First steps in the Hi-Tech sales world

January 13, 2008

Someone elses stuff.

Filed under: funny, humor, Personal, Startup, travel, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — . @ 11:25 am

so, I have a laptop from work. We have a real love-hate relationship. On the one side, it’s a computer for free. It allows me now to sit in a lobby, drinking a drink and writing my stuff. All good. However, it’s also a part of work that is always there. While typing these words, my bottom right corner is reminding me of new emails from co-workers that need attention. It is work going with you wherever you go.

But my big dilemma is how to treat this little black box. If I had a laptop that belonged to me, I’m not sure I’d be able to consider taking it with me abroad, and I’d be very careful about leaving it in the room when I leave.
It is mine, but it’s not. On the one hand, you want to treat something that is not really yours better than you would your own suff, as it belongs to someone else. And you need to respect that. On the other hand, it’s company property, and just a tool, and it’s insured. And hell, it’s not like it’s mine…

So. Walking around town all day, do I have to carry this heavy load or can i just leave it in the room and to hell with it? Only problem is that without it, the meeting tomorrow will be a problem.
Ah, what dilemmas we have.

here is another man’s dilemma:

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January 2, 2008

Doing someone elses work

Here is a dilemma for you.
A co worker has something to do. It is, without a doubt their job. However, it is quite clear they have no idea how to do it. Now, teaching them how to do it will take half a day. Correcting their mistakes afterwards, another half day. Doing it yourself, will take 3 hours. And you have a sneaking suspicion that even if you take the effort, they will come to you again for help next time.
Some will try to tech, some will not bother and just do it themselves. Some of the latter will even take some hidden joy in feeling how important and needed they are, that they know all, and everyone depends on them.
In my heart, I know that the first solution is the right one. We all know the saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” (apparently by Lao Tzu) But we are all stressed, and working hard, and are lacking in spare time. What the hell am I supposed to do?

December 20, 2007

The difference between men and boys.

Filed under: funny, gadgets, humor, Personal, Startup, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — . @ 1:31 pm

I am reaching my 31st birthday in an alarming rate. Today, I went eating with the guy that sits in the room with me today. We went to an Italian restaurant. Sitting there having our lunch, talking about important things. The stock market that is very much painful, yessir. Globalization, open markets, venture capitalists.
Finishing our lunch, we wandered out of the restaurant, and naturally, without even discussing it, walked into the toy shop across the street. There, on the floor, was a bargain. A small remote controlled car, on sale. we grabbed 2, and took them to work.
After charging them, we took them for a ride. It takes 42 seconds to cross the entire company from side to side.
It has been a busy day. Being a championship holder is tiresome.
It took exactly one day for two guys in R&D to go out and buy 2 bigger cars. Now there is the Product gang, against the R&D gang. Our cars are faster, theirs are bigger and can apparently ride over ours. Tomorrow we set up a challenge course with tables and stuff and see who makes it through first.

An old saying goes – The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys…

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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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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 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 8, 2007

Travel savvy

Filed under: humor, Personal, travel, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — . @ 1:35 pm

At some point on your travels, some of the excitement and rear fades. You realize that hotels and taxis and trains are the same wherever you go. At least in Europe.
Yesterday, arriving late at night in Bern, Switzerland, from the train, I just needed to get to the hotel. I usually go online, check the maps and see how to get from one place to the next. But this trip I didn’t have the time. getting out of the train station, after 5 hours on a plane, and another 1.5 hour on the train I was tired. So I just popped into a taxi and asked him to take me to the Savoy hotel.
During the ride, I had a sense that he was driving in a circle, and adding quite a bit of a ride to what must be a relatively close location. Taking us for a ride, as they say. But hey, the company is paying, and I have faith in people. What is the worst case? That he gets a few Euros more. We finally reached the hotel and payed him the 25 Euros the meter showed. In the morning, leaving the hotel, I asked the receptionist to call me a cab. She said she can, but that if I go to the taxi stand, we can also get one. I asked where that is, and she said it was right next to the train station. Oh, and how far is that to go there?
Walking distance she said. Just exit the hotel and take a right. I did that, and walked the entire 50 meters from the hotel to the station.
The bastard. It even took shorter to walk. But God, I had a good laugh.
taxi-ride.jpg

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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 4, 2007

What is a Startup company?

Filed under: Personal, Startup — Tags: , , , , , , — . @ 1:31 pm

Meeting people on my trip, I have been telling them that I work in a startup company. And someone corrected me that it’s not a startup.
Over 50 employees, alive for 7 years and several clients, I guess it is not really your stereotype startup anymore.
But where do you draw the line? At what point does the startup emerge from it’s cocoon, spread it’s fragile wings and tell the word “I’m a company” and fly free?
Any Ideas?

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?

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