Do Not Hire Me as a Ruby on Rails Developer

Do not hire me as a Ruby developer.

Or as a Rails developer.

Or as a Rails developer with Python skills.

I get a lot of Linkedin emails.

Please stop them.

I dislike keyword recruiters.

Spam.

The truth is.

I am not a full time developer.

I have said this many times.

I don’t write code all day.

I don’t write tests.

I don’t refactor.

I don’t spend hours fixing CSS code.

I don’t spend all morning reviewing pull requests.

I don’t spend all afternoon writing scripts for Nginx.

Or patching a server.

Or writing algorithms for the business models.

Or messing with databases.

Or more refactoring.

Or complaining about agile and the never ending un TDD’ed world.

Or about code with no tests.

I don’t do that.

Instead I.

Spend my free time.

Reading the K&R ANSI C book.

Writing for loops of binary examples.

Thinking about how the traffic lights operate in a city and wondering about an algorithm using binary numbers to improve the flow of traffic.

Or deep researching chmod.

Or improving my Vim skills.

Or improving my typing.

I also spend my limited.

And very limited free time on.

Learning how to learn.

And.

Learning how to teach.

Just a few and not a lot of people spend time doing this.

They face the firehose of information.

And they drown.

The worst is that.

They don’t know they are drowning.

They take shortcuts.

They copy/paste.

I despise this behavior.

I enjoy my limited as a coder.

I find it relaxing.

Some people find other ways.

Such as.

Watching TV or

Doing sports or

Playing ping pong or

Doing joga.

No I don’t.

I relax, on my free time and the most relaxing and joyful thing to do is.

Reading how to setup an Nginx server with Phusion Passenger.

I didn’t go to CS school.

Although I did engineering.

Endless nights building and testing circuits.

This was pre-arduino.

When circuits was not the “cool” thing to do.

I don’t do circuits anymore.

Unless I want to build an envelope filter to play funk on my bass.

So.

Again.

Do not hire me as a ruby on rails developer.

Cause I am a hobbyst.

And I like that.

3 More Reasons Why They Unfollow You on Twitter

Here are 3 reasons why they unfollow you on twitter. That post is almost a year old.

A lot of lessons learned.

And here are

3 more reasons why they unfollow you on twitter

1. You use Twitter as your personal El Cheapo Psychiatrist

You use Twitter to vent…

Your frustrations.

Your hates.

Your loves.

Your love of hates.

Your hate of loves.

Your work.

Your daily.

Your routine.

Your school.

Your folks.

Your family.

Your partner.

Your favorite (fill in the lines)

Your dislike of (fill in the lines)

Groupon stock.

The Bitcoin rollercoaster market value.

Marissa Mayer.

The latest acquihire, acquisition, inquisition.

You vent about everything.

People will unfollow you.

2. They misunderstand your tweet

Today you tweet you hate the Miami Heat. They lost.

Tomorrow you tweet you love the Miami Heat. They win.

They unfollow you.

They didn’t like you hated the Miami Heat.

They didn’t like you talked about the Miami Heat/

They don’t like basketball.

They understood you like heat.

They understood you are heat.

They understood you hate meat.

They understood you hate Miami.

They like the opposite team. Whatever that is. I don’t follow basketball so I don’t have a clue.

They read you like the Mami Heat. They corrected you that it is Miami and not Mami. Although you wrote it correctly. They were wrong. They were reading from their phones, probably while driving.

They favorited your tweet. You didn’t like that. So you unfollow them. Changed your mind 5 minutes later. Followed them back. They unfollowed you. They didn’t notice that you followed them back. They don’t follow you back again.

They unfollow you because they are tired of hearing about the Miami Heat and their superstar. That tall dude. I forgot his name.

They unfollow you because you don’t have a clue about basketball. Like they are unfollowing me at this exact moment.

3. They Just Unfollow You

You had a few chats with them online.

They replied to your tweets.

They favorite some.

They replied to a few more.

You have never met these people offline.

But you thought you had a connection…get it? a connection.

One day they unfollow you.

You know this because you signed up for the unfollowme report.

You question yourself and twitter life.

Why?

What did I do?

Was I annoying?

When was I annoying? Which of the last (few) hundred tweets. Let me see. Scroll down, down, down more. I don’t know which one. Was it because I put a picture of my food? Because of a typo? Because it’s 80F here and 20F there and I made fun of that. They are on the 20F side? Was that it? No it wasn’t? It’s 70F there? Which tweet made it? Which?

You met them offline.

They seemed nice.

You connected.

You made a collision. (Brad Feld can you sponsor this line?)

You followed each other on twitter.

Virtual fist bumps with the explosion and the sound less effect. Kaboom. Although more like Kapoosh.

They RT.

They replied.

They favorited.

Then one day.

They unfollow you.

There is nothing you can do about it.

You could.

Say.

Hey, why did you unfollow me?

They might say.

Sorry. It was this automated software. Bla bla.

Don’t believe this.

Yet. They don’t follow back.

Even if they follow back.

Don’t care

They might say.

Nothing.

They don’t reply back.

Reply with this. And exactly this:

“Whatev”

The reality of Twitter

Take it with a grain of salt.

Which means.

Take something lightly.

Don’t make a big fuzz about it.

It’s not a life changer.

Cultivate your connections with collisions.

Aka.

Face to face interactions.

Brad Feld you owe me big time. Next time I use the word collisions in this context I will send you a bill

Music for Coding or Not

People ask me often what type of music I listen to while coding or computering.

Codingwithmusichorror

This reminded me of that article by codinghorror about music not to code by.

I am a music fan.

When coworking in Chicago I always wore DJ headphones.

Studio headphones

The top 10 albums I listened to while coding:

1. The Fragile by NIN

This album is awesome

2. Master of Puppets by Metallica

I know how to play all these songs on the bass

3. Bossanova by Pixies

If you don't like this you are insane

4. Jar of Flies by AIC

Nutshell inspired me to learn music

5. Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins

I test headphones by listening to Cherub Rock

6. One Life Stand by Hot Chip

100.times while looping in Chicago

7. Around the Fur by Deftones

50.times.myownsummer

8. Iowa by Slipknot

No code Left Behind

9. 8:30 by Weather Report

Took me 6 months to learn Slang

10. Far Beyond Driven by Pantera

I bought this just for the parental advisory

Not a typo.

You read correctly.

Listened to.

Listened to, because listening to this music while coding…

Is an efficiency wreck.

The moment you start humming a song.

You lose focus.

Your brain needs to be thinking about solving that problem.

And not thinking about the tune.

Or about singing.

The top 3 albums I listen to while coding

1. None

I put on my noise cancelling headphones.

And I listen to.

Nothing.

I googled nothing and I got a black screen

The noise cancelling works so well.

That I can hear my brain.

And nothing else.

2. Nature sounds

Like a river

Not the beach or it will put you to sleep

Sounds of the city.

Street noise.

3. Chopin

In particular these songs into a for loop

  • Waltz No 1. in D-Flat major
  • Preludes, Op 28 No 2 in A minor
  • Nocturne No 20 in C sharp minor

20.times do Chopin

Being a Spotify DJ

Means.

You put a song.

Work.

Then put another song.

Work.

This is an efficiency crazy train wreck.

Crazy train coding wreck

Don’t do that.

Touch Type Increases Your Productivity

Touch type is very important.

Before touch type I was not as efficient as I wanted.

After learning touch type my efficiency increased exponentially.

Touch Type makes you super Human

Before Touch Type

I typed with 2 fingers.

I typed fast but with 2 fingers.

The downside is constantly looking at the keyboard.

You make a lot of typos not looking at the screen.

When you get a typo and you hit delete you get stuck in the delete/type loop.

Nobody criticized my 2-finger typing.

Until…

I experienced pair programming.

Sitting in front of the computer sharing a keyboard with somebody else.

He knew touch type.

He flew through a problem.

It was my time to type.

I got lost paying attention to class and trying to type at the same time.

I typed fast with 2 fingers.

But my lab partner typed 20 times faster than me.

He tells me I NEED to learn touch type or I will have a hard time following.

After Touch Type

It took me 2 months of every day practice.

asdf

jkl;

gh

I used the Z-type game.

Very effective

I played the Z-type game for 30 minutes every other day for 2 months.

My life changed.

My Screen Is An Extension of my Brain

Everything on my screen is an extension of my brain.

You only realize this when you touch type.

Your mind becomes crystal clear.

Because.

You are reading your mind on your screen.

All the time.

Efficiency 20x

I touch type everything.

My emails.

My word.

My excel.

My code.

Touch typing right now.

I make less mistakes.

If I made 10 mistakes before.

Now I make 1.

I encourage everybody I know to touch type.

It changes the way you communicate.

It makes you focused.

I Struggle Sometimes

Home row is your best friend.

Everything above and below.

Are strange territories.

But you must keep practicing

I can never type 6 without looking down.

I struggle with - and =. I am glad words don’t have a lot of z and x.

Square and curly brackets are not my best friends.

My pinky finger doesn’t have much muscle.

I like typing walls |. Strange.

@ not so bad.

Geek Alert

I remapped the Caps with Control (on the Mac)

Kryptonite

Someone else’s laptop

But I try.

To make myself better.

Practice

With the Z type

And with code

3 Recruiting Lessons Learned From the Red Hot Chili Peppers

The RHCP are playing the Super Bowl!

Through their career they had recruiting issues just like any tech startup and company out there.

I have been recruiting and venting my frustrations on Twitter.

Recruiting is not BloodSugarSexMagik!

Recruiting is not Hot or Sexy or Magik

When Frusciante left the band the RHCP needed to fill that spot soon.

Dave Navarro just quit his band but had drug problems.

Zander Schloss wasn’t a good fit.

Arik Marshall got busy doing other projects and was “laid off”.

They held open auditions and this didn’t go too well.

They met Buckethead but he wasn’t a good fit.

Buckethead is so effing weird

Jesse Tobias also not a good fit.

Later on they hired Navarro.

These are the 3 recruiting lessons I learned from The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

1. Don’t hold open auditions

When I used to play in bands I held open auditions. It’s a mess. You get a lot of everything but usually not what you are looking for.

A lot of hours and days of rehearsal wasted.

Lesson learned.

Don’t hold open auditions.

This could compare to hiring people for your company or your startup.

Don’t just put up a sign that says “We are Hiring”

This might work for a fast food burger restaurant.

This doesn’t work for your company.

“We are Hiring”…what? anybody?

Don’t set a day of interviews where anybody can show up.

This is a waste of time. Don’t do that.

Don’t ask candidates to call. You will get hundreds of calls from unqualified candidates.

Don’t ask candidates to email their resume. Your inbox will get hundreds of emails.

You need qualified candidates.

2. Find Qualified Candidates

The RHCP reached out to Dave Navarro who just quit Jane’s Addiction. He had drug problems. But he was a very talented guitar player. They have never rehearsed with him or played with him. They just knew he was talented.

They would go out to spot bands and find candidates. This was a great way to see how musicians played and behaved on stage.

How do you spot candidates in action for your company?

This is difficult.

Maybe you are hiring developers, sales people, marketing, startup hustlers.

How do you see them in action?

You could follow the usual process of qualification:

  • Use tools like the Resumator to collect applications
  • Read cover letters
  • Read resumes
  • Create score cards to evaluate applicants
  • Lookup their Linkedin and their online presence
  • Find their portfolio
  • Schedule phone interviews
  • Send them personality tests
  • Schedule personal interviews and question them thoroughly
  • Call their references

Another approach is to Pair Up with Candidates

  • You could pair program with developers
  • You could pair design with designers
  • You could pair market with marketers
  • You could pair sell with sellers
  • You could pair hustle with startup hustler

Pairing Up with Candidates

Pair programming is one of the best recruiting methodologies for programmers.

The same methodology could be used to recruit designers, marketing, sales, hustlers ONLY if the recruiter has the same or superior skills than the candidate.

For instance. It wouldn’t make sense if the recruiter doesn’t know anything about marketing and he/she pairs up with a marketing candidate. How can you evaluate if the candidate is any good or just full of bs?

Pair marketing

You could share a computer and work on a marketing campaign. You can evaluate the candidate by:

  • How they brainstorm the strategy for the campaign
  • How they write a blog post
  • What keywords they use
  • How they brainstorm the post title
  • How they put together an email campaign
  • How they use Google Analytics and other software tools
  • How they use Linkedin and Twitter

Pair selling

You could create a test scenario of making some sales calls. Your lead could be your coworker who is trained to simulate different types of profiles (the nice lead, the asshole lead, the not interested lead, the talker lead, the secretary, the boss, the non technical, the technical).

Have the candidate make the calls and put the speaker on. You can evaluate the candidate by:

  • How they communicate
  • Their body language
  • The way they take notes…if they take notes
  • How they respond to negative behavior from the lead
  • Their attitude
  • Their ethical and moral values

Pair Hustling

You could try and do business development out somewhere. You could prepare some surveys for a potential B2C product and talk to people at the mall or other public places to get answers for your survey.

You could also go to a mall and ask your candidate to go to a store and negotiate the price of an item. Everybody buys what is priced on the tag. See if he can negotiate the price down.

Go to a touristic area with a lot of city maps and give them away in exchange for hugs. Make a sign that says “Maps for Hugs” and tell your hustlers to collect 20 hugs.

There are other creative ways to pair hustling.

You can evaluate the candidate by:

  • Their assertiveness
  • Their self confidence
  • Their leadership
  • Their achievement drive
  • Their helping disposition
  • Their communication skills

3. Assess Cultural Fit

The RHCP played their first gig with Navarro at Woodstock ‘94. They played in light bulb costumes but Navarro didn’t really like the idea. Navarro didn’t really care for funk music and this affected the band since their music is mainly funk punk rock. Navarro quit the band later on in ‘98.

A light bulb

Navarro never was a cultural fit for the band.

If you play funk and one of your band members doesn’t like funk he is not a cultural fit.

Cultural fit is a tough cookie.

Even after qualifying candidates, going through all the recruiting process, through all the pairing, there is a chance this person is not a cultural fit.

Defining your culture

Do you have a culture of working hard, party hard?

Do you have a culture of remote working?

Do you have a culture of onsite working?

Do you have a culture where every person in the team is highly independent with no supervision?

Maybe your company culture is strongly tied with your company values or the personality of the ideal team member. If your candidate is not up to the same standard level they might not be a good fit.

Experience or skills are not enough.

If I can jam with Frusciante and the songs flow so easy. Damn! I want to have him in my band. If the guy just doesn’t get what I am playing and I have to stop and explain to him. Not a good fit.

Hiring for the culture you want is tricky. You migth not be Google and you won’t be able to have free food for everybody. Or have ping pong tables (which I find to be annoying as hell). Don’t over promise. It will lower morale.

Hire for the culture you have now or the culture you are trying to have in the near future.

Set some small goals for the culture you want to have and test your candidates for that type of culture.

Cultural fit makes the difference between a Navarro and a Frusciante.

I hope Frusciante is playing the super bowl