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Mar 18 2007 / Aaron


I’ve been scatterbrained this weekend. I’ve got a burning itch to work / play with so many things, I end up spinning my wheels between them all. There’s a lot of cool things being worked on at to try out. The whole Filthy Rich Client programming movement is tantalizing to me. At the same time, I want to play around learning some OpenGL to write a little 3D n-body gravity simulator (I remembered back in the old Mac days, this totally cool 2D n-body grav simulator I used to play with). And at the same time, I have many little projects related to work that I’d like to do…. but as a matter of principle, I need to resist the urge to work on them in my spare time.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what to do next (in a few years). I’ve been bouncing around startup ideas with J. I’m a control freak, so starting my own company has always had a lot of appeal for me. I’d much rather be dealing with the consequences of my own incompetence, than dealing with the consequences of other’s incompetence. I spent the morning reading a great thread at Slashdot on The Dilbertization of IT. Lets just say a lot of it sounds very familiar. I am actually having a lot of fun at work, and learning an incredible amount not just about technology, but business, and office politics. As an engineer, one cannot help but analytically dissect the mechanics of the organization and laugh at the inconsistencies and inefficiencies wrought by human nature. At times it really becomes downright comical — a real life instantiation of Dilbert.

Needless to say, part of the appeal of starting a new business is to re-engineer the structure of business, to fix what is broken everywhere else. The only way, I think, is to structure the culture and policy of the business to have an immune-system to bullshit. It has to be an objective meritocracy with no chance for nepotism, mediocrity, or point-haired-bosses. Google is the shining example of this new type of structure. It is very flat, fluid, and centered around accomplishments.

I’ve often though that engineers would make the best politicians and business leaders, when it comes to policy-making. They absolutely suck at the pre-requisite shmoozing and soclal aspects, but if you put engineering minds into solving big problems, we’d have much more efficient and effective governments and businesses. As a softwa..

Wow, it’s snowing right now! WTF!

… Anyways, as a software engineer I deal with huge complex abstract systems. These are invisible systems that exist only as concepts and electrons flowing through silicon gates. They are on massive scales that our minds don’t deal well with — billions of bits, millions of calculations per second, terabytes of data. It can be like assembling an invisible jet engine. Then you power it on and if it doesn’t work, you have to debug it from a few clues (i.e. it made a funny sound before it exploded).

So, maybe Google should run for president.

And now it’s not snowing — it’s sunny. Strange.


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  1. Sceutre / Mar 26 2007

    Grr. Google. It’s pretty easy to make a good case for their corporate style since there is only the one data point. Although the interior of most companies are certainly not merit-based, companies themselves compete on a very Darwinian playing field so you’d think the survivors would be aligned with the fitness function (making money).

    My guess is that big companies tend to prosper long-term based more on employee retention than merit for which a seniority-based compensation scheme seems well suited. If the outliers on the bell curve are rewarded too much you risk massive defection from the close-to-average majority.

  2. d / Mar 27 2007

    Oh sceutre, it’s so utterly obvious that you secretly have the hots for Miss Google. You LLLUUVVVV her. Why don’t you just come out of the closet, and ask her for a date? You should go for it — she’s beautiful, honest, and sincere, so there’s nothing but upside!

  3. Sceutre / Mar 27 2007

    What can I say, I’m attracted to bad girls. The ones who look all nice and sweet on the surface but are dark and dangerous underneath.

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