Mix and Mingle

The past weekend I traveled internationally to work with colleagues on another continent. I’m a lucky volunteering member of IEEE, and so I reached out to the community before I jumped on my flight.

Turns out I have friends in this city, and so I spent a whole afternoon learning about the city and the eventualities it brings along.

Both my old friend and me agreed throughout our conversation that networking is an important activity, and having built an extensive network is an enormous asset.

While IEEE is only one opportunity to meet people, it is a solid recommendation for engineers to actually pick up this activity in first place, even though it may not seem obvious at the beginning of the individual career. Working with and knowing many people is all too often underestimated and need strong soft skills. But even those can be trained, just like engineering can be tought.

The code I’m still ashamed of

The following came through my timelines a few days back. A guy feels guilty for what he did – as a programmer – when he was young. Basically he built a promotional website for a questionable medicaments. Apparently the drug has side effects of depression and suicidal thoughts. Only after his sister was prescribed the same medicaments, his conscience made him quit what he was doing.

If you write code for a living, there’s a chance that at some point in your career, someone will ask you to code something a little…

Source: The code I’m still ashamed of

Also, the author writes the following:

As developers, we are often one of the last lines of defense against potentially dangerous and unethical practices.

It’s a pretty sure bet everybody long enough in the Internet Business has had moments like this before. For myself, there were a few moments, where I saw an ethical border that I didn’t want to cross. As a student, this was porn. As a professional, it was weapons manufacturers.

Interestingly enough, I even quit two companies for their ambition in IT security. The first pushed datacenter-grade firewalls to small businesses that basically only needed a DSL modem. Through a sales method borrowed from insurance brokers.

The other one at least had a solid technology, but developed a solid sales pitch relying on the same FUD, that crosses that ethical border.

Just like with medication, people shouldn’t buy security out of fear, or any other product for that matter. And any technical person should strive for educating customers and not helping sales people create that fear.

Don’t aim for disruptive

DisruptiveThe tech industry is optimizing everything around us, disrupting every aspect of social, business or whatsoever. The thought everything will be easier is just so tempting to everybody remotely involved in anything remotely digital. And that’s why so many app-developers, start-ups, evangelists feel inspired by the opportunity. Every new idea needs to be ground breaking, revolutionizing. And that’s why that concept of “disruptive” became so popular, even while interpreted fundamentally wrong by this group of technologists.  Clayton M. Christensen who coined the term, explored development of disk drives and described generational change in the technology, each disrupting the market of the previous generation.Winter Wonder Land However, none of the following generations of disk drives was designed as “disruptive“, but to have advantages over the previous one. Continue reading “Don’t aim for disruptive”