Archive for ‘Social Engineering’

October 13, 2011

Overheard on the Subway – Good Start Up Advice

by: Mike Alwill
commentary / formatting by: Doc Harvard

Doc Harvard: It’s not often in the start up world that you get clean, straight forward and non-snake oil advice but I believe that Mike Alwill from Google has hit on something solid here. Normally I have a picture with my blogs but for this one I will forgo it to bring more focus on what is being said.

Take it away Mike –

What We Hear When We Listen

I have a tendency to overhear other people’s conversations without even trying. While at a bar, walking down the street or riding home on the subway, the words just find their way to me and all of a sudden I’m an audience member to someone else’s discussion.

Last night on my ride home I overheard three guys (a white dude, a black dude and an asian dude) discussing hiring strategy for startups. From their speech and clothing, I could tell they: A) had been drinking and B) were business students at NYU (they specifically mentioned the school several times).

The white dude also seemed to have his own startup (of 10 people) and was imparting his past experiences on the other two guys. Some of the topics included:

  1. Joint-hosting a party of several startups that required each attendee to bring two people who were not in a startup but who would be good for one
  2. The need to drink with a candidate to get their honest stance on particular issues
  3. Making sure you find out that a candidate would “go to happy hour with you at 3pm on a Tuesday but stay at work until midnight on Wednesday”
  4. Difficulty during salary negotiations such as “offering someone $33k but not knowing how to react if they ask for more OR the worry that if they do accept, maybe you could’ve offered them even less”
  5. How startups don’t make formal offers but instead are likely to make an offer while out drinking with a friend or candidate

The general theme seemed to be about assessing candidates and making sure you figure out how to get at their inner selves so you know if you’re getting someone of quality which from what I could infer seemed to be someone who drinks, doesn’t take a high salary and follows whatever work schedule you want them to.

Not once did these guys mention selling or proving themselves to the candidate as a justification for why a candidate would want to devote themselves to their startups.

This is why I can’t stand the majority of entrepreneurs:

September 12, 2011

Transparent Responsibility – Owning Up to Your Mistakes

Transparent RPG DiceI’m currently working on a social media / network SEO plan that will leverage all the blogs and tweets that the Quicken Loans family of companies has. It’s pretty inventive if I do say so myself. It’s a good challenge do to the diversity of the Quicken Loans’ family of companies. If you’d like to see the challenge I’m working with feel free to stop by the Quicken Loans’ family of companies page. I’m not actually writing about this plan though. I’ll brag about it later when my get enough empirical date to support my anecdotal data. I’m writing about Google Docs today.

July 18, 2011

3 Dangerous Tips of Success

Dangerous life of responsibility or a safe life of justification? Which person are you? Are one of those people who play it safe or do you live dangerously?

I’m not talking about the jumping off cliffs and out of airplanes or even poking an angry bear trying to steal your picnic. No, I’m talking about being a person who sit’s in the corner of meetings, keeps their head down below cube level, gets twitchy every time the printer starts printing a report that you just know you’re going to have to process. Are you that person? Well or you?

…or do you live dangerously?

July 12, 2011

How Much Are you Worth?

How much are you worth? How do you decided your value? Is your value measured in money or something else? Is your value established based on financial gain, the amount of stuff you have, how nice your car is, how much you know, how much you don’t know? How do you value yourself?

How much I’m worth has changed over the years. Not because I’ve made or lost money, or anything else similar, but because my perspective on my value has changed. You see we often fall pray to the benchmarks that society sets for us. Sure, we need to reach certain benchmarks in life to survive, i.e. paying our bills, but we shouldn’t let those benchmarks define our value.

I want you to take a good hard look at yourself and decide if your personal value is based on social benchmarking or those things that are actually valuable to you.

July 9, 2011

4 Design Tips from a Bounty Hunter

You find find design tips in the strangest places.

When I was first starting out as a designer I took anything I could get just so I could get some experience under my belt; but all to often, the jobs were far and few between so I took whatever temporary work I could find to pay the bills and would allow me to keep looking for design projects. One of these “paying the bills jobs” was working graveyard at a gas station. There I met a bounty hunter, and ended up designing his website.

These are the design tips he shared with me [they work as words of wisdom for most any profession actually].