Posts Tagged philosophy

startups, beyond the hype

First let me start that this is one of my pet peeves and not meant in any way to offend anyone or specifically point to any one person, organization or company.

With that out of the way… Why the F*** does everyone think they are doing a startup nowadays?

Startups are all the rage at the moment. On the world markets the headlines are mostly about startups going public and new emerging companies taking control of markets. They even pop up in regular news now and then when new apps or new concepts are released. It’s all about Silicon Valley in San Francisco, CA, USA. So much even that in London there is a roundabout nicknamed the Silicon Roundabout. On top of that HBO started this year with a new series called “Silicon Valley” that follows a startup.

But why am I so pissed of about it? I’m gonna be complete goth/emo/hipster about it and just say it. Making it popular killed it!

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#Hashtags #are #dead, #long #live #hashtags

Hashtag fingersI have been known to #rant in the past about the abuse #hashTags in the past. But I’m actually a fan of them, I’m a fan of the idea as it ties into the connected web as a concept. A hash tag not nothing more then an anchor to another are on the web that talks about the same subject. Connecting one piece of information to another by a simple ‘#’ symbol in front of the most important words in an article.

But recently has tags have been #abused, battered and misused. I do like how #JustinTimberlake and #JimmyFallon make fun of the abuse and turn it to their own funky tune. A good reason to write a blog about it.

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working plus or minus

There is an interesting wave of less work, more life mentality change going on in the technology business. This is not new and it has been happening in waves if you look across the borders of the one business paradigm. Research has been done and experiences are shared. Henry Ford was one of the first to publish a big research about the subject and the measure was set at an optimum of 40 hours a week. Is that so? I know people who need more space and want to work less to be more productive. Others are completely the opposite, work hard for a couple of months and take a full month off to do other things. Some are even doing work just for fun.

Some people swear that working long and inconsistent hours gives them more freedom to think about things. Not restricted by the 9 to 5 hours and allowing themselves to continue in a flow when they are in it. Others find that time at home and quiet time really helps them prepare for a productive day. Others try to mix the two. But is it time that ultimately helps us the be more productive, or is it something else?

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A culture for your skill

In a world of high speed, high complexity and high quality we need smart people to work on smart and innovative solutions. But even though smart people come together at a start-up it can completely fail. Not because of the lack of skill but almost always the lack of culture.

More an more start-up entrepreneurs try and work with remote resources and have the smartest people work on their ideas. Sometimes it works out and things get created but in the start-up work many things go wrong on a simple mismatch of culture. Experts do not know how to work with one another, maybe do not share the same goals and visions. In a small company these things are more important than in bigger ones but a strong company culture can really skyrocket production speed and result quality.

But why is a good developer able to create bad results when the culture is wrong? Why will a normal developer do really good things when in a comfortable cultural environment?

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Finding quality in layers

If we try to define quality we will use many different parameters to make it measurable. These parameters differ from subject to subject. This makes it almost impossible to compare quality of a movie versus a book, even if they have the same story. But the medium does not simply allow us to say that one is better than the other, we mostly use our gut feeling to judge this. Although subjectivity is a big part of quality we still want to make it measurable, making it more objective.

We tend to measure quality to very specific parameters that apply to a medium or subject. This does not allow us to compare two different pieces. Even comparing a comedy movie with a action movie becomes really hard. But is there a universal way to measure quality?

I think there is!

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cheating yourself out of a technical problem

We all want to create the best technical solution, making sure it flows naturally and that it looks good. But there is always time and budget pressures that do not allow you to create that perfect piece of software that you want. It is always a struggle between quality, time and money that shape the resulting product.

Interestingly there are always ways to cheat yourself out of an issue to fix it later. The solution might be not technically the best but it can work for 90% of the time and when it fails you can make it matter less. Cheating the client out of the best solution might make them happier than delivering a perfect product.

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my way part 5: time management

Okay… I do a lot… I mean a LOT! Next to a 40 hours a week job I do freelancing work, I do some voluntary work, I do some sports, I find the time to work on personal projects and responsibilities and I have a surprisingly busy social agenda. WTF… my week must consist of at least 200 hours!?

Well that is not the case… Working efficiently, planning and taking that little bit extra time to look ahead makes all the difference. An up to date agenda is a start… but what about those double bookings and those things that tend to slip in unintentionally. How can I deal with on the fly social events?

Everybody always says to me: “you don’t have time, you make it”. I do not agree with this at all. I would rather say: “There is only so much time, better use it well”.

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my way part 4: personal development

In an ever changing world… they one that is standing still is the one moving backwards.

Many people go to school, college and then university. After they are done they start to work, learn about the trade and keep on doing that until their ready for pension. The modern world is moving at such a pace that 10 years from now we are required different skills to be able to function within a work environment. The tools of the trade are changing and so are the idea behind them. Technology does play a big part in this. But what about you?

“It takes only one person to change your life…you”
Ruth Casey

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my way part 3: freelancing

Freelancing can be a dream and nightmare at the same time. Working as your own boss can be liberating. It can also bring extra stress as you are the only one to blame. On the other hand you can choose to work without wearing pants…

Whatever your thrill is that you are freelancing you are a special breed. If takes special skills to be able to deal with life as a freelancer. You must have discipline to do work without someone pushing you. Knowing something about legal, taxes and other business related fields is also very useful. But how do you run a successful freelancing business?

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my way part 2: the day job

Having a steady income can be important. Normal office hours from 9 to 5 can be southing and can bring some order in your life. This… does not sound very much like me… in any day job my hours were more like 10ish to 6ish and maybe even later…ish. I don’t feel a lot for a day job with all the regularities, managers and regular payment. I’m more a guy that get’s out of bed, does work when he wants to, is his own boss and gets paid whenever he is working.

Okay, I have a day job. I could consider this as a bad thing. Working in an office by day so I can work as a hacker at night. But I’m switching that definition around. My freelance work became my day job and my day jobs allows me to do the cool stuff.

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