Company Culture

In this article, Rands describes the building of a company culture in getting a software product to 1.0. Company culture has become a topic of interest to me lately. In taking a new job in a place with a very different mindset, I want to better understand my component in this machine.

Thoughts in my head:

  • Change is good and bad. Depending on whether you pick a good or bad or ambivalent route you get different results.
  • Adapt or die.
  • Personal preference colors choice.

Rands In Repose: 1.0

In thinking about the difficulties of 1.0, I realized that Maslow’s [Hierarchy of Needs] model fundamentally applied to shipping the first version of a product. There’s a hierarchy that defines what you need to build in order to ship 1.0 and it sort’f looks like this.

Google, You Suck

One of the fun things about Google is they change the logo at their search page (and the smaller one for the results) whenever there  is something special about that particular day. Christmas and Easter are pretty obvious. However, they get things like the Olympics, election days, and other things one might know. On rare occasion I have no idea what they are signifying.

So… Today is Shakespeare’s birthday. Why nothing? Think of all the poor high school students who this school year have used to Google look up a synopsis of one of his plays. Think of all the poor high school teachers who have this school year used Google to catch the previously mentioned student plagerising. Shakespeare drives traffic to Google, but Goggle ignores him.

Sad.

Sales Tax Free Weekend

Mental Note: Avoid all stores until Monday.

The last time I attempted to go shopping during such a weekend, it was worse than Christmas Eve. Stores were in such a sorry state of disarray. Stuff was thrown everywhere. The store floors looked like they had not been cleaned in days. The employees appeared as though they were survivors of a POW camp. Later, I saw pictures of the previous day’s crowds.

It made me feel really good that I do not work in retail.

Unfair Opt-out Policy

An Unfair opt-out policy makes strike 2 for Yahoo. Actually, I would like to count removing the free POP email access as 3 strikes.

If they had asked would I be willing to pay for POPping my email, then they would have learned that am I not. No one I have discussed this with seems willing to pay for it. I wonder how they will make any money by removing the free access?

The real strike 3 is how they track their users (obviously to sell to other companies). Strike 4 is that you cannot kill an account through Yahoo. At best I could just leave it subscribed to some lists for a month and collect 6MB of email a week.

How is it that I missed that Yahoo was capable of this? Doubleclick has been on my blacklist for years for this kind of behavior. Now I will have to shed myself of Yahoo.

 

Advertisers

I don’t get it… If you were the advertiser developing a program where people purchase 2 months free trial issues to magazines, then you probably would have a cover for each magazine to which people can subscribe. That seems pretty obvious. My problem is that the advertisement picture clearly shows Fortune magazine in the picture and does not include Fortune in the selection process. Probably there are extenuating circumstances… (Aren’t there always?) Maybe Fortune backed out…. Maybe no one was choosing Fortune… Only the company giving away the free trials to its customers could not be bothered to remove Fortune from the picture.

– – – – –

Must be a good morning, I have another rant… Got an email from “Jennifer” with a subject of “You get my voice mail? Still in Valdosta?” Why would any of the Jennifers I know leave a message on my voicemail! Wait a minute… What voicemail? Reading the email let me know that Sprint is targetting me with their Nickel Nights advertisements. Companies using misleading techniques to get people to open snail mail have been roundly criticized by the Senate and threatened with regulation if they did not correct their behavior. Since these market for misleading advertising is drying up in snail mail, where do the people who have gotten good at it go? Email! The next generation! Where you can send HTML with ActiveX messages to potential customers. Pretend like a friend is trying to contact them. So this message will get trashed with other things like “Put your computer to work” and “Permission to send cash required” and “Who will provide for your family ???”. What family?

Economic Harmonies

I especially like the last paragraph.

Are we really certain that the mechanism of society, like the mechanism of the heavenly bodies or the mechanism of the human body, is subject to general laws? Are we really certain that it is a harmoniously organized whole? Or is it not true that what is most notable in society is the absence of all order?

So ingenious, so powerful, then, is the social mechanism that every man, even the humblest, obtains in one day more satisfactions than he could produce for himself in several centuries.

Let us note that man is made in such a way that he seeks pleasure and shuns pain. From this source, I agree, come all the evils of society: war, slavery, monopoly, privilege; but from this source also come all the good things of life, since the satisfaction of wants and the avoidance of suffering are the motives of human action.

–Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), Economic Harmonies (1850)


This is a really cool quote exemplifying the fear created by the free exchange of ideas.

If not stopped, the 21 million-plus and growing (Napster & Gnutella) community could usher in a cultural apocalypse that threatens to plunge the world into darkness not seen since the turn of the last millennium.

–Richard Parsons, AOL-Time Warner executive

Materialism

Americans are so caught up in the idea of materialism through capitalism that they think that a pure capitalist system benefits everyone. The premise of capitalism is that everyone will do what advantages them or they die. Maybe not dead in a coffin and grave, but they would be homeless and incapable of competing in the market. The assumption is that people almost always will do what benefits them. For the most part I think it is a fairly valid assumption.

It lacks error handling. Many Americans care about their fellow human beings. The endeavor to help those who have made mistakes can be considered noble and merciful. Why is it necessary to help these people? Because all of us can and do make mistakes. Who knows when the homeless person is one of us?

Utilities are an essential aspect of life. They provide us those things that are necessary to function in society. Electricity, gas, telephone, cable, internet access. Did internet access surprise you? It shouldn’t… after all, how could you read this unless you or someone else has it?

A popular trend in this country is to deregulate access when large companies have too much control over a utility. We wanted to deregulate the long distance telephone companies to give smaller companies a chance. So these smaller companies can pay rent to the bigger ones? Naturally the bigger companies are at an advantage to limit access to resources as higher demand creates bigger prices.

We the consumers get screwed. The big companies get richer. We can’t go somewhere else because all of the small companies are getting screwed too.