Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Personal development

Today, I wrote my first job description. I get to hire two people. Here's the first draft:

"Company is looking for a passionate and skilled software engineer to work on a team in the office of the CEO creating technologies that help us to be better organized, better managed and more productive. Candidates must be innovative, creative, flexible, and self-directed. They will be responsible for helping to identify business needs and solutions that will be widely adopted in the company. Candidates must have excellent written and verbal communication skills. They must be capable programmers in C/C++ and Perl. Experience building database applications is a must. Experience developing applications for the Web using technologies such as SOAP, XMLRPC, Javascript, HTML, Java, JSP, or PHP is required. A proven track record designing quality GUIs is a strong plus. A bachelor's degree in computer science, or equivalent experience, is required."

What do you think?


Last week I was a bit depressed having been exposed to a broad spectrum of problems that I would have to tackle in order to be successful in my new role. However, I then realized that true leadership is the ability to see through the problems to the solutions, and live as if you've already solved them as you tackle them one by one. That perspective shift was a really useful one for me.

Refreshed and hopeful, I started out to redefine what I had already done, a couple days later, and now I've come up with a reasonably clear, concrete framework for my team, and a ranked list of projects that we'll start to tackle.

Ah much better.

Thursday, July 17, 2003


I spent most of today and yesterday organizing and summarizing the results of my interviews with other folks. There's this great tool called MindManager that has proved immensly useful.

I used to the tool to organize/group all of the ideas that I've collected. After a lot of sorting/resorting, and group I came up with three main categories:

EOR ~= Eeyore ;)

Exactly how I felt after interviewing all those people.

A new day...

First, I must say Strong Bad... very funny!

Now onto serious things. Today, I plan on completing my decision framework for the team I'm starting, and then starting on the beginning of my first project.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Oh yeah one more thing...

For basically the past two years I've been butting heads with the owners of a technology at our company. Basically, I've been arguing that it had the right objecives, but the implementation was weak, and they haven't measured anything to see if the objectives were met. In reality, I think they've made some things worse.

Anyhow, one of the themes that has come through clearly in talking to people is that our technology (often mentioning this project by name) is a major factor that is stopping us from innovation/progress.

Sigh... I told you so? How, unmotivating.


So I've got a new task at work... "lead a technical team to help us be better managed, better organized, and more productive" In case you missed it, that's an astonishingly broad charter. A charter which I've been trying to define very carefully.

Part of doing that, I've gone around the company doing interviews. I've been asking questions like "if people were saying 'wow Andy really nailed the problem on the head' two years from now, how would your job be different?" or "are we as nimble as a small company? why not?" or "what are the biggest obstacles to success at our company?" It's been a fun exercise, but it's also be a little depressing. None of the people I talked to are really happy? In fact I bet there is a strong chance that the majority will not be around in 5 years.

To top it off, I was supposed to meet with my boss, and another SVP to discuss my latest thinking, and they were going to be 15 minutes late, then 30, then 45, then the meeting didn't happen. I understand, but it was just another punch that takes the air out of you.

Tomorrow I shall find the holy grail.

It all begins somewhere

So I just wrestled MovableType to the ground and won a great triumph. As well documented as things seem, there are some things that aren't clear.

1. Where should you put your blogs (~/public_html, /var/www/..., near the "db" directory)?
2. Furthermore some of the URLs that it wants aren't clear "Full Site URL" Is that www.theharbicks.net or www.theharbicks.net/weblog? Or the archive URL.
3. Also I has some weird permission problems with "rebuilding indexes" It wasn't clear what it was complaining about (the dir was 777) but the problem went away.
4. I expected that the act of authoring and publishing would be a little more seemless. Instead I write up something. Publish it, and then rebuild the site.

That's it for now.