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Comment: Re:Management panic in action... (Score 4, Interesting) 524

by BrianRoach (#42990593) Attached to: Mayer Terminates Yahoo's Remote Employee Policy

You're correct that we didn't evolve with digital communication. We also didn't evolve with telephones, but everyone seems to have figured those out.

The company for which I work is 100% remote when it comes to pretty much everything but C-level, and that's working pretty well for us (We just opened new business offices in Tokyo and London). I work with people in ... 7 timezones? Something like that anyway. The nearest physical office to my home is ~ 1800 miles away.

The trick is you have to hire people capable of working that way. As you say, we didn't evolve with digital communication, but humans have a remarkable ability to learn new things (well, at least some of them). Can you have that guy that needs constant micro-management and someone asking "What did you do today, Bob?" ? No, you can't (although I would make the argument that you really don't want him in an office, either). You also can't have the typical bad mid-level manager that thinks someone sitting in a chair within close physical proximity to them from hour X to hour Y = productive. Or anyone who thinks talking to someone face to face is more effective or productive than the myriad of ways to communicate digitally. I often find great humor in the irony of people building software that allows people from all over the world to communicate and interact with each other ... need to be in one physical location to do so.

In short? Best. Job. Ever. I've always found that I was more productive outside an office due to the constant interrupts and constant stream of often useless "facetime" meetings. Having a job where I do that all the time is simply awesome and I have gotten more honest, real work done in the last year working here than probably any time elsewhere (while it's hard to quantify that when talking about software engineering there is a sense of getting things done and doing so effectively).

I will say, however, that having *everyone* remote is far different than having most people in an office and a couple people remote. This is where you run into the problem of them "not being involved". While not impossible to manage and again the right people make this work, it is more difficult for most people because it's simply that "out of sight, out of mind" problem when it comes to the remote workers. In general you also don't have an environment and tools in place to facilitate those remote people being included because it's not your normal workflow.

Comment: Re:Falling to near zero?? (Score 1) 274

by BrianRoach (#40603165) Attached to: Algorithmic Pricing On Amazon 'Could Spark Flash Crash'

Businesses will also sell old stock at a loss simply to free up capital that's trapped in stockholding.

Not to mention that often you're charged a restocking fee by your distributor and it counts against your account purchase totals (which grant you perks such as line discounts, better rates overall, etc).

When I was running my business our main distributor would allow a 6 month restock, but with a 15% fee. We'd simply put inventory that wasn't moving that we would have returned on "clearance" at (or up to the 15% below) cost to get rid of it. It was only things that we literally thought we'd never get rid of that we'd return.

Comment: Re:Troubling signal, why? (Score 1) 471

by BrianRoach (#40065893) Attached to: Facebook Shares Retreat Below IPO Price

I know what everyone is saying about how the $38 share price was perfectly picked as the correct valuation of the company, but (and I am not a financial expert) what does this mean to the people who bought in on Friday? With no major share price movement they are left with a bunch of stock certificates and all their money in the hands of FB. How does this become a worthwhile investment for them?

Define "people".

Individual investors were chumps from the start (pretty much every analyst had said not to buy it) and allowed the financial institutions to make a nice 20% profit in a few minutes, selling their shares @ $42 - $45 when it opened.

If you're a financial institution ... it's a long term investment that you believe will pan out. They thought $38 was the correct valuation and are in it for the long haul.

Comment: Re:Math/Fact Check (Score 1) 523

by BrianRoach (#38523858) Attached to: Why We Agonize Over Buying $1 Apps

Not to be pedantic (ok, I am) but one per day was never mentioned.

I watch people at work make multiples of such purchases daily ($4 coffees, $2 cinnamon buns, etc) then complain that they don't have money to buy things ... like a new(er) car.

$10/day buys you a Versa on a 6 year loan at a low interest rate with a minimal down payment.

Comment: "cards closed per week" (Score 2) 223

by BrianRoach (#38380038) Attached to: The Four Fallacies of IT Metrics

I worked as an engineer at a company the professed to be "agile" (the quotes are because really, not so much). They started judging performance by "cards closed per week".

You'd be amazed at the number of cards that will be created and closed under those conditions. Our productivity *soared* (according the graph that showed productivity as a measurement of cards closed per week ... ).

Comment: Re:RTFA - really, it's interesting! (Score 1) 845

by BrianRoach (#38327212) Attached to: Are You Better At Math Than a 4th (or 10th) Grader?

First of all, we have to remember that the sample questions were from the 4th and 8th grade, but the test he failed was 10th grade. At that age level, the questions might already be hard enough that it's justifiable to have forgotten a couple of rules and fail as an adult.

Not so much. If you follow the links you'll find up here: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/itmrlsx/landing.aspx

Here's a sample question from the 12th grade mathematics test, specifically one marked "hard":

"The postal rate is 25 cents for the first ounce and 20 cents for each additional ounce or part of an ounce. What would it cost to mail a package that weighs 6.8 ounces?"

So in short, on top of all the other things you detail in your post which IMHO is spot on, the guy really is operating below a functional level when it comes to mathematics. Given this and those things, I'm going to go out on a limb and say he's probably not really that great at much else either.

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. - Henry Spencer, University of Toronto Unix hack

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