29 Sep

Zach Holman – Scaling GitHub’s Employees

We do things differently at GitHub: we work out of chat rooms, we don’t enforce hours, and we have zero managers. People work on what they want to work on. Product development is driven by whoever wants to drive product.

I’m GitHub employee number nine, and although I wasn’t there at the beginning, I’ve been hearing and reading the same things since even before I was hired a year and a half ago: GitHub really has a great work environment, but it’s not going to scale as they grow. The common sentiment was once GitHub grew past five employees, they’ll have to start changing their strategy.

Once we made it to five employees, we heard the same thing about ten employees. Once we made it to ten employees, then they talked about twenty. Then thirty. Today we’re at forty employees, and, if anything, we’re even happier with our way of working than ever before.

via Zach Holman – Scaling GitHub’s Employees. Pretty cool read, the focus is on automating tasks so new employees don’t need to know a lot to get started and working, having teams that focus primarily on one single part of GitHub and reducing complexity.

24 Mar

NYTimes.com – The Austerity Delusion

What do these events have in common? They’re all evidence that slashing spending in the face of high unemployment is a mistake. Austerity advocates predicted that spending cuts would bring quick dividends in the form of rising confidence, and that there would be few, if any, adverse effects on growth and jobs; but they were wrong.

It’s too bad, then, that these days you’re not considered serious in Washington unless you profess allegiance to the same doctrine that’s failing so dismally in Europe.

via NYTimes.com – The Austerity Delusion. We have to avoid being like Europe so we’ll do what Europe did but it’ll turn out differently for us.

16 Feb

NYTimes.com – Public Workers in Wisconsin Protest Plan to Cut Benefits

Behind closed doors, Scott Walker, the Republican who has been governor for about six weeks, calmly described his intent to forge ahead with the plans that had set off the uprising: He wants to require public workers to pay more for their health insurance and pensions, effectively cutting the take-home pay of many by around 7 percent.

He also wants to weaken most public-sector unions by sharply curtailing their collective bargaining rights, limiting talks to the subject of basic wages.

via NYTimes.com – Public Workers in Wisconsin Protest Plan to Cut Benefits. The second part doesn’t make a lot of sense as far as a partial solution to solving the deficit, the collective bargaining wouldn’t reduce any current state payments to employees. It seems more designed to just weaken the unions to hurt the workers more in the future but not actually solve a problem this year. The article goes on to cite other states considering similar bills, that weaken the collective bargaining powers of state employees.

13 Feb

NYTimes.com – Failure to Launch

Here’s the question: of college graduates with a bachelor’s degree who aren’t enrolled in further schooling, how many have full-time jobs?

In December 2007, on the eve of recession, the answer was 9083 percent.

By December 2009, it was down to 72 percent.

As of December 2010, it had recovered only slightly, to 74 percent.

To me, that’s a tale of young lives blighted, not just in the short run but perhaps permanently: failing to get a job when you get out of school colors your whole career. And it’s still happening.

via NYTimes.com – Failure to Launch. Ouch.

10 Feb

NYTimes.com – American Medical Response Settles Facebook Firing Case

An ambulance company that fired an employee after she criticized her supervisor on Facebook agreed on Monday to settle a case brought by the National Labor Relations Board.

The plan resolves an Oct. 27 complaint against American Medical Response of Connecticut that said the employee, Dawnmarie Souza, had been illegally fired and denied union representation.

Among the issues was whether a worker has the right to criticize a supervisor on a site like Facebook if co-workers add comments. The case was the first by the National Labor Relations Board to assert that employers break the law by disciplining workers who post criticisms on social-networking Web sites.

via NYTimes.com – American Medical Response Settles Facebook Firing Case. Good decision employees should be able to comment in their private off time as publicly as they wish about their company (minus releasing trade secrets and such).

02 Jan

NYTimes.com – Deep Hole Economics

Seriously, what we’re looking at over the next few years, even with pretty good growth, are unemployment rates that not long ago would have been considered catastrophic — because they are. Behind those dry statistics lies a vast landscape of suffering and broken dreams. And the arithmetic says that the suffering will continue as far as the eye can see.

So what can be done to accelerate this all-too-slow process of healing? A rational political system would long since have created a 21st-century version of the Works Progress Administration — we’d be putting the unemployed to work doing what needs to be done, repairing and improving our fraying infrastructure. In the political system we have, however, Senator-elect Kelly Ayotte, delivering the Republican weekly address on New Year’s Day, declared that “Job one is to stop wasteful Washington spending.”

Realistically, the best we can hope for from fiscal policy is that Washington doesn’t actively undermine the recovery. Beware, in particular, the Ides of March: by then, the federal government will probably have hit its debt limit and the G.O.P. will try to force President Obama into economically harmful spending cuts.

via NYTimes.com – Deep Hole Economics. Pretty simple, jobs, jobs and more jobs should be the primary priority of any government in this situation.

09 Dec

NYTimes.com – O’Donnell’s Magic Turns Loss into Win

“Today marks a lot of tragedy,” Ms. O’Donnell said after headlining a fundraiser for the Northern Virginia Tea Party on Tuesday night. “Tragedy comes in threes: Pearl Harbor, Elizabeth Edwards’s passing and Barack Obama’s announcement of extending the tax cuts, which is good, but also extending the unemployment benefits.”

via NYTimes.com – O’Donnell’s Magic Turns Loss into Win. How do you make that statement in all seriousness? How is it good for tax breaks to be extended that mostly benefit the wealthy good and extending unemployment benefits so people don’t end up on the street a tragedy? Oh yeah and which actually costs less and provides better than half the number of jobs the other does (so overall a better deal – costs less per expected job created) unemployment benefits. But yeah kicking people out of their homes is a good thing.

28 Aug

NYTimes.com – German Law Would Limit Facebook’s Use in Hiring

As part of the draft of a law governing workplace privacy, the German government on Wednesday proposed placing restrictions on employers who want to use Facebook profiles when recruiting.

The bill would allow managers to search for publicly accessible information about prospective employees on the Web and to view their pages on job networking sites, like LinkedIn or Xing. But it would draw the line at purely social networking sites like Facebook, said Philipp Spauschus, a spokesman for the Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière.

via NYTimes.com – German Law Would Limit Facebook’s Use in Hiring. I have to admit to liking this idea. It’s very reasonable, limit companies from using sites that are designed to be part of a person’s life outside of work. Although the larger question becomes what is a “purely social networking site”, does Twitter count, etc and who defines it. Overall the better result is for people to be more intelligent or more aware about what information is public.

02 Aug

NYTimes.com – Defining Prosperity Down

The point is that a large part of Congress — large enough to block any action on jobs — cares a lot about taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population, but very little about the plight of Americans who can’t find work.

via NYTimes.com – Defining Prosperity Down. Krugman once again with arguing forcefully and eloquently for some rational decision making on the part of economic policy.

19 Mar

The Non-Programming Programmer – Coding Horror

Three years later, I'm still wondering: why do people who can't write a simple program even entertain the idea they can get jobs as working programmers? Clearly, some of them must be succeeding. Which means our industry-wide interviewing standards for programmers are woefully inadequate, and that's a disgrace. It's degrading to every working programmer.

via Coding Horror: The Non-Programming Programmer. After going though the hiring process both trying to get and fill a position, I must admit to also being astounded at the quality level of applicants. Most are unable to do much more than write a few if statements and sometimes even that is a challenge. The worst part of an interviewing candidates isn’t the boring details of the resume or the technical questions, it’s asking them to use the white board and write about a 15 line program and watch a candidate struggle for 20 plus minutes to make something that could possibly work.