First steps in the Hi-Tech sales world

December 16, 2007

People that leave the company.

Long ago philosophers commented on the fact that things are always changing. One example (by Heraclitus) was that you can never cross the same river twice. The next time you step in it, you will be crossing different waters, the rocks and sand have moved. It is no longer the same as it was. Another good example told of a boat. Say you own a boat. Once in a while, the boat needs some fixing, and you take out some of the boards, and replace the with new ones. Say you have replaces 2 boards. Is it still the same boat? Then you replace the mast. How about now? Eventually you will have replaced every single part. (My experience has taught me the same applied to my old car.) Will it then still be the same boat, even if none of the parts are still the original ones?
Our bodies are the same. Cells die and are born, and we are constantly replacing parts and materials. Nothing is constant.

The same applies to companies. since I have started working here, almost every single one of the people that were here has left, and others have come. of the 40 something people that were here, 5 remain. we now number over 70. We are like homeopathic medicine.
Am I still working at the same company?

Something must be true if disney made a song out of it (2nd or 3rd line of this immortal classic)

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December 11, 2007

New computer?

Filed under: gadgets, Personal, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — . @ 9:48 am

I currently own a small computer farm. There is a computer at work. There is the desktop with a ”20 screen I bought when I started University. It still works OK. I have an old laptop. Old. Heats up like a bastard and the screen works on every 3rd try.
So theoretically I work on 3 computers. However. The Desktop overheats, and is really slow. The Laptop barely works. The screen is big, heavy, takes the whole table, and heats the room.
So. To buy or not to buy?
If I want to buy, do I go for an expensive, super system, or the cheapest thing money can buy. Does more room on the desk justify a flat screen when the old one still works?
Do I go nuts and buy a small expensive apple laptop, just cos I want to? 🙂 I will be 31 in a couple of months…
This dilemma has left me wondering, and buying nothing for over 5 months. Indecision as the number 1 savings program…

A few reasons to go for it…

Or to see them all:

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December 10, 2007

What is a man?

Filed under: fantasy, Personal, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — . @ 9:53 am

Please forgive the melodramatic title.
I had the strangest dream last night. I was trying to sum up what I am, according to my computer.
At first, I feared that I sum up to a word document. Them I remembered that I am much much more. There are also the albums that I listen to, the image files that I have downloaded. What funny pictures I have saved…

The contents of your personal computer are indeed personal. What you write is just a fraction of who you are, and how embedded you are into that machine. The clutter on your desktop. The methodology that you keep your files.
What hot chicks are hiding, either in that secret folder you have probably named “Old paperwork”, or a folder called “HotBabes” on the desktop – again showing a bit about who you are.

As opposed to my (very scary dream) the computer still is not who we are. But that feeling of loss when it dies, definitely means a lot. The reason, I believe, is that more and more so, for people that spend 12 hours a day with it, the computer is an extension of ourselves, and we are as embedded in it, as it is in us.

Of course, some days, computers just make us feel like this:

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December 9, 2007

Working hours

Filed under: funny, humor, Personal, Startup, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — . @ 7:08 am

Hi-Tech people seem to live the stereotype. Arriving late, usually way after 9am, and leaving work somewhere around 7-8pm. This I believe can be explained from the old days of the startup. People used to work really hard, and stay late. However, as work became a bit more sane, people started to want their hours back, but cannot be the first to leave as that makes a bad impression.
So now everyone leaves late, but arrives late as well, to not get screwed.
I have become very tired of this tradition.
I am payed to work about 9 hours. I am expected to give more. This has created a very nasty tradition that makes me get home very late every evening. During the day, however, there is time for a lunch hour of over 1 hour, a walk to the nearest store for some M&M’s, and anything you can imagine. Not a very effective workday.
So I decided on a revolution. I get up with my girlfriend at 7, and am at work by 8. Those 9 hours mean I can work, and leave by 5, 5:30. Now that is a treat. I have my life back, I can actually do something else that day.

This is what I aim for… (Anyone even remember this?)

Only trouble is, most people here give me the bad eye when I want to leave that “early”, and ask me stuff just as I am going home. So I end up leaving about the same time…

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December 6, 2007

The sales man dilemma

Filed under: funny, humor, Personal, Startup, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — . @ 9:18 am

When working in R&D I felt like I was doing the real work. I was developing the system and the rest of the company were real leeches, living on my work.
Moving to a more Sales oriented job (Pre-Sale), your outlook on life slowly changes. The way a feature was implemented is so unimportant, and even whether we have it at all is no more than a line on a sales pitch. Those RD people are slow, lazy kids that know nothing on how the real world works, and we are really doing the hard, important work, selling the product, covering for all the defects that the programmers put in it, and getting the money that pays our salaries.
However, there are the sales people. They schmooze their way in life. They come to the company with a big contact list. They barely have an idea what we do. They set up meetings, as hi, and let me as the technical guy do all the talking and explaining. I then answer the questions, write all the paperwork, and fix their mistakes in the part they have to write.
And they get the commission on the deal.
The bastards.

Tho I get the feeling that the day I become a sales person, I will feel differently again…

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December 2, 2007

“Lord of the rings” and Marriage

Men love Lord of the rings. It is a book that is worshiped by so many. they see in it a small picture of the world, sometimes a better alternative than the world we live in. They seek truth within it. girls, why do you think so many young men feel so connected to this imaginary world? Well, here is the good news, and the bad:

This book is a symbol, a metaphor if you like, of marriage. Just think about it. It makes perfect sense:
First, you have a guy that puts on a ring of great power. Now, mirroring man’s greatest fear, that ring, once on his finger – turns him utterly invisible. A dark force slowly takes control over the person who wears the ring, and the longer he wears it, the stronger it’s force over him becomes. Until, his soul is lost forever and he will live a life of shadows, gone to his friends and loved ones. The man sets alone in a quest to destroy the ring, on advice of his other male friends. His quest for freedom leaves him homeless, as shattered man. now you see why men flock to it?
What else, you ask? More proof you seek? Oh yes. The Dragons and Dwarfs that the books is full of. Well, dear reader, do I really need to spell it out?
The dragon is of course the man’s mother in law. An evil monster that needs to be fought and vanquished before you can win the pretty damsel. The dwarfs? They are simply the kids to come. Small brats running around and laying their dirty hands on anything shiny and precious. Oh, and they love swinging hammers and other tools on anything.

Questions anyone?

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November 28, 2007

The storage paradox

Filed under: Personal, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — . @ 12:29 pm

Not long ago, it feels like a week ago, I bought myself a new hard drive. The 80GB one that came with my computer, that at the time I thought would never be filled, was way too small, and I decided to go crazy. I bought a 250GB one. Just to put things in proportion – The entire holy scripture of Christianity – the Old and New testaments, are 4.2 MB in size, in plain text. That means I could store those 2 books 59,524 times on that drive. That is a lot of space!
Or so I thought.
the drive that was never to be filled, no matter how intent I am on backing up the internet, currently has 700 Mb free. Now I need to buy a bigger drive. What to do?

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November 25, 2007

Nerds

This summer, my office got divided into 2 separate camps. Worlds if you like.
In everyone’s Microsoft Messenger program, there is the possibility to display an image that represents you, and place a “Personal Message”. Usually used for an appealing image of yourself and some wise line to get a laugh, these options all of a sudden, one day got taken over by a huge number of people with Autobots and Deceptecons in their Messenger program. How having the logo of a toy from the 80’s can make you cool is beyond me, but I let it pass.

As we all know, there is very little difference between a 12 year old and a computer geek (Programmer), mostly the fact that the 12 year old still has a chance of someday getting a date with a girl that does not know by heart the Klingon language (If you wonder what Klingon is, consider yourself lucky, and move on!).
However, summer being the big hit period, a new hysteria had risen to rival the first, before you could say “Autobots, transform!”.
All of a sudden, the yellow color has taken over the messenger realm as everyone has created their own image in the Simpson face maker. Yes. As part of the new movie madness, you can create your own Simpson face, and send to all your friends.
I do remind you, these are (mostly) grown people, some with families.

Could this perhaps make everyone happy?

The war had begun.
And there I was, standing in no man’s land, between fearsome robot-cars and yellow beer-bellies, holding onto my so-very-uncool ordinary image and favorite Woody Allen quote, was actually addressed more than once with the question, nay, demand, to join the clan. To make my image in yellow, or hide behind a silver robotic face. People found it hard to believe, or even a sign of treason that I was not part of the festivity. I feared for my life.

I ended up drawing a yellow robot with a beer belly, that says “Donuts, roll out”.

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November 22, 2007

Working outside the office.

There is this saying, I think it’s by Dave Barry. It goes like this:
If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be “meetings.”
Having read it, I started laughing, because let’s face it, there is more than a bit of truth in this. I guess that subject warrants a whole new post. However, Yesterday I needed to take my bike to the garage. Knowing half a day will be wasted there, I took my laptop with me.
Other than doing some work, I went to a coffee shop and read the paper while eating something. I chatted with the mechanic about life, bikes and babes. I stood and watched the rain fall. I chatted on the phone. I still managed to get done more work in that morning than in 2 days at the office. Now, I can blame email. I can blame chatting with people in the office. I can blame so many things, but the fact of the matter is that I work so much better outside the office. Take away that room, take away internet connectivity, and take away meetings, and I work so much better.

And as if to prove my point, coming back to the office, quite a bit of time was spent in a really serious debate:
After much deliberation with my friends, we have reached a conclusion about the best-worst video clip ever made. This is the clip that is so bad, it’s good. It is not just boring or dull, but entertainment at it’s best.
Enjoy :

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November 19, 2007

the tragedy of travelling with work.

Filed under: funny, humor, Personal, travel — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — . @ 9:02 am

Reading this post, I realized how true this can be about travel. Many a time, people like me are sent half way across the world. Considering economic issues that seem to be important to my company for some reason, it turns out that most trips tend to offer very little options for sightseeing, if at all.
Just last week I spent 5 hours on a plane, followed by another hour and a half on a train, just to fall asleep tired at a hotel, wake up to go to a meeting, and pop right back on the train to the airport. It didn’t really matter if the meeting was in the middle of the dessert or at the Louvre. It sucks. I was in the beautiful town of Bern, in Switzerland, and other than a quick photo in an empty street in the morning, I got Nada. It is truly a tragedy, to see the promised land and not be able to enter.
bern.jpg
Only one tragedy greater: Being so jaded by travel that you no longer care where you are and not bother see the sights even if you can. May I never be that sad.

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November 18, 2007

1st day back at work.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — . @ 8:21 am

2 weeks of fun flew by so fast, it is hard to describe. Now I am back at work.
The excitement was short lived. Some friends I was happy to see. Some people less. The fun of showing people the pictures from your trip is diminished once you make the mistake of posting the images on Picasa and sending it by mail. (Are we really doing the right thing by this new trend??)
This person was fired. These 2 people just joined. This project had some trouble. I missed that exciting fight between persons A an B. forgot to ask someone to water the plants in my office so they look pretty grim.
6 hours after my return, it is like I never left…

I started writing this post after returning from a 2 week vacation. It got frozen for some reason (late for a meeting) and never finished. It is now revived to discuss a disturbing matter. Going back to work has this effect on good events in your life. It makes them go away. It can be a good weekend, a birthday, a vacation, you get into work, and within 20 minutes, they can be a million miles away, thanks to one phone call, email, or talk in the hall. I just realized it has been barely a month since my trip. I already feel the need for a long vacation, and can barely remember the feeling of vacation.

November 12, 2007

Languages

My company has lately hired quite a few people, as we have finally found some customers.
First off, I have to say that perhaps this is me getting old. but if you hire 7 people into a 50 people company, I just loose count. I no longer get the new names, and get all confused who works here and who doesn’t. But my senility aside.
I am all for the Russian immigration. These guys are a blessing. The vast majority are intelligent, cultured people, that donate immensely to this country’s culture and hi-tech industry. Sincerely.
However, regarding issue 2: If the Russian people in the company you work in pass a certain percentage, you find yourself in a strange situation. All of a sudden they switch to Russian when they speak amongst themselves. These can be co-workers of yours that you worked with for 5 years and never spoke a word in Russian, and have lived here since age 9. but when there are enough of them, they will talk Russian.
finding yourself in a room with people that you know, but are speaking long conversations that you cannot understand can be a bit awkward. Maybe it’s just me. But it’s weird. somehow even though if it was in my language I would not be listening, the fact that you are completely out of the loop in your own country, feels strange. Language is a bitch.
Here is a nice video on the subject:

However, I do find comfort in one thing. One of my favorite “Far Side” cartoons is a picture, divided in 2 parts, both showing a man talking to a dog, with a “balloon” with his words between them.. The top bit says “What we say to dogs” and the mans Balloon says “Bad dog Ginger! Don’t do that again ginger! you hear me Ginger?”
The bottom bit says “What dogs hear” and the man’s balloon then says “Blah blah Ginger. Blah blah blah Ginger. Blah blah Ginger.”
You get the picture? 🙂
(just found it on the web, you can see it here:)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/18969080@N00/143296774/
Sitting in a room hearing “Blah blah blah Server, Blah blah blah email. Blah computer blah blah message” can be hilarious after this cartoon.

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