for want of a connected server, the testing became deferred ...
  • for want of testing, the delivery was impeded ...
  • for want of delivery, the project slipped ...
  • for want of completion, (not the battle, but ...) the contract was lost!?!?!?
TheHackerCIO is not for losing a contract. Not on my watch. So he bought one. But he made a crucial mistake ... 

He mentioned in an email that he already had a hub and cable to resolve the connectivity issue. 

So another edict came down "All devices installed on the network must be approved first by the CTO." Damn. He was now forced to reply, "The devices which would resolve this issue are now locked away in my desk, unopened and not to be used until further notice." Double Damn.  Even just the cable would have helped, but now it was out of bounds. 

This is why people hate the pathological politics of the Bloated Behemoth Enterprise!

Luckily, a friendly network tech stopped by in the break room as I and an honorable colleague were getting a cup of coffee. "Anything you need?" He asked. So TheCraftyHackerCIO replied as follows:
"We could really use an Ethernet cable. But we have been instructed not to ask for anything. So I'm not asking for an Ethernet cable; I'm asking about one. What do you think?" He nodded with a grin. And so the problem was solved. 

The immediate problem, that is. The problem of Bloated Behemoth Enterprise pathology remains. Always. 

I Remain,


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

OAQ: Are All Clients This Pathological?

"You've been doing this a long time. Are all consulting clients this pathological?" This was the question of a colleague and newbie consultant. "Unfortunately, yes," I reluctantly, but honestly had to reply. "This is normal, then?" He continued. "No," replied TheHackerCIO, "it's not normal, but it's usual."

Unfortunately, what is usually seen is far from normal. It's, in fact, pathological. And it seems to be omnipresent: both in startups (where it seems to center around a co-founder) and in the Bloated Behemoth Enterprises (where the pathologies seem deeper seated and rooted, and generally have metastasized more pervasively).

I wish I had an easy guidebook, something like Harrison's , which could point out all the pathology and it's etiology. But no such resource exists.

Financial institutions are highly regulated, and like all regulations, imposed by force of law, they cause what the economists euphemistically call "dislocations." But aside from the effect on the market, where misallocation and bad signals result, there are also the internal "dislocations" within a Company. These are very highly pathological.

I've always wanted to have a client who was privately held, just to validate this theory. In theory, a privately held company should be less subject to the whole apparatus of Government bureaucracy. And it would be fascinating to see if the pathologies were less manifold.

On the other end of the spectrum, startups, it's quite commonly known that VCs (Venture Capitalists) often view it as their mission (or what value they can add) to force out founders. I used to hate this about them, but I've come to see that many times founders are not the best people to carry forward a company. It's not so much that the VCs are heartless, as that they can excise a pathological person who has insinuated himself at the very root of a company. If they can successfully do that, and substitute a proper, well-suited replacement executive, then they have increased the valuation of the company by an order of magnitude.

I'm sure there are many, many other sources of pathology. And consulting is not the only place where the effects are seen. Dilbert is predominantly read by permanent employees, after all.

At least this can be a starting point for attempting to develop a taxonomy of pathology in the technology industry.

And, in case you were wondering, OAQ stands for "Occasionally Asked Question."  ;-)

I Remain,


Monday, October 21, 2013

An MBAhole

Valuing and dis-valuing are two sides of the same coin! To love spicy-hot foods means, inversely, that you don't care that much for bland fare. And so, the passionate values of TheHackerCIO lead quite naturally to an equally strong distaste for some things in the technology world.

One of those distasteful subjects are the many MBAs brought in by the typical Pathological Enterprise (those bloated Behemoths of paycheck-collectors) to direct and manage technology projects. The reductio ad absurdum of this practice is bringing in the The Big 8-6-5-4, a Government Created Financial Oligopoly nominally created to put Official Blessing on company documents. But they have taken it upon themselves to cash in on their unique position by pretending to understand technology as it applies to financial systems. TheHackerCIO can count at least a dozen times where he had to suffer alongside these consultants. His very first experience with them was the waste of a year of his life and career in tending and overseeing a doomed package implementation. Here was where the familiar pattern was first revealed: 
  • Deliverables that were technically in order, but didn't provide the needed functionality.  
  • Dispute with the client about the contract.
  • Project put on hold.
  • Legal takes over.
  • Project failure & cancellation.
I'm not sure if it is technically true, but rumor held that this particular consulting group used their Legal Department as a profit center. And such appeared to be the case, at least on this occasion. 

Why anyone would hire an accountant when they need a programmer is beyond me. Can you imagine a startup doing that? "Yes, Bill, I know you asked for 3 Ruby programmers, but I found these excellent recent graduates of a major, prestigious university who know all about Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology, and are backed up by an organizational expertise in accounts-payable, accounts-receivable, and inventory-control. Plus, they've all been through a 10 week "boot camp" on how to manage your projects." Yeah, that would fly.

One of their characteristic gambits is the initial use of top-level experts who really know their stuff. But these quickly dissolve into the woodwork and are replaced by ambitious 21-year-olds whose knowledge of technology is about as deep as a kiddie scripter, but who has been trained in a boot camp that methodology can replace expertise in producing results.

The combination of youth and arrogance is typical and particularly ugly. And so, that's why I call this particular phenomenon: The MBAhole.

TheHackerCIO no longer works on projects with MBAhole defined management.

But he will offer free advice to those who chose to do so.

Instead of putting accountants in charge of your technology project management, put your legal department in charge of it. That way, they'll be ready when the project gets closed down.

I Remain,


Monday, September 30, 2013

Advance Apologies

No Offense intended!

TheHackerCIO isn't known for pulling punches. When he spars, he tends to spar hard. Especially when shadowboxing!

You should know in advance that there is a clearly defined audience for this blog. That audience is TheHackerCIO, and TheHackerCIO alone. So, nothing written here should be taken to apply to every member of a roasted group.

I'm sure that there must be bloated, hidebound, Behemoth corporations which are not Pathological. Where the bureaucracy is easily sidestepped in favor of accomplishing real change. Where employees are passionate about their work and product. Well, maybe I have my doubts. But you get the idea. Please don't take offense and go complaining about these opinions to TheHackerCIO.

Likewise, not every MBA is an MBAhole. Not every Big Four Consulting Group is completely useless and inept. Well, OK, in the case of the Big Four, yes every single one is useless and inept. Because it's structured to be so. The people they have who are awesome technologists are shills in a mighty Bate-And-Switch con-game. These groups use their legal departments as profit centers! So, yes, all of these people should take offense and quit reading. Your values -- if you have any -- are not my values.

But, any of you out there taking offense at these passionate, deeply held values, you are actually kind of a voyeur or Peeping-Tom for reading this blog! This is written primarily for personal consumption. If you're here, it's by permission only.

I can tell you that the intended audience for this blog has given it a 10 star rating! Every time TheHackerCIO reads a blog entry he heartily enjoys it. He's never laughed so much in years. It must be adding years and years to his life, as well as enriching it in new and varied ways.

Anyway, if you do take offense, I apologize in advance. So sorry.

I Remain, Somewhat Sorrowfully,


Thursday, September 26, 2013

An "Attractive" Salary

TheHackerCIO received a comment on Why Hackers Hate Headhunters, complaining about the "pointlessness" not to mention the "meaninglessness" of a Job Requirement Posting that calls the salary "Attractive." James Attard notes that it's totally subjective.

And what the company wants, or "requires" from prospective employees is far from subjective. They want someone, for example, with experience in using Hadoop for it's entire existence, since 2005, plus  4 years.

And they wonder why people lie!

But, suddenly, when it comes to offering a salary or compensation, they aren't so forthcoming! Now they pull out weasel-words and evade giving a straightforward answer.

Actually, the Headhunters don't get this hit for this one. It's the Pathological Corporations, which is the subject of another days blog.

I'm a big believer in mutuality, reciprocity, and contract. So, if the employer is requesting or requiring or desiring something of applicants, he should be offering something in return. To default on this principle is to undercut the whole basis of trust. It's actually a kind of theft. It amounts to saying, "I want all of this, and I'm willing to tell you in hideous detail what I want, but I'm not willing to tell you what I will give in exchange for this."

And it leaves the applicant in a difficult case. If a salary range is offered, he would be able to judge and measure how important this role is, both within the organization and in relation to other organizations. He is able to determine how scarce these particular skills are, which may affect his own Technology Radar. And, he can start to build a relationship of trust with this prospective employer: which is based upon exchanging value for value.

Another weasel-word used in this place is "market." How meaningless is that? Of course it will be a market rate. By definition, whoever takes this position will be setting the market price. Can you imagine a Bid-Offer spread at a stock exchange with an offer price of "Market?" How could anyone make a bid, without knowing the offer?

Thanks to my UK readers for this one, whom I hope help me out by promoting TheHackerCIO to other UK readers who might appreciate the content.

I Remain Faithfully,