Archive for December 2003

Wait. Wait. Stay right there. OK, c’mon in. [1]

My work recently closed their second round of financing, to the tune of some $3.5M. Incidentally, this event also reduces the value of my stock options from owning about 1% of the company to 0.5%. Dilution hurts.

Anyway, with this new money, I think management isn’t really sure which direction to go. On our current path we’re already profitable (though our flagship product has a limited life), so obviously this new money is supposed to help push us in another direction that will make even more.

Yesterday we had a company-sponsored brainstorming day. Lunch at East Side Mario’s on King, then a 4 hour session at Willowells Conference Center. First 2.5 hours was just the technical team, then the sales and business people joined us for the remainder. The contrast between the two sessions was interesting to say the least. The technical part was upbeat, some ideas were thrown around that I wouldn’t mind pursuing if this was back in the university lab days. But the reality is that when you’re a small company with a (compartively) large number of customers, ultimately the mandates of business and marketing win out.

Which is fine, I understand the whole greater good thing, but I just wish they didn’t have to be so rude and pushy about it. I guess that’s the thing – you can’t really get rich being nice (kind of like how you can’t win friends with salad). One of my co-workers has this story: The president of our company was in the same Systems Design class at UW with Bill Tatham, founder of Janna Systems, which later sold out to Siebel. Suffice to say, Bill Tatham is loaded [2]. Our president is decidedly… not (well who knows, but he doesn’t look it). So anyway, the story is that my co-worker had a co-op term or two at Janna, and he had these horror stories about Bill Tatham walking around the office and barking orders at random people, attempting to micro-manage daily operations. Stuff like, “WHY THE F*CK IS THIS PLANT IN THIS CORNER?!! IT SHOULD BE OVER THERE!” Contrast that with our mild-mannered president who’s usually quite nice (but has been known to make the occasional snide remark), and it’s quite clear.

If you wanna be rich, you gotta be a mean sonuvabitch.

[1] There’s a tangential story that goes along with the post title. My co-worker has another funny story from when he worked at Janna. There was this manager there, who had his office arranged such that the back of his computer faced the door, so he could see people coming to visit him and they couldn’t see his monitor unless they went in and walked around his desk. The story goes that whenever people would knock on his door, he’d put up his left hand and say “Wait. Wait. Stay right there.”, all the while frantically clicking the mouse with his right hand. Once done, he’d breathe a sigh of relief and welcome the person into his office. Eww.
[2] So loaded that the new UW co-op building is named after him.

New chair

They finally got me a new chair at work. It’s a Herman Miller Ambi, without the forward seat angle option. It’s no Aeron “ass throne”, but at least it’s better than the crappy old Staples chair I was using before.

The rest of the people in the office got new chairs too. Definitely a step up from Staples (and a couple steps up from the chairs that came with the building), but they’re no Ambi. Haha, suckers!

One of the sales guys and the Russian co-op have cats at home. Their old chairs were covered in cat hair when they turned them in. That, or they shed a lot. Or they sleep with some really hairy women.

First Post!

I haven’t really had a webpage for years. I think it’s understandable considering my lack of HTML and CSS skill. Couple that with just about zero artistic talent[1] and a reluctance to use sites like Diaryland and Xanga, and well, you get something like my last iteration. A page that’s not terribly interesting to look at, an age or two between entries, and for some reason each one turns out incredibly smug and condescending.

What makes this time any different? Plenty of canned PHP blog packages, complete with communities that develop themes and templates. Plop one on a webserver, do some minimal CSS tweaks, and you’re off. Yes, yes, only about this[2] much better than Diaryland, but hey. Went with a package called WordPress, and modified a retro b2 theme. <shrug> Whatever that means.

But why the blog? Living and working in Kitchener/Waterloo[3] means I end up seeing friends maybe on average once a month. Even when I do see them, they pretty much just get the highlight reel since the last time I saw them. The dailies are lost, mostly because I forget them, but also because they’re never really interesting in retrospect a month later.

So here we go.

[1] I only took visual arts in grade 9 because I have even less musical talent.
[2] Place thumb and index finger together on the hand of your choice.
[3] Which was originally supposed to be a temporary arrangement, but is no longer looking that way with each passing day.