Focusing on pumping vanity 'growth' metrics when our product has negative gross margins. We have no idea if anyone likes using our product or if they're just using us to buy dollar bills for $0.97. However management is ego-driven (we're going to "change the world") and it's easier to raise another round than to make a profit.
This is actually possibly a good problem for a real startup. Though somewhat technical, there's certainly quite a bit of tedium there, per http://www.paulgraham.com/schlep.html, so it's potentially really profitable.
This kind of thing confuses me. I've heard similar thoughts before, but as someone out of the loop, aren't investors still expecting a return on their investment? Sure VCs have high toleration of risk but they need at least one or two of their companies to make money eventually, right? If investors really are buying dollars for $.97 this seems like the best indication yet that we are in a huge tech bubble.
You also can't extend the deadline for project completion in case of unforeseen events. If you run out of time, but not money, you just have to stop, because the money evaporates.
Yes, the startup is still going.
More power to you if you find yourself actually meeting business needs over the company's own internal programmers and systems folks.
I am, of course, trying to effect change from within the org I am employed by.
I will co-sign to this every day of the week and twice on sundays. In our org chart, developers are not "IT" and getting nearly anything done that requires involvement from IT borders on impossible.
I honestly will probably never work for this sort of Microsoft/Oracle/IBM shop ever again unless I get a blood promise I can use a Mac or Linux workstation, get on-demand development VM creation, and have absolutely 0 Oracle product I'm required to integrate with.
The org I work at is so old that it still has groups with "Wintel" in their names, but the UNIX guys (the majority of our non-windoze stuff is AIX) aren't any better. It literally feels like I'm in a time warp back in the 1990s.
Some horror stories:
- having a systems engineer tell me to put in a ticket for the purpose of making a phone call to discuss something that had no pending action needed on his part
- having a DBA tell me the same thing
- having a DBA not know how to turn on query logging
- getting told we had to put together a hardware acquisition plan to do an in-place upgrade of database modules
- having a ticket to get log rotation turned on ignored for months and then told (when logs filled up the disk) that they'd have to turn off the service
- tediously going through change control to alter permissions, elevation rights, etc., only to have "implemented" changes mysteriously disappear the next time security patches were applied
- requesting and getting access to some very nice and expensive commercial applications only to be told that our use case was unsupported
- a half-dozen vendors' antivirus clients on windows machines
- unplanned outages during non-brownout/storm conditions corrupting databases
Ironically enough, some of the PMs (who are generally non-technical) we've talked to in IT literally complain about the exact same sort of problems.
The upside is I can take two or three hour lunch breaks whenever I have to wait on these guys, which is a couple times a week.
The time it takes to get a host set up is absolutely mind-boggling. There's talk about making changes, but it takes years to overcome years of bad leadership and apathy, and there's institutional inertia that actively works against modernizing.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
It's bad enough that money is saved within IT departments that costs multiples of wasted staff wages in the business, but there are battles between sub sections of IT that try to save money in their area by pushing it on to others (again at net cost).
"How do I authenticate a Github webhook in the API Gateway?" "How much should I provision for DynamoDB?" "Why is this IAM role not working?"
> Keep in mind the costs of power, cooling, and bandwidth as well.
And it will still probably be cheaper to host your own, with one caveat: if you have wildly varying traffic loads, AWS' autoscaling is hard to beat. The reality is, though, most companies don't have traffic loads which vary enough to justify the extra costs.
I would pay around 8x times more if I would use AWS instead of dedicated servers.
> in many cases. Independent infrastructure ages and requires updating as time goes on.
That's why you use dedicated servers unless you are really huge (then you go with your hardware) or have specific requirements. In 99% other cases you use dedicated servers which are refreshed by data centers with newer hardware then you just switch (if you really need it...).
I worked a project with a public company that had a 1:1 dev / scrum master ratio. Then they brought on consultants for a straight week for full time training to fix the lack of progress. You can't make these things up..
Then not holding product accountable for an inspired roadmap that is delivered 2 months into the half.
My team is working way below peak efficiency for 4 months a year as a result. The engineers are super unhappy about this but there is "nothing to be done" according to my boss and his bosses boss.
But yes, the amount of reversions, refactors and plain jane "we gotta rebuild this" has lead to some real fatigue at least from me.
Excel... how people use excel and the amount of waste that happens just because they don't properly know how to use 'vlookup' or 'if' simply just boils my blood.
Need to share a screen shot of your error? Paste it into excel.
Project management? Excel.
Database of assets? Excel.
Transactional information? Excel.
Incredibly complex, multi page calculations? Excel.
My colleague nudged me out of a stupor as I stared at the overhead projection. "Its Excel!" He whispered. "What are you on about?" I said. He was clearly mad. "The chart! He's done it in Excel". To my horror I began to see. This wasn't MS Project at all. It was subtle because the cells were so small they were almost no bigger than a pixel. I gasped and almost took the presentation off course.
It was like a mosaic. A feat. I've never seen anything like it since. Still baffles me how much effort he must have put in and the pain he must've felt every time that crappy plan inevitably moved to the right.
But i'm kind of a dirty hippie.
It's basically a field day for consultants and for appliance vendors. I'm not a huge fan of NIH but it's really demoralizing to see money get spent on toys that immediately get locked up in the attic.
For example, when you have a division of larger company that really should be its own company. But, no one's allowed to talk about that because "that's been talked to death already" and the show must go on, etc. Or because no on really cares (or bothers to think about things on that level) basically.
Incompetent managers up the chain don't have a coherent vision that moves us forward. They spend most of their time playing at politics, trying to look good, maintaining the status quo, and/or attempting to coalesce power/status. Even good managers get caught up in this game. It seems to be the nature of the system.
On my team, for example, we have too many projects, projects taken on for the wrong reasons, and projects that don't fit our team's skillset. Most of those projects aren't managed well or even managed at all.
Old projects molder with no real plan for fixing them, so we spend inordinate amounts of time on every change. New projects are announced with someone claiming that they'll be "easy", but there's no plan and things don't get done or they get done badly. Sometimes I sit here in pure bewilderment wondering what the point of it all is.
Is there some way a startup could tackle organizational/social issues? That seems like an interesting idea, but I can't think of how it might work.
That being said politics will always exist, but not the debilitating level (IMO) to which we've seen in the past.
Using the too expensive AWS and Google Cloud where DO would have been totally fine.
People who can't admit their mistakes or even blame others for theirs.
Bad architectural decisions.
Kubernetes instead of Docker Swarm for small clusters without any traffic or just plain Docker.
Expensive Github instead of free Bitbucket.
Asana, Jira, Pivotal Tracker instead of free Trello.
Self-hosting of non-core tools.
Team retreats nobody wants.
Team events nobody wants.
Team members with weak communication skills.
Teams which are not synced, where some come after lunch and some finish few minutes later.
It would be very effective if everyone worked together towards a common goal. This really isn't an issue in fast growing companies but the slower the growth of a company is, the more destructive competition sinks in.
Or engineering or product in charge of business.
Lets write most of our code ourselves, get independent from external actors, but we are slow now, glacial and distributed to reinvent a lot of wheels, while others outpace use in our domain. We should use more librarys.