Showing posts with label TheEdge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TheEdge. Show all posts

Sunday, December 8, 2013

TheHackerCIO's Top Professional Values

What are TheHackerCIOs Top Professional Values? 

Making a list of your values is a fantastic way to focus your mind and follow the adage of the Delphic Oracle: "know thyself." With the new year approaching, and with a lot of potential business partners needing this information, I've put together this brief first "essay," or "attempt." These are not ordered. The numbering is purely for separation.

1. Learning new technologies has to be at the top of the list. There is absolutely nothing more fascinating than figuring out how to use new technologies in the spirit with which they have been created --  to deliver more efficient, faster, better, and more innovative solutions. Part of the reason why Codojo was brought into existence was to foster the kind of environment where people who loved to learn could come together, collegially, and work together. The Geeky Book Club I attend is full of people who feel this way as well. And that's the kind of people I enjoy spending time with!

2. Having fun through work: life is too short to hate what you do for a living! I've never understood the mentality that says "just give me a paycheck." Why would you want to spend the majority of your day, "just getting a paycheck?" I think this is what Steve Jobs meant when he said, "don't settle":
"You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."
I haven't yet watched this film about Jiro Ono -- but several people have pointed me to it as an interesting parallel to my ideas about loving your work. And this article quotes him from the documentary:
"Once you decide on your occupation," says Jiro, "you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That's the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably."
I think that the notion of striving to fall in love with your work is something that needs a lot further exploration in our culture.

3. Achieving values in work: what's the point of pointless work? Why would anyone want to work on something they thought pointless, silly, needless, or improper, when they could work on something important, useful, helpful, and wonderful. That's the kind of work I look for. And that's the attitude toward work I look for in colleagues.

4. Brutal honesty & full transparency: this is where "the edge" comes forth. It's been said, that TheHackerCIO "has an edge," which I've remarked on before. I'm not one for evading the truth. It never helps. Full honesty is really the only way. And it makes everything so much better. And I hesitate to use the term "transparency," since the politicians have recently ruined it. But that's an important concept too. Far to important to let scum like politicians ruin.

5. The J. Paul Getty Principle: Being in charge of your business. This rules outsourcing out-of-bounds. You can read the other FAQ answers for further details, but this is one of the principles that makes it impossible for me to work with outsourcers. To quote J. Paul Getty, from How to Be Rich:
"If you have a business, make sure that you’re the one who’s running it."
And he explains why:
"A businessman must run his own business. He cannot expect his employees to think or do as well as he can. If they could, they would not be his employees."
You can't outsource your core business concern. And my core business concern is technology. Ergo, I can't work with offshore technology outsourcers. It's really pretty simple.

6. Work with people who also love what they do. And not with Pointy Haired Bosses. Because Dilbert isn't just a cartoon. It's an unfortunate and hideous reality for far too many.

7. Work with integrity, so that you are proud of what you produce. Not "just doing what you're told", but actually doing a good thing, something that works really well, something that, consequently, people want to use, and consequently, that you are proud you produced. TheHackerCIO wants to go home at night -- perhaps tired -- but proud of the code he crafted, happy with the technology solution he designed.

I'm sure there are more, but this is a good start. I'll add others as they come up.

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,


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Never Hire The Greatest Scientist The World Has Ever Known

Once again, The HackerCIO is ticked. He's reading Beth Comstock's article:

How I Hire: There Is No Lone Genius

Since there is no Lone Genius, there must have been no Newton. And, obviously, no one should ever hire anyone like Newton. It isn't that everything Beth suggests is wrong. But consider how Newton contradicts this popular, conventional Whiz-Dumb. By her standards, one of the greatest, most innovative minds of all time should have been avoided by employers!

I don't know if Newton -- or for that matter, the very notion of the Lone Genius -- is romantic. Maybe the hacker soul isn't compatible with grokking that idea, but I know for certain that Newton was a complete and total lone genius. Experience and research about Newton indicate that his lasting success -- namely, in laying the foundations of modern physics -- resulted not a whit from any collaboration or teamwork. Newton never had any collaborator or competitor who drove him anywhere -- other than, perhaps, crazy. In fact, his competitions with Robert Hook had nothing but a negative effect on him and resulted in a reluctance to publish which only hampered the development of Science. He almost didn't publish his creation of the Calculus because of his competitive experiences.

Plenty of innovation resulted from this loner: The Calculus. The Physical Science of Mechanics. The Physics of Light.  Seems like he'd be pretty useful in a startup. Seems like a man with a biography called "Never At Rest," might have had a decent work ethic. 

Now consider the 4 traits proposed by Beth for hiring, but against the backdrop of Newton:
1) The fish out of water. Newton, the Loner, was the ultimate fish out of water. 
2) Someone who can FIO (Figure It Out).  Again, this non-team-player was the ultimate in FIO, fortitude and creativity. This is an employee who couldn't figure out the Mechanics of The Celestial Universe, so he invented Calculus as a tool. That sounds like the paradigm case of FIO!
BTW, I would never hire anyone who worked for the Peace Corps.
3) Candidates with design training. Newton learned tool-making and doll-house miniature building, as a child. Seems to me like design training. Again, these aren't team sports.
4) The well-balanced player. I doubt if Newton would be characterized as well-balanced, but he certainly balanced his equations! He mastered Calculus balancing it with Physics, as well as Alchemy/Chemistry and Religion. And on the business side he superlatively managed and led the Mint in the project of the complete recoinage of England. Pretty good business administration for a lone genius who never had a friend.
TheHackerCIO hates it when people denigrate the lone genius. Genius of any variety must be celebrated. Hired. Encouraged.  If only we could find plenty of these loners/geniuses. I'd hire every damn one! And he hates it when people worship the false god of teamwork. I hate prejudice against single player sports, too. Tennis is one-on-one competition. That doesn't teach life lessons?  What about the lessons of Golf, where you can play against EVERYONE, including yourself! Now there's a model for corporate emulation!!!
Why is it that while everyone loves innovation, they hate the lone innovator?

I Remain, With Edge Honed,


Why Hackers Hate Headhunters

TheHackerCIO hates headhunters. The Hateful quality is not inherent in recruitment -- the job -- per se.   It's because Headhunters don't love their craft. They treat technology as if it were a hash of buzzwords and their job as one of matching buzzword-desire (from companies) to found resume-buzzwords.

The typical knowledge of Headhunters is so dismal and abysmal, that they have no conception of the ridiculous "requirements" they post.

Here is one example.

And in case the link goes away, here is the relevant "requirement," preserved for time and posterity:

Hiring professionals for Gurgaon(Delhi/NCR) based organization; Skills: Predictive Modeling with Bigdata hadoop, Exp: 7-12yrs; mail me your profile at [editorial snip]

So, here is a requirement for a person with Hadoop experience of 7 - 12 years. Unfortunately, Hadoop was  released in 2005.

So they need a person with as at least as much experience as is physically possible, and ideally with 4 years more experience than the product has existed. The creators of Hadoop,  Doug Cutting and Mike Cafarella, are poor candidates, for this position. They only have worked with Hadoop since the moment they created it.

This is why people read Dilbert. Catbert posts similar requirement, such as this.

I remain, Irritatedly,