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Comment Dear Nick (Score 4, Insightful) 211

Dear Nick,

I'm very happy to learn that you, the Head of Infrastructure Development at Amazon, have good working conditions at Amazon, but your opinion is absolutely irrelevant, since people being pressured at Amazon are not developers, but people doing physical work.

It's easy to defend your job when you have a comfortable position, but it's also very disrespectful towards people who do *real* manual work, who are forced to follow a fast pace and who are also badly paid.

I had countless death marches in my previous jobs (in videogames), and I know very well how it destroys people (and it took me more than one year to recover).
But death marches cannot compare to physical repetitive fast-pacing tasks.
The body suffers but also questions arise, because the mind is completely available.

As a software engineer, my minds is always busy, so I don't have doubts when I work.
If I had a manual work, I would have plenty of time to wonder why I do a job that I dislike.

I have experienced the Stockholm syndrome in a few jobs, where I believed it was my duty to sacrifice myself for the company, so I understand people wanting to show that they can perform better than others.
It's totally normal !

But please, Nick, don't compare your job to the mindless harassing jobs in Amazon.

Comment Re:4/5 in favor (Score 1) 753

Not to mention, if everybody was that way, you'd start to see a gradual decline in GDP.

Who cares about GDP ?
Frankly, what does it change to your life ?

it ends up being psychologically damaging to the recipient because they lose the will to improve themselves, end up with depression

In fact, you become depressed if you believe that you are useless to the society.
There are tons of things to do to avoid feeling useless.

What irritates me is people who complain that they don't earn enough money, but they systematically have huge dogs, large televisions, etc.
If people want to live on subsidies, I have no problem, but don't expect to live a luxurious life !

Comment Re:We need more carrot, not more stick (Score 2) 170

you get what you measure.

I remember a documentary about a company in India doing 3D animation.
One manager explained how he monitored in real-time how people were working.

Then, the boss explained how he was proud of producing movies in India, and he showed a few seconds of the animated movie his company was working on (it was something similar to the Jungle Book).
The animation was pretty miserable.

Their system encouraged finishing tasks the fastest as possible, not the best as possible, so it was absolutely talentless.
If you try to measure work, you'll get quantity but not quality.
How is it even possible to measure quality ?

Moral of the story: if you need robots, take robots, not human beings.

Comment Re: Desperation due to FF's collapsing marketshare (Score 1) 125

You are wrong, and this is because Scrum is not agile !

If you use only Scrum, you cannot succeed because Scrum is for managers, not for developers.
For developers, you can use Extreme Programming, DevOps or Kanban, but please do not force developers to use Scrum, it's absolutely useless for them.

The devs should have the authority to not commit to a particular feature/tech/UX/whatever in a given time period.

When do the devs have some power in a company ?
The problem is that the business guys want more and more features, so they try to cram as much possible tasks as possible.
As a dev, you don't have time to polish your code, since you have to always remind the big picture, I mean the "vision" from the business guy.

Comment Re:Heart's in the right place... (Score 2) 480

I did a lot of game companies at the time, and people quit not because they were fired, but because they were burned out.

When you have death marches during 6 or 12 months, delivering the game becomes meaningless because you sacrificed so much. It's a matter of pride, but the company doesn't care about you in the end.

The best people quit to find a better company (such a company is quite rare, I must say), and only the incompetent ones remain.
In the end, all valuable experience is gone, and the company's only assets is the game and the worst of the original team.

Comment Re:Heart's in the right place... (Score 4, Interesting) 480

There is a saying in France that says:

"the heart is on the left, but the wallet is on the right."

While I partly agree with you, I would like to share my own experience.

20 years ago, I worked for a game company where the boss wanted full equality, so he paid everybody around the same salary.
While the approach is humanist, in the end it did more bad than good.

There was a huge trust between members, but beginners were terrible and were slowing down the experienced people.
I wholeheartedly loved working for this company, but it collapsed after finishing the first game.

The lessons are:

1) pay people as low as you can, but as much as they need to live a comfortable life (and won't want to quit your company). Everybody has different needs, and I don't count "home cinema" as a need !
2) pay well your better workers, don't count on their faithfulness especially if you fire people randomly
3) be frank. People (especially the awful workers) are obsessed why they don't earn as much as their colleagues. Tell them why they don't deserve a higher salary.

Comment Re:Compiler optimizer bugs (Score 3, Interesting) 285

I had a worst experience: hardware bugs.

Back in the 90s, I was working on a trucks game.
Strangely, when playing via network, the trucks on some computers sometimes desynchronized.
I spent one week locating the problem by digging into verbose logs: it was due to the FDIV bug, which was subtly changing the positions of some trucks.

More recently, I spent a lot of time figuring why some programs crashed on my computer.
After a few weeks, I realized that some bits in the RAM were dead, writing into them returned random values.

Comment Re:WHO World Health Organisation data (Score 2) 102

You should compare the rate of accidents, not two unrelated values.

Maybe there are 10000 drones in the world, and 100 accidents every year, which gives a ratio of 10%.

How much cars do we have in the world ?
I very much doubt cars have such a high rate of accidents.

Perhaps if you multiply the number of drones by a factor of 10, you'll be able to count deaths.

Comment Re:Does indeed happen. (Score 2) 634

Any theories on why this is happening?

My thought is it might be culture thing, unless the new hire is coming on as a team lead or manager they're probably going to be working under someone in their 20s or 30s. I'm wondering if this is simply a case of people feeling weird having a subordinate 10-20 years younger than themselves or bringing a 45 year old onto a team with a bunch of twenty-somethings.

It's not about bringing age, but rather experience, or even wisdom.
When I was working in video games, I frequently went to companies where, only by myself, I was doubling the experience of the whole team, because I had 15 years of experience in game programming (I started at 20).

In fact, it's a matter about what the company values.
If the company values experience, you'll find a diversity of people.
If the company values technology, you'll only find young male guys.
Sadly, most tech companies are obsessed with technology, and don't hesitate to hire "assholes" because they don't care about the human factor.

In a five year period we can get one superb programming language. Only we can't control when the five year period will begin.