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Comment: I think this is brilliant... (Score 5, Insightful) 228

by ed.markovich (#42577895) Attached to: Facebook Testing $100 Fee To Mail Mark Zuckerberg

Imagine you get more mail a day than you can read. You got two choices: spend significant time filtering through or risk missing the signal for the noise.

Now imagine every message in your inbox cost someone $100. First, it would significantly cut down on the volume. Second, if you know that a stranger spent $100 to write to you, you can assume it's not completely trivial - someone must have thought that what they have to say is so valuable that you're going to care and respond that they staked money on it.

Frankly, $100 is cheap. Say I have a startup idea that I think facebook would jump all over but I have no-one in my network who can help me bring it to FB's attention. I would GLADLY pay $100 for access to Zuckerberg - if $100 is enough to bring his inbox to a reasonable size such that my genuinely good idea could get the attention it deserves, it's well worth it. Frankly I think $100 is too cheap for someone at as high a profile as Zuckerberg.

Many of us get LinkedIn email from recruiters that we generally proceed to ignore. Now let's say a recruiter had to pay $5 to email me (if they weren't in my network): it would both cut down the amount of noise, and make me likely to take the email more seriously: if the recruiter was willing to put up money to make me aware of his opportunity, maybe there's something there.

Similarly, imagine it cost $5 to send your resume to a company. It would immediately stop people submitting their resumes for every posting in the world. The company could rely on the fact that any application for any position is from someone who genuinely believes they are a match and perhaps do away with machine resume filters, if the volume was brought down enough. In other words: although it would seem "greedy" to charge people $5 to apply for your job, it would end up meaning that more of the better candidates made it further through the process.

In general, putting a $ figure on a communication significantly increases the signal to noise ratio. $100 for Zuckerberg's attention is fair. $5 for my attention on LinkedIn is probably fair too - especially if I could set my own price. If I don't get anyone contacting me, I drop the price. If I get too many bogus offers, I raise it.

Comment: Expectations (Score 1) 1127

by ed.markovich (#40786129) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Preempting Sexual Harassment In the Workplace?
I am commenting for the first time in years to say.... Huh?!

If you are the leader of the team, you set the expectations and the tone for everyone else. Your belief that bad behavior is "guaranteed" dooms your effort to control it. You must make it clear to yourself that nothing inappropriate must be said or done, then make it clear to your team that infractions will not be tolerated. The expectation should be that no inappropriate behavior occurs, period.

Others have already told to you why your attitude will get you sued and that the behavior you describe is immature and unprofessional. Let me just add one more thing: miscommunication is an inevitable consequence of human interaction. By sanctioning any borderline behavior not only are you increasing the risk of someone reacting negatively, but you are leaving yourself without any way to reassure anyone that what happened WAS just a misunderstanding rather than evidence of a hostile work environment.

That being said, I have worked for, with, and managed people of both genders and many backgrounds. Not once did I encounter an environment where inappropriate behavior was exhibited towards anyone. Proper professional behavior should be a given, not an impossible goal to work towards. Are you sure your team has a problem? Or are you seeing your coworkers through your own lense?

Good luck, I think you are going to need lots of it.

Comment: Network Effect (Score 1) 300

by ed.markovich (#33819864) Attached to: Top Reason for Facebook Unfriending Is Too Many Useless Posts

The only reason I prune my FB friend list is that having random people on there reduces the value of the system.

I do a lot of college recruiting and I often connect with people I am interested in on FB. First, it just helps to connect faces to names when we try to remember later what we liked about a candidate. Second, it provides a easy way to keep in touch with them (eg: we didn't hire someone this year because they weren't ready, but maybe next year). But eventually the people from schools I recruit from became a hefty minority of my friends on FB, and FB started suggesting their friends to me. Which makes sense algorithmically but that's not people I know. Eventually I went back and removed all the candidates that didn't pan out, and FB went back to suggesting (occasionally) people I really did want to reconnect with.

Comment: Re:Principles Over Rules (Score 1) 580

by ed.markovich (#30617940) Attached to: Myths About Code Comments
Ugh sorry. Foiled by the HTML formatting. Here's what it's supposed to look like

There's a quote in Code Complete ( I think ) that one should be able to read code in the evening in one's armchair with a glass of brandy as if it were a novel. My personal version of it - and the criteria I impose on my team - is that I should be able to read and understand the code w/o having to think too hard or knowing much about what the programmer is trying to do. It's really easy to enforce this in code review - if I can sit at someone's desk and quietly read their code and know what's going on, it's good enough - either sufficiently-commented or self-commenting. On the other hand, if I have to ask what a section does, whatever the developer says to me verbally is also a good candidate for a comment.

The other key factor in commenting is that it must be clear not only what the code is doing, but why. For example, if I encounter the following in the code:

if (productType != SOME_TYPE and client != SOME_CLIENT) {
   sendReportToCleint()
}

it doesn't help to have a comment saying

// Send the report, unless it's SOME_CLIENT buying SOME_TYPE.

I already know that... what helps is:

// Don't send reports to SOME_CLIENT for SOME_TYPE because their system
// crashes on this message and they don't know how to fix it. This is
// as per discussion with Jon Doe on mm/dd/yyyy

Comment: Principles Over Rules (Score 1) 580

by ed.markovich (#30617884) Attached to: Myths About Code Comments
There's a quote in Code Complete ( I think ) that one should be able to read code in the evening in one's armchair with a glass of brandy as if it were a novel. My personal version of it - and the criteria I impose on my team - is that I should be able to read and understand the code w/o having to think too hard or knowing much about what the programmer is trying to do. It's really easy to enforce this in code review - if I can sit at someone's desk and quietly read their code and know what's going on, it's good enough - either sufficiently-commented or self-commenting. On the other hand, if I have to ask what a section does, whatever the developer says to me verbally is also a good candidate for a comment. The other key factor in commenting is that it must be clear not only what the code is doing, but why. For example, if I encounter the following in the code: if (productType != SOME_TYPE and client != SOME_CLIENT) { sendReportToCleint() } it doesn't help to have a comment saying // Send the report, unless it's SOME_CLIENT buying SOME_TYPE. I already know that... what helps is // Don't send reports to SOME_CLIENT for SOME_TYPE because their system // crashes on this message and they don't know how to fix it. This is // as per discussion with Jon Doe on mm/dd/yyyy This is basically the principle of least astonishment

Comment: Re:Checks suck (Score 1) 208

by ed.markovich (#24824687) Attached to: Too Easy For Bank Accounts To Spring a Leak

What??? Using any decent program you should be able to tell what your current balance is and what it will eventually be. Besides which, additional funds were being removed so it should simply show up as unknown or at best duplicate transaction which, if you bother to keep track of your finances, should stand out.

I agree that the Guy in the story seems to have not done a good job of reconciling his statements. I was pointing to the difficulty of keeping track of the balance w/o doing minute reconciliation:

If I write 2 checks for $10 and my account starts at $100, I don't at any time know if my account SHOULD have 100, 90, or 80 dollars in it. If one is diligent about his finances these things should be possible to spot (I am not sure what the article means when they say the statement was so convoluted that the Guy couldn't reconcile it)

My point though is it's easier to use credit. I charge 2 things on my card, the statement comes, I can review it, and then transfer the payment from my checking account. This way my account is debited once at the time of my choosing, which would make any other attempts to wire money out stand out. Of course I would still have to review my Credit Card statement with dilligence.
 

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