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Comment Mad Men (Score 5, Insightful) 160

NASA came into its maturity during the Mad Men era of skinny ties and big business. William Shockley had only just left Bell Labs to invent Silicon Valley. Bureaucracy was king. IBM was king of the castle. And NASA still has, I think (I never worked for NASA, but have several friends who did), very much of an IBM-era culture. Many really talented programmers and engineers would rather work for a Silicon Valley startup than get a rank-and-file job at IBM or Microsoft. Riskier, sure, but things get built. Today. Your input can be valuable, or even essential, to the shape of the product that hits the market, and there aren't so many layers of management above you that you don't get seen and respected for your contribution.

It's hardly surprising that talented young space engineers want to work for Silicon Valley-era companies. I'm sure many young automotive engineers would rather work for Tesla or Lit than GM. The era of the tie-wearing commuting suburbanite is coming to a conclusion. I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

Comment Re:Comments Belong With the News (Score 1) 299

True. Although it's pretty obvious when a site moderates with a bias, and that's also good data to gather and interpret: it means you can't trust the site -- it has an agenda. Healthy sites have comments plenty of different viewpoints, plenty of discussion, some good arguments, an outright war or two, and a few abusive, hateful trolls.

Comment Comments Belong With the News (Score 5, Interesting) 299

I enjoy comments on mainstream news sites. To me, at least, random public sentiment is at least as important as the sanitized news version, if not more so. Public opinion is a lot more likely to affect me, and provides a better indication of what I'm more likely to face in "reality" than what the news writers provide. Does people's anonymous behavior suck sometimes? Yes. But is it more honest? Absolutely. On any given topic, maybe one in four people secretly agrees with the worst of the worst trolls, and it pays to be away that other people around you actually do think/feel that way, even if it seems foreign and alien.

I read the news to prepare for life. Other people (even terrible trolls) exist in real life. I value learning their opinions, even if only to prepare myself for dealing with them.

It sucks that people can be offensive, but... hiding it doesn't help anyone.

Comment Change the Conversation (Score 1) 192

Infrastructure is boring and complicated. It's like a bridge: it takes smart people, good engineers and science to build one, and then ten-thousand people a day drive across it and most never notice. To really appreciate it, you need to have a great deal of specialized knowledge.

Your management doesn't care. They care if the bridge falls down, but not if it stays up. So, change the conversation. I bet there's a ton of stuff you do that they -do- care about. Have you saved money? Have you delivered a new business intelligence metric? Have you made the office environment nicer to work in? Have you automated a process and saved some labor hours? Have you made sure all the higher-ups have the best new tech gadgets?

Your management cares about the core business operations. Learn from them what they think about, what's on their minds. Read the same trade journals they do. Learn the buzzwords. Then proactively think of IT solutions to business problems. If your IT department isn't cash-positive, think about how it could be.

If all you really do is infrastructure, you're boring and replaceable. Strategically locate yourself closer to the center of the business, get off the fringes, and participate. That's what will get you seen and appreciated.

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