On Sat, 20 Jan 2001, Chris Benson wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 20, 2001 at 09:04:24PM +0000, Robin Houston wrote:
> > On Sat, Jan 20, 2001 at 08:01:51PM +0000, Chris Benson wrote:
> > 
> > > Another link is 
> > > 
> > > http://www.arsdigita.com/careers/
> > > 
> > > They seem to be a very good model for a consultancy business 
> > 
> > Personally I wouldn't like to work anywhere that thinks like this:
> >   http://www.arsdigita.com/asj/managing-software-engineers/
> > 
> > Even if that article is slightly tongue-in-cheek, it disturbs me :-)
> 
I get the feeling that some of Greenspun's writings are written as
advertising. One theme running through his writings seems to me is to
explain his architecture to the audience. He keeps things really simple,
so that even a manager should be able to understand him.

But it remains advertising. He goes just slightly over the top about how
great ArsDigita is.

> I suspect it is *not* tongue-in-cheek -- he wants only the best and does
> expect 70-80 hour weeks ... during a project.  In some discussion I saw
> about this he justified it two ways that I remember: (1) not everyone
> worked on projects all the time and (2) if people did work full time on
> projects they'd be getting about ~us$500k / year.  (Having spent the
> entire 80's doing 70-80 hour weeks for less than gbp10k I'd liked to
> have had the chance!).
> 
Hmm. My experience says that on many projects, there are people you
don't want to work overtime. This is because they created many of the
reasons why overtime is necessary.

Greenspun believes that everyone should be potentially great (or great
already.) He suggests that when a project needs work, people work
harder. And an interesting point is that he is in a small town
(Cambridge, Masse-however you spell the damn thing), so that commuting
is much quicker. On a typical day, I leave for work at 7.25, get to work
at about 9.10, leave at 6.30 and arrive home around 8.15. (This is since
Hatfield. Total work time 8.30 after lunch. If my commute was 10 minutes
each way, I'd have 3hours and 10 minutes of extra work time a day. (Not
that I'd necessarily want to work it...)

Look at the consultancy thread, where despite the project being composed
of a group of friends, a lot of people wanted to work from home. 

> There are also good bits there which have been mentioned in other threads:
> <quote>
>      The average home cannot accomodate a pinball machine. An office  
>      can. The average home can have video games, which are very popular
>      with young programmers, but not people with whom to play. The
>      average home cannot have a grand piano but almost any office can.
> 
For the time being, the techy is "talent". We should be treated well,
until they find a way to clone us. At the very least, if we aren't being
treated well, it implies that the project isn't valued. 


> I don't think I'd like to work for them though ... I'm getting old'n'soft
> :-( and I find the attitude that comes over in Phil Greenspun's writing
> rather (very!) arrogant.  And of course they use <shudder> TCL.
> 
I think that Greenspun needs to be outspoken to pay for the techies
toys.

TCL is used because its multithreaded. Perl 6 is going to be
multithreaded. It should be able to wipe TCL out.

> But the organisational structure and strategy/vision *is* interesting.

Yup. There isn't enough talent around, so people get promoted beyond
their competence. If you train your people they'll only leave.

The only way out of that cycle is to train in-house,
and treat people so well that they stay.

Discuss.

Kieran

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