First steps in the Hi-Tech sales world

March 3, 2008

Elevator madness

Filed under: funny, humor, Personal, Startup, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — . @ 12:50 pm

Like most office buildings, ours has quite a few floors. Coming from the parking lot, at floor -3, to our offices at the 6th floor, is quite a climb. So, if you will excuse my laziness, I choose to go up those 9 floors by elevator. A smooth ride is always more preferable.
Most other people are also legitimate riders. 0 to 4, -1 to 5…
However, there is a certain species of people. They seem just like you and me. But, they insist on taking the lift, from floor 0 to 1. Or from 1 to 0. One floor.
For this, they stop you twice on the way. Once to get on, once to get off. Now I know this sounds like it’s not a big deal. But this is really annoying. The entrance to the stairs is right there, next to the elevator. it is one floor.
Use your legs! Especially when I am in a hurry, this double stop really makes me want to shoot these people.
Dwellers of floor 1 beware. I am on to you!

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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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November 4, 2007

Lunch

Eating lunch is so much more than satisfying your appetite. It is an adventure. A gamble on your next hour of your life, for pleasure or pain. The obvious painful item is choosing a place to eat. With over 60 restaurants in our street,this daily debate can easily drive you mad. trying to get a random selection of 5 people to agree where, while each has over time collected several veto’s of places they abhor, is really hard. Even the finest restaurant will eventually taste like it’s menu is all spam, if you eat there too many times.

However, the place to eat is only half the challenge. Who to eat with is the bigger problem. I never eat lunch with the same crowd twice in a row. I take too much pleasure at the differences between the various crowds (Or shall we say, I go nuts with staying with the same crowd for long). Each group of people, from the different parts of the company, has it’s own characteristics.
Management – These people are always eating somewhere close, always arriving each at a different time (Busy important people, you know) and the conversation will invariably go back to that document that has to go out right after lunch to Brussels/Berlin/Malaysia… Or, even more annoyingly, how the yacht is letting in water and how hard it is to keep the big garden in the 2nd house.
Middle-Management – Again, stressed for time, but genuinely so. These guys really have to work today. Sadly, conversation levels may vary. A good day can give you the funniest and most embarrassing stories and gossip on group A, but on another day, talk about the difference between Router GW-45563/n and GW-45564/b, or the new IMAP protocol for mobile devices can last an hour. You need to hear it to believe it. It is painful.
R&D (My old gang, the programmers) – Again, like a good old Chevrolet, mileage may vary. From the best stuff, like recent movies, and what not, to detailed discussions about Java, and that annoying bug that keeps the new version (2.92a, of course, do not get confused with the old 2.92!) from coming out in time.

Either way, this makes for some interesting times.

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October 24, 2007

Multiple Choice

An interesting question has risen today during lunch.
A colleague of mine told me that his friends company has just re-located. The reason for this was that apparently, the employees would start the debate on which restaurant to eat in at 11, argue till 12, and then go for lunch. This loss of hours was too costly, and management moved them to a place with less restaurants.
Connect this with what my parents called “toys are us syndrome” – When I was a little boy, they would, as a treat, take me once in a while to the Toys are us shop, and tell me I can choose one toy. These visits would always end in tears, as there was no way that I, a 5 year old kid, could possibly choose just one of those thousands of lovely toys.
So, the million question is, do we really need, do we really want, that much selection in life? It seems like whenever we have too much to choose from, we get lost, confused, and cannot make a selection. Do we want the company to offer 30 kinds of cars for us, or just a big one and a small one, making selection so much simpler? Should there really be 40 types of laundry soap in the supermarket???
feeling lost?

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October 14, 2007

Defining a Startup company

Filed under: Personal, Startup — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — . @ 9:12 am

Well, if you noticed the comment to the question I raised, you will see that despite the best efforts of the Economist, for most of us the definition is still an emotional one.
we started working in a small company. Feeling like we are about to conquer the world, our select, elite team was about to give our souls and sleeping hours to get this baby of ours on it’s feet, and take the hi tech world by a storm. Success would mean a substantial bonus for all, and everyone is working together. A small place, good atmosphere, people working all to one goal.
Sometimes, the added bonuses – a pool table, cool offices, or some other crap.
We were trying to also avoid working in a large company. So many employees you no longer know anyone. Feeling like a small bolt in a large machine where you can no longer influence anything. Lots of paperwork, for no real reason (Try filling 6 separate pages for one line of code changed), of just imagine any Dilbert comic ever written.
Somewhere in the middle is the transition from the startup to the company.
On the day you drown in endless email messages, all of them endless “Reply-All” and people covering their asses by adding the whole company on every email they send, you know you have crossed over to the dark side.
When you feel like you are working for the Man, working your ass for some idiot that has a reserved parking space that is never occupied before 9:30 am or after 5:30 pm, who is earning 5 times your pay and who’s only donation to the company is when he keeps his mouth shut and doesn’t generate any trouble by releasing another stupid decision…

No bitterness here. None at all.

October 1, 2007

To read or not to read?

You are finally on vacation.
2 short weeks of bliss. On another continent, the petty email struggles of work a million miles away, and finally in correct proportion of how that crap really does not matter in the grand scheme of things. However you did take the laptop with you, promising that in case of emergency you can help.
Now, you are in the deep forests of Massachusetts. In a beautiful wooden house with nothing but beautiful big trees for miles. The distant sound of some wild animal is the only thing to break the silence while you are sitting with a nice cold Samuel Adams beer and enjoying the setting sun.
mass.JPG
As the sun has finally set, you calmly step upstairs and turn on the computer to write your loved ones how fun the world really is.
And the email Icon on your outlook beeps, telling you of 59 unread messages from work.
So, do you read?

September 20, 2007

Being green.

As my favorite modern thinker (Kermit the frog) once said, “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green”.
Lately newspapers have been full of articles about the environment. A lot of them dealing with plastic bags. We use them so often, always for a few minutes and then discard them. It’s a real shame.
garbage.jpg

So lately, if by internal motivation, and perhaps encouraged that the rest of society is now discussing it, I have tried to act green. I got energy saving light bulbs at home, I never print paper at work, and I even take my own bags to the supermarket, when I remember.
Today, needing to catch a quick lunch, I entered the McDonald’s that is located at my building, and wanted a take-away meal. I always cringe when they get it for me. They get a tray for the cup, and place the tray and cup in a plastic bag. Then they take the burger and fries and place them in a separate paper bag. Then, they place both of those bags in a new big plastic bag. All this, to carry the food to an elevator a minute away. Add several napkins, a straw I never use, and several ketchup bags, and I feel like a walking ecological disaster. So much garbage!
So today, I devised a new trick. I ordered the meal, and after it was served, grabbed the cup, and asked for a bag for the burger and fries. The girl put them in the paper bag, which I tried to take from her. But she insisted on adding the extra plastic one. The ensuing discussion, where I tried explaining to her that I already have it all in a bag, and that the extra, excessive plastic bag will sit around in the dump for 400 years, for no reason, drew from her and the people around me the strangest looks. What in god’s name is that guy on about?
I really had a hard time convincing her that I don’t want the extra bag. A real hard time. And then the stupid coke spilled on me in the elevator.
Well, not really, but it was a good punchline 🙂

Now, After reading this, if you made it this far, you may be thinking one of 2 things.
A – Damn, Those McDonald’s need to get with the program. With 129385265234 servings a day, they are screwing up our planet for good.
B – The writer of this article is a nut case.

If you thought A, help me out, share your opinions, tell other, be active. Stop this (and other) waste. If you thought B, you are either :
A – Living in the previous century, and you need to wake up.
B – The manager of the McDonald’s place in my street…

A little word from our friend:

September 18, 2007

The best and worst of flying for work reasons

Filed under: Personal, Startup, travel, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — . @ 12:57 pm

Well, the best is trivial.
You fly for free.
You stay at expensive hotels.
You get the flight points and can then get free tickets.
You spend time away from the desk in new countries.
You meet interesting people.
The list goes on.

But yesterday, coming back from my latest trip, I pinpointed the number one reason why flying for work sucks.
The worst of business travel is not that you find yourself in a great place and have no free time, it’s not that you spend endless hours in crappy airports with no sleep for days. It’s not the tiny seats in the planes, or the airline food. It’s not even the times you find yourself in a hotel, not sure of the time, day or country you are currently in. All that is trivial.
When you finally get off the plane coming home, dead tired, missing the people that you love so much that it hurts, pass the customs stand, and enter the reception hall.
benguarr.jpg

There, you find yourself in front of a wall of people, standing there expectantly with balloons, flowers and signs. As you walk, all around you people are running and hugging and shouting with joy. And you keep walking, past this most happy and exciting place, so obvious that you are not part of this festival with your suit and carry on bag. You exit the building, and take another shitty cab home.
That room, that hall, reminding you each time how coming back home from another country should really be like, symbolizes to me everything that work trips really are. Lonely.

More to come.

September 16, 2007

Amsterdam

Filed under: funny, humor, Personal, Startup, Uncategorized — Tags: , — . @ 12:48 am

I think I am either manic-depressive of just undecided. Or is it just that fun and bad stuff keep happening? Any way you look at it, my mood and attitude towards my job are changing faster than superman in a phone booth.
Woke up this morning, on a weekend (Always good, I’m resting). At 11am I started the journey to Holland – From my parents house, to my town, to the airport, to Zurich (Yes, I took a connection to save my company 400$, to Holland.) At that point, mood not so good. Weary of the journey. By 10pm, I was haggard, beat, With a headache, hating my bosses guts, for spending another day, and a weekend at that, on a plane. For hours and hours. however, I just walked in from an hour walk in the red light district, enjoying the people walking by, the various plant life, and a cold beer. How can my job be any better???
Tomorrow is looking bright and sunny with another day off to enjoy this fun city. work is paying for my rest and recreation. Museums and coffee shops sure beat the office. Even when your boss spills ink all over himself.
346242316_09f14538e0_b.jpg
Amigos, off to bed it is, tomorrow I do not wake up to an alarm and drag myself to work. Hoping you don’t hate my guts too much,

Yours truly.

September 12, 2007

Laughter – A question of manners.

Filed under: funny, humor, Personal, Startup, Uncategorized — Tags: , — . @ 7:53 am

Say you work in this company.
Say you are not crazy about your boss.
Say that boss is a bit of a character.
Say one day, in a freak outburst of good will, he helps the receptionist move the old printer from room to room.
Say you watch, and see, as he leaves the printer on the desk, that it has dripped ink all over his jeans and new leather shoes.
225px-maketradefairstipe.jpg
My question is: Do you laugh right there and then, or do you wait until you are back in your room?

September 11, 2007

Daylight saving time

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , , , — . @ 6:45 am

Or whatever it is called.
The summer, according to the government is officially over this Saturday. And me still not taking my raincoat and umbrella out of storage. People are still walking in short clothes, the beaches are still full, and some stupid coalition deal, is going to kill an hour of every day from now till march.
Just to give you an idea. The sun now sets at about 7pm. That gives me an hour of daylight after I leave work on a good day. Once they move the clock, the sun will set at 6. and then earlier and earlier, until by mid winter it will set around 5.
Think about it. 5pm. That is what normal people call “Afternoon”. Not night. If anyone had ANY sense, they’d either leave the bloody clock alone, or move the time an hour back, to leave us some daylight at the end of the day.
Who on earth was meant to leave work at night time? Look at the Scandinavians: they have no choice in the matter, true, but those guys are jumping off buildings like lemmings. People were not meant to live in the dark. We are not dwarves.
I say, enough with this madness.

Today, your multimedia spectacular is a Nina Simone version of an old classic. Take a moment and enjoy this, in honor of our friend, that we will all miss soon…

Let the sunshine in.

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