Anyone can write a “hatchet job” article attacking a tech company — for awhile there, the daily Yahoo bad news was a running joke. Robert X. Cringely’s newest ebook, “The Decline and Fall of IBM” is something entirely different.
Cringely didn’t do it for the money; “Decline and Fall” is an ebook priced at $3.99. At the time he published it, he had a different, hardcover book contract with a publisher requiring their work be the next book Cringley would publish. With a heavy heart, Cringely returned the advance, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and put the IBM book into the world.
This book is a labor of love.
“Decline and Fall” is the work of a real journalist, investigating what had happened to a company he had once admired. A story of a love lost, the plot is all too familiar, full of outsourcing, layoffs, and incompetence. Sadly, it is familiar for a reason. The root of problem is a poison that is all too common in American business, and may be infecting your company as well. Continued »
A typical job advertisement in the tech space looks something like this:
Sure, this example is pretty campy, but it isn’t too far off from what you will see on the more ‘techy’ job boards.
But the most powerful new idea I had might just have been a five minute lightning talk on the SCARE Method. Continued »
It was a long week in Orlando, Florida. I attended sesssions on self-organzing teams, on no-estimates, on Acceptance Test Driven Development, had the privilege to sit in on a planning session on value stream mapping, and watched a wonderful keynote by Diana Larsen called Best Job Ever.
But the greatest things I learned from Agile2014 – the things that mattered – did not shout out their name as the title of a conference. Instead, it was reflecting on a brief moment, something that during my own sessions, that I learned about emotional reactions along with the difference between “agile” and “value.”
Let’s talk about it. Continued »
In software, and the IT world in general, most of the folks producing the sellable product are in a area of the company often referred to as a cost center. A cost center is any part of the business that, at least at a superficial level, has a negative impact on company profit. Cost centers for software companies are groups like development, testing or quality assurance, customer support, and product management. Pretty much anything that isn’t sales. In most non-software companies, the IT department is considered a cost center. They have high costs but don’t actually create revenue.
Let’s review a few interesting facts about Kevin Mitnick:
1) Kevin stole computer programs, including the source code to VAX/VMS and an early portable phone system – for his own personal use. He did not offer the source code of VMS to Microsoft; he didn’t cut and paste multi-threading code to be used in a different OS. He didn’t create his own operating system, or even use his extended knowledge of VMS to offer his support services for the OS.
2) Mitnick did not destroy any software or systems; he didn’t inject any viruses or trojan horses into existing systems, there was no denial of service involve.
3) Mitnick did not financially benefit from any of his computer hacking. He did not steal any bank account numbers. To pay for room and board, he had traditional jobs, even when he was on the run. The only financial crimes I could find involved stealing phone calls from mechanical (not computerized) telephone switches, and, in his youth, stealing bus fare from a paper-punch card system.
So he didn’t damage anyone else, he didn’t steal money from anyone, and he didn’t use the code he stole from to generate revenue that belonged to someone else.
What did Kevin Mitnick do, exactly?
The world of crowdsourcing for for software testing is pretty small. There are two big players, maybe 3 if we’re being generous. The business model of crowdsourcing is something like a freelance body shop on crack. Software companies, usually small-ish or startups, approach crowd source providers to get testing for a flat or hourly rate. The crowd source company spins up a bunch of testers to work on the project. The client gets a bout of quick software (and bug reporting) testing, the testers get paid a little bit for each accepted bug, and the crowd source company makes the difference between what the client pays and what they pay out to testers.
There is a new crowd source company called Testlio changing the rules for how crowd sourcing is done.
A year later, Microsoft has a new CEO, Satya Nadella, and Nadella has his first company memo, titled “Starting FY15 – Bold Ambition & Our Core.”
What does the memo say, and what does that mean for industry, individuals, and, Microsoft’s 127,000 people?
Today I’d like to talk about two major themes of Nadell’s memo, in plain English. Continued »
As long as I’ve been doing tech work, I’ve always had a day job. Day jobs have some benefits, like insurance, taxes, job security, paid time off, and a place to go 5 days a week. With that comes a loss of personal freedoms: the ability to choose your projects, potential to work from home or travel if that is what you like, and most important to me, a variety of work.
I want variety in my work; I don’t want to have to go through 5 layers of management to get a day off. I’ve been slowly working my way toward a freelance life and have learned a few lessons about negotiating a rate along the way.
Not just how I get ready for a conference talk, but how I have been getting ready for my first conference talk.
Conference season is in full swing in the software world. For the past few months, I have been spending a little time each week preparing for my first real conference talk at CAST 2014. I’ve done a talk at my local software testers group here in Nashville, and facilitated events quite a few times now, but for me, this is the real deal. The conference isn’t till mid August so I’ve got a little time and some work to do yet but I’ve learned quite a few lessons so far.