Richard Bergmair's Blog


==> People are responding by pointing out that other professions have similar things going.

Lawyers might take on high-profile cases pro bono to build a name for themselves or contribute to academic publishing even when they are not on the payroll in any academic capacity, etc.

But they have a different culture to go with that. As a lawyer, your X-hours work week will stay an X-hours work week, and your non-billable hours Y are subtracted from X. Most jobs in the software engineering profession come with the expectation that you have an X-hours work week, and your employer usually does not allow you to use any of that time for personal professional status-building. Your only chance is to do it on weekends, which eats into your work-life balance.

#business   |   Dec-21 2022

==> Adam Mastroianni is Against All Applications, imagining better ways of picking people. Some people are pointing out that “Selectopia” is already how it works for large parts of the tech industry.

This frightens me. It likely contributes to ageism, as students and teenagers are comparatively time-rich and can more easily find the time to build up impressive GitHub profiles. As you get older, projects like building a house, raising children etc. start taking up your spare time. Also, after many years as a software engineer, you relate differently to your profession than when you started. You’re less naive and less capable of just having faith in some weird karma whereby hard and good work will be recognized and rewarded if you just do it.

#business   |   Dec-21 2022

==> Gustav Westling uses Extremely Linear Git History.

That’s some rare reassurance right there that I’m not completely crazy for preferring subversion to git.

#computers   |   Nov-22 2022

==> Just came across Benji Weber’s blog article “Why I Strive to be a 0.1x Engineer”.

I’d like to make a point to the contrary here, based on a thought I initially came across in Tom DeMarco’s book “Peopleware”.

Often, from a strictly economic standpoint, you might be in a situation where you’d say, “quality level x is the quality level that the market is willing to pay for, while any higher quality level is uneconomical”. You might then be tempted to ask your employees to dial down the quality level of their work and produce worse work than they’re capable of. He argues that this is almost always a bad idea because of the demotivating effect of doing such a thing. You’ll get lower productivity and not realize the cost advantage you hoped for in your purely economic analysis. Or, to put it differently: Dialling up the quality level of your product from the level you economically need/want to the level your employees are capable of will typically pay for itself through increased productivity through increased motivation.

So, if you ask your employees to be 0.1x employees, you will get 0.1x output. You won’t accomplish more with less. You’ll accomplish less due to lesser productivity.

#computers#business   |   Nov-10 2022

==> Just came across Pablo Guevara’s Manifesto for Minimalist Software Engineers.

The thing is: Pareto’s law really isn’t a law.

You think that the world is full of situations where 80% of the payoff comes from 20% of the work?

I tell you that, equally, the world is full of situations where you get 0% of the payoff unless you’ve done 100% of the work.

That latter observation is just as true as the former, but it won’t make anyone into a best-selling business book author or motivational speaker. It doesn’t help reduce cognitive dissonance when reflecting on laziness and ineptitude.

#computers#business   |   Nov-07 2022