Unrealistic Expectations in Job Posting

A funny Craigslist post (now deleted):

Web Designer/Programmer Needed
Reply to: job-483872814@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-11-19, 4:51PM EST
Must have specific database and Web-development experience to include in-depth database management and Web design services. Experience with government clients providing extensive data management and document tracking support a plus. Must have strong computer programming skills across a wide range of platforms/software programs to include:

• PHP5
• ColdFusion 5, ColdFusion MX
• Classic ASP, ASP.NET
• Visual Basic, VB.NET
• HTML, DHTML, XML
• CSS
• Adobe Flex
• JavaScript and VBScript
• Zend Studio
• ColdFusion Studio
• Visual Studio .NET
• Dreamweaver MX
• Front Page
• Acrobat PDF
• Content Management
• Photoshop / Image Ready
• Quark Xpress
• Flash MX
• Fireworks MX
• SQL / PL/SQL
• SQL Server 2005
• Access
• Oracle
• Paradox
• Informatica Data Analyzing and Procedural Mapping
• PC (Windows XP)
• MAC (OS X Tiger)
• UNIX
• Novell Netware5
• Internet Information Server 5
• SQL Server
• MS Windows Server 2003
• ColdFusion Server & Administrator
• Microsoft Office User Specialist
• Corel OfficeSuite

Please email resume and links to websites you have created or on which you have collaborated, to be considered.

    * Location: Williamsburg Area
    * Compensation: Negotiable
    * Telecommuting is ok.
    * This is a part-time job.
    * This is a contract job.
    * OK to highlight this job opening for persons with disabilities
    * Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
    * Please, no phone calls about this job!
    * Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

That’s like pretty much every single web technology plus random experience with Corel.

Why Being Hard to Replace is Bad

I read something I’ve always followed without realizing exactly why:

Don’t be irreplaceable; if you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.

I once worked with two programmers who told me they purposely wrote convoluted code. When I asked why they would do that, they replied, “Job security.” I always wondered why that company let its employees do that despite the impending likelihood that they would eventually quit and leave their mess for someone else to clean up.

Ever since then, I’ve always advocated for strict adherence to coding standards and frequent code ownership swapping. I’d like to add to the advice:

Nobody will choose to promote an individual who screws the company over – on purpose – on a daily basis.

I thought that was a neat tip to share on a Friday. 🙂

How to Get on Techcrunch – Step 1, Steal a Trademark, Step 2: Spam…

Techcrunch is a major IT news blog. It is increasingly difficult to get your startup covered in it because of its popularity. But a funny thing happened today. The owner of Techcrunch wrote an article about the most bogus stealth start up I’ve read about all year:

The only word that describes what happened to our inbox tonight was “spammed” – no less than eleven links were sent to this Australian article which talks about new stealth startup MyLiveSearch.

 

MyLiveSearch? It’ll be fun times when Microsoft sues for trademark infringement over MSN’s own Live Search. That alone should be reason for concern, but apparently not today.

We’ve heard of countless Google killing startups over the past five years, and none have come even close. In fact, its two biggest competitors in the market – Yahoo and Microsoft – are losing market share every day. And yet Arrington, a veteran in the industry, took the bait.

He wrote up an article about this start up, eating up the press release “news article” as if it were a juicy steak:

and goes on to quote founder Rob Gabriel as saying his startup “gives better, more relevant results” than Google and “this technology could be snapped onto any of the major search engines and improve them.

If they are so great, why are they already talking about being bought out? Nevermind the trademark issues! This is exactly the mentality of companies in the dot-bomb era: make a company that someone else will buy out — who cares about a product! If I discovered a technology that could unseat the current reigning 100 billion dollar champion, the last thing I’d do is sell out for a few million dollars. I mean, if my technology could be 1/100th of Google, that’s still 1.27 billion dollars.

And the claims they make are completely unsubstantiated. Faster than Google? More relevant? Supposedly it will be indexing 4/5 of the web that Google currently misses (so Google is only indexing 20% of the web, supposedly), which when I hear that, I think “spam blogs” or “banned from Google for a reason.” And the whole “live” thing is bogus now that Google does smart indexing, where it indexes dynamic content – such as news sites – more frequently.

Clearly, this company is full of crap and Techcrunch didn’t smell it. Why didn’t Arrington ask critical questions in his post? Why did he simply regurgitate the article without further research? Why did he just tip his hat to this obvious PR ploy? I don’t know, but it’s a shame he did.

So when you want your start up covered by a high-traffic blog, just get ten of your friends to send an email with a link to an article about your vaporware. It worked for MyLiveSearch.

Why I Think Spiderman Plain Sucked

I saw Spiderman 3 on Saturday. It was crap. Here’s the things that bugged me most, without spoiling too much:

Osborne’s Butler

Harry Osborne’s butler had 3 lines in the movie.

  1. “You’re having guests?”
  2. “Yes, sir,” about three times.
  3. A long, close-up monologue about loving Harry and Norman (Harry’s dad), how he sees crazy things around the house from time to time, that he cleaned the wounds on Norman Osborne when he died (instead of calling the police, apparently), and that his expert homicide detective skills alerted him that the blade wound that killed Norman Osborne was the one Norman carried with him. I guess he didn’t feel compelled to tell Harry until after he tried to kill Peter out of revenge. Those writers need to be fired.

Being Bad-Ass Never Looked So Bad

At one point, Peter becomes “bad.”

  • 20 entire minutes were dedicated in watching Peter prance around town like an idiot, picking up on chicks and making dumb hip movements. I wanted to punch a director.
  • Apparently, being bad-ass gives you the ability to play the piano. And dance to smooth Jazz.
  • Chicks actually seemed to fall for it. Well, in the movie — the real life ones were laughing at the absurdity of his hip thrusts and lame new hairstyle.

Selective Grenade Destruction

As you’ve probably seen in the trailer, Peter Parker throws a grenade that explodes next to Harry Osborne’s face. 

  • Peter never once for a moment thinks, “Hey, did I just kill my best friend??” 
  • He isn’t surprised at all when Harry survives. In fact, he must have assumed it since he went to go talk to him later.
  • The wound is apparently healed overnight, minus a few scars. The hell?
  • The same grenade blows out a chunk from Sandman the size of a truck.

The Ending (no spoiler)

This will only make sense to those of you who saw the movie, but what made me the most mad was:

  • Spiderman leaps, and — hey, check it out — an American flag behind him! Totally CGI! Totally corny!
  • The villain is sooooo sorry. He even said it! Awww, and who can blame him for trying to kill people with a well-explained reason like that. Well, the important thing is to follow Aunt May’s advice and forgive him. Okay, you’re forgiven.
  • “WE LOVE SPIDEY. WE LOVE SPIDEY. WE LOVE SPIDEY. WE LOVE SPIDEY.” Is nobody afraid for their lives? Isn’t that a huge monster 100 feet from you? Why does everybody look like they’re at a New Years bash?
  • “Thanks, Spiderman. Welp, time to fly into the sunset. Cya later!” *FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH*

The director got carried away in this movie. They tried to emphasize way too much shitty “romance,” “patriotism,” and character “development.” I put it all in quotes because they failed at all of these points. Spiderman 1 and 2 had genuine plots. This one felt forced. It was as if they wrote the endings first and went backwards. It was as if they forced in the various plot elements after the script had already gone through its first draft in an dumb effort to appeal to a wider market.

I hate how Hollywood does that to good movie franchises — every time.

The Blogosphere is Stalling – How You Can Avoid Succumbing

While Internet users have been rising rapidly over the past few years, it seems blogs have not kept up. Sure, there’s been tons of new blogs, but it seems for every new blog that started up, another one died. Thus, in the same one year period, the number of blogs tracked by Technorati (such as this one) have stayed nearly the same.

I’m going to guess this is due to the:

  • Emergence of spam blogs, and the subsequent realization that spam blogging isn’t really worth it (abandoned)
  • Darwinian nature of blogging (see next paragraph)

Blogging is all about visibility. People blog because they want to be heard. If nobody is hearing you, then you might feel less inclined to update, which in turn would cause your blog to go inactive. Thus, I’d speculate that a small sliver of blogs out there have virtually all of the traffic, making it highly discouraging for new-comers. That, and most people are shitty writers, so they automatically get weeded out. 😛

The number is staying constant because it represents X + Y, where X is the constant “elite” bloggers who are around month after month, and Y are all of the people who try and fail to get market share. Y is the revolving door of bloggers. At least, that’s my take on this.

This also tells me that people who blog aren’t in it for the right reasons. 🙂 After a year, they give up if they aren’t gaining readers.

Here’s my advice for bloggers who aren’t doing it just to vent steam:

  1. Pick a niche
  2. Blog about it, a lot
  3. Write original content; as in, don’t just link other blogs because then you’re bleeding visitors to the places you link without gaining any readers yourself.
  4. You will eventually get search traffic
  5. Figure out which posts get the most hits, and blog about related topics more
  6. Critically assess your writing to improve it and make it more eye-catching
  7. Don’t write about things that a stranger can’t follow (like, say, your relationships)
  8. Promote your RSS feed 😉

My niche is not just tech news; I also try to cater to programmers. My most popular posts are an even split between my predictions (such as about Google or Apple) and JavaScript tips. Most of my search traffic relates to JavaScript, but most of my subscribers seem to be interested more in the news posts. 🙂

What’s your niche?