I've managed to employ many of the techniques in my day to day as a PM with success, but his discussions on salary negotiation resonated with me. I'm sure you can find some notes on the book to derive 50% of the value, but the author's stories and explanations drove it home for me.
Am I wrong? Now that I know how it 'works' I can pick out Ackerman bargaining tactics from a mile away so it's basically a moving target. I feel truly great negotiating tactics are an artform. To succeed you need creativity and flair that can't be duplicated mechanically.
Just because you can pick out the tactics doesn't mean you can't be worn down, or still end up trusting a person. Some folks emotionally mirror so much that they just don't end up having control in the situation.
TLDR: It's a great book if you can ignore his attitude. And ignore every negative thing he says about Ivy MBA programs and their books. He is simply wrong about them.
The methods advocated in the book are somewhat "simple" to remember. This is because he focuses on what will work 70-80% of the time, whereas other books tend to also target the remaining scenarios, creating bloat and complex methods.
This is probably the best book when it comes to the psychological aspect of negotiation. The other books do have it, but tend to focus more on the rational aspects.
Writing style can be very offputting. An incredible amount of boasting. A lot of it is justified, given he was one of the FBI's top negotiators. But he goes well beyond it. He starts the book describing how he walked into a Harvard class on negotiating and completely dominated the other students with his negotiation prowess. And he goes on and on about how he beat the Harvard students. Really? In my warped view of the world, I thought it was a given that a Harvard student new to negotiations should be able to beat the FBI's top negotiator.
This was beyond pathetic. It's as if Roger Federer wrote a book boasting about how we visited a tennis academy and managed to trounce everyone. What an achievement!
The anti-academic bashing is strong, and quite unjustified. Throughout the book he boasts that his techniques are way better in the real world than what the academics/Ivy schools teach. Umm... no. I read the Ivy school's books before reading this one, and roughly 70-80% of the techniques in NSTD are the same as the ones taught in MBA programs.
I've noted many parts of NSTD where he makes a false claim against the Ivy Books, or where he claims the Ivy Books don't teach Y. One day I intend to write a detailed review on a blog somewhere listing all his claims, and next to each one quoting one of the Ivy Books refuting his claims. It's just very dishonest of the author to criticize other books this way.
(And no, I don't think any of the Ivy Books actually suggest splitting the difference as a good strategy - I recall one even saying it is an option, but mostly if nothing else is working and your BATNA is not good).
Finally, some good books talk about different negotiation strategies based on your relationship with the person. When you don't care about the other person (e.g. haggling in a marketplace), the strategy you would use differs very much from one where you value the relationship (e.g. business partner). He doesn't really distinguish, and it's not surprising given his background where most of his professional negotiations were one-off.
Please be careful when using his tactics with people you want to maintain good relations with. They work well the first few times, but some of them really start to annoy people. One of my managers left our team and was replaced by another one (new to managing). The new manager used some of these techniques, although she had not read the book (especially the continual "How can I do that?" questions). She was relatively successful in the negotiations, but it damaged a lot of relationships. 3 people eventually moved to other teams.
If one is looking for additional books to read, I recommend:
- Bargaining For Advantage (not very prescriptive, but this is the best one to make someone interested in negotiations and want to learn more).
- Getting Past No. You probably should read Getting To Yes before reading it, though. GPN has some overlap with NSTD regarding the psychological side of negotiating.
Getting To Yes is often recommended. It's decent. My only caveat is that it is not as broad as BfA, and because it gets recommended all the time, a lot of people feel GTY is "sufficient". When it fails for them, they abandon the whole discipline thinking they're just not cut out for it.
Not specific to negotiations, but I recommend as well:
- Influence. Many books (including NSTD) invoke this book.
- A good book on communications (e.g. Nonviolent Communications or Crucial Conversations).
A lot of negotiation techniques are derived from these two topics, and they'll make a lot more sense if you've read them.
Finally, regarding salary negotiations, there's actually a really good one in the book, which is the flip of what is usually taught. The conventional wisdom is that if you can't get your desired salary, negotiate on other things (work environment, work from home, hours, vacations, perks). He flipped it around. If it seems they won't match your salary, keep asking for benefits/perks that are somewhat reasonable, but you're confident they can't provide them. The company will usually say "Sorry, we can't provide that perk, would a $x increase in salary do?"
I haven't tried it, but I can see it would work - most large companies have a limited set of variables they can tweak, and cannot customize much for a single employee. So they compensate by increasing the offer.
But his ethos is applied and over applied so much that some times it's a breath of fresh air when a sales person just cut to the chase. Especially in this day and age in most cases, the user probably have had a couple weeks to try and thoroughly read the manual on your product. The sales calls are basically a formality. Beating around the push just wastes everyone's time. Just my 2c.
Compensation is heavily dependent on market rates. It's far more difficult to hire a strong senior engineer in the valley than it is in most other cities in the US. Even companies in fairly remote areas can hire a remote developer or pay a SF engineer to relocate for less than what most Valley engineers make.
It's not about what you can actually do... It's about what you can do compared to the other available people around you.
It's all relative to how much things cost. Suppose one of these engineers wants to buy a home. Here, somebody of similar skill could afford any one of:
a. new McMansion
b. waterfront property with a boat dock and canal access to the ocean
c. canal access for an airboat
d. a condo literally on the beach
e. 11 acres, sheep, goats, can fire an AR-15 in the backyard
For each of the above, I've had a coworker get it. For half those prices, a house within a couple thousand feet of work can be had. An actual house right on the beach seems possible too, perhaps requiring a 30-minute commute in low traffic.
That is single-income by the way.
So, are these things available? If these would be unaffordable, you're underpaid, no matter how big your dollar figure may be.
We have a 1300sqft house in HCOL and it still has a bunch of unused space; we used to have the same problem even in a 1100ft apartment. My friends have a cheaper big house a 40-minute drive away; the reason they have a big house is because they want to be near certain outdoor activities, and there are no small houses in that area. Half the house is literally unfurnished, nobody ever goes there.
Come think of it, my two main problems with my house is that (1) it's too long of a walk to a bus (like, 7 minutes) and bars/etc. (like, whole 5-15 minutes); (2) (didn't affect us directly yet) heroin addicts stealing stuff. Both of those would be worse in a typical LCOL where I could afford a McMansion I wouldn't bother fully furnishing.
I'm not in BA and I think BA is vastly inferior to where I'm at, but for me an apartment in BA >> a 4000sqft house in rural Kansas. It's like, not even on the same level.
Judging by the prices, many people agree :P
Nobody wants to take the bus. It doesn't run 24x7. It doesn't go direct, door to door. At the beginning and end of the trip, nobody wants to walk 7 minutes in unpredictable weather while lugging a bunch of stuff. Nobody wants to endure a slow trip, stopping every couple blocks, with a couple bus changes that take a half hour each. Before you get your groceries home, either your ice cream melts or your hot chicken gets cold. You just wouldn't do that. You'd hop in your car, go a couple miles without any traffic, and use the free parking.
Heroin addicts aren't normally a problem in reasonable non-city areas. Yes, you could choose to live in the worst neighborhood, maybe renting for $200/month, but that isn't normal for a "software-engineering" person. More likely you'd be in a neighborhood where calling the cops about a suspicious person would get the cops there in a couple minutes, and/or you'd be in a place where burglars get shot at with full approval of the state legislature.
Mind you, that's all in the city where buses actually kinda suck. Where I'm from, subway runs 19 hours a day, and peak hour train interval are 50 seconds, up to 7 minutes at night. Many people still drive (it actually takes much longer at rush hour), well as I say, why stop the self-inflicted suffering, there are all kinds of kinky people :)
The way I see it, driving yourself is a menial job that makes about as much sense to do as pumping your own overflowed sewer with your own advanced plumbing gear. If you cannot pay someone else to do it (no plumbers or buses/ubers accessible), either you live really far in the mountains, or the place you live in is run by idiots.
Crime rates, except for the most benign property crime like car prowls and package theft, seem to be way higher in the LCOLs I looked at, ~4 years ago when we were deciding where to move to. I was actually surprised how much higher, although I don't remember the details. Anecdotally, someone I know lives in a LCOL in Texas and they got burglarized no problem in a gated burb that is way far out, you cannot get there in any way other than by car.
You must be very comfortable in crowds, without much concern for the fact that some other person could do something bad to you. Suburbia exists largely because other people disagree. These other people can not relax on a city bus.
Fixing your own sewer is something people do for privacy (strangers again, IN THE HOME), scheduling, and to take pride in doing something with real physical results. It's like cooking your own food, changing the oil in your car, walking your dog, washing your dog, teaching your kids to read, driving, and mowing your lawn. All these things can be paid for, but that takes variety out of life and reduces privacy.
Getting burglarized in Texas is pretty special. Somebody knew he wasn't home, or at least that he wasn't armed.
I shouldn't be walking for groceries. The HCOL/LCOL distinction sorts by family size, being both cause and effect. (you choose a place according to family size, and then the choice you made will influence your family size) I have 11 kids, so try to imagine hauling the groceries for 13 people.
Going by your price, it's $35.75 for us to take the bus.
That is, it does unless you actually like stepping over homeless people and being mugged.
I was compensated for not having a girlfriend, as it is a scarce resource that a high salary can't buy. By looking back in my life to those years, it wasn't worth it.
The more articles I read the more convinced I am that this is by far the most important factor in an offer, including interview performance. Companies seem to rely in a 'wisdom of the crowds' of sorts.
Nice work. I went through the experience recently, although with two offers instead of six... and that was stressful enough! Well worth it in the end, obviously.
I've had recruiters tell me they need to see a copy of an offer letter in order to match against it. I assume this is to minimize people lying about competing offers to squeeze a few extra percentage points out of their offer and to give the recruiter maximum negotiation leverage.
What response do you get if you just tell them "no"?
This was at a top 5 tech company.
Talking about salary is one thing, but giving them the documents themselves is different.
Same level / performance will be equal after a few years, so the really important thing to work on is (perceived) performance.
For the person who didn't start higher, the difference between those curves is lost income.
With that disclaimer/explainer out of the way, I can say with confidence that I don't factor options into my comp. When an employer gives me options, I say thank you. When they don't, I don't feel upset.
Am I getting shafted?
Keep in mind the big tech companies (FANG et al) are really a tier above in terms of pay, and also that the numbers given here include both RSUs and a projected performance bonus.
If you think this guy/gal is overpaid, well, get a load of this table: https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-facebook-alphabet-most...
Salaries normalise over time though, if performance is similar to peers then comp eventually will be as well (meaning other people will get bigger raises).
Things spike up or down, but that doesn't mean it wont revert to the mean. Enjoy it while it lasts. Dont get cocky and come to expect it. Definitely dont make long-term commitments assuming it will go on forever.
Typically you never want anyone (that you want to keep) to be fully vested, so it's expected that you'll get new grants to top up after a couple years if you're doing OK.
disclosure: I'm co-founder of levels.fyi
Many of my co-workers are in the same boat.
I have good fundamentals, and extensive experience diving into and navigating large/old codebases.
First, if a candidate talks about programming languages a lot (especially if they're talking about Lisp and Haskell), that can be a sign that they're going to be unhappy working within the confines my team's Java/C++/whatever codebase, and that they're going to complain a lot and try to rewrite things in other languages. That's not a dealbreaker, but it's not a great first impression.
Second, bragging about how many languages you know also codes as "junior engineer" or "recent graduate", even though the rest of your post makes it sound like that's probably not the case. Most teams are looking for someone who has demonstrated that they are really productive in at least one language, so focus your sales pitch on that. Again, this is just a first impression issue.
Finally, I probably wouldn't claim myself as "expert" on anything, unless I was a top 10 committer to the project or I was specifically trying to bill myself as a consultant on that specific technology. Seeing "expert" sets off people's BS alarm bells, and they'll evaluate everything else you say with a more skeptical eye. It can also get you in trouble in interviews. Point #7 on this blog post explains it better than I could: https://steve-yegge.blogspot.com/2007/09/ten-tips-for-slight...
Anyway, please read this as constructive advice rather than someone on the internet trying to tear you down. I'll echo what the other comments have said - practice coding interviews, apply to the big tech companies that have a presence in your area, and don't get discouraged if you don't get an offer right away. The big companies are full of people who had to interview 2-3 times to get an offer.
I recommend not even mentioning a language in your resume, just explain what you worked on. If they ask if you can program in X, the answer is "of course I can program in X", because of course you can, languages are easy to learn. If they ask if you worked with technology Y, you say "yes" or if that's not true, you say that "I worked with similar technology Z, and I looked at Y and it seemed easy enough to learn in a few days".
You want to position yourself as a person that will do anything that needs to be done, and if it requires learning something new, you'll learn that quickly, as you've already done many times before. Just don't lie, as it can easily poison the well.
Some companies are looking for e.g. Rails developer, and they might reject you if you're not Rails developer, or they don't realize that you are. This is fine, these companies almost never pay $250k+ anyway. Companies that do are looking for people who can do anything they ask them to, not just some simple well-specified tasks.
2. Interview at FANG.
3. If you get a junior-level offer, you're looking at 160-180k total comp. If you get an engineer-level offer, you're looking at 190-240k. If you get a senior-level offer, you're looking at 240-300k. These numbers will increase if you perform well for 12 months.
You should interview :)
I'm talking about 200k on average.
The “secret” is Google tries to hire smart hardworking people, not divinely ordained superhumans. My advice would be to study hard for the interview and let them figure out whether or not you pass the bar. At the very least it will be good practice for othe interviews and you might be accepted and find a role you really like!
Her answer was yes. She went on to elaborate that google hires and targets CS knowledge along with Innate General Intelligence.
Straight from the horses mouth as she was part of the hiring committee. I would source this thread unfortunately I can't find it anymore.
If you don't believe me you can always direct a question towards Gayle on Quora as she's an active user.
I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. I think in the higher echelons of google, they are actually trying to hire for higher IQ. What actually happens is different. The filters actually allow people who study to slip through the cracks despite how much they try. In general though, the overall group that gets hired at google is still generally smarter than a typical programmer working for a much less famous company.
Also as with every job, performance on the interview is highly uncorrelated from performance on the job, unless google has the big data numbers to prove otherwise.
"The only winning move is not to play."
Companies like Facebook, Google, and trading companies do it quite often.
Engineers with TC over 200k is not rare in the bay area. More tricky is people who's equity is pre-IPO; startups often pay low base salary in exchange for equity / lottery tix.
Do you think that a $200K/year salary is pretty high for tech in the Bay Area? At a global level $200K/year is very high, but regionally, between tech employees in the and their incumbent landlords, it is not that high.
Misleading. He applied at 20 companies, interviewed at 6, got 6 offers.
42% Tax bracket. Net $180K per year
$6K per month in rent/mortgage. Net $108K
$3K per month in living expenses. $72K
$1K student loans (maybe). Net $60K
$1K in insurance (health / renters / home). Net $48K
$1K disposable income. Net $36K
$8K vacation. Net $28K ( or about $2.3K per month for savings)
Add kids, dependents, cars, transportation, day care, private schools... and it's a net wash (or possibly even net negative with more debt).
[EDIT: If we're getting precise here, the effective tax is 38.18% before deductions. The point being that $150K yr is near the poverty line in bay area. $200K is barely enough to survive. $300K is what a FAANG will pay 90 percentile Engineers to ensure they're comfortable]
Take home pay for CA is $185K
Out of everyone know, I'm the only one paying under $2500. How many bedrooms and what's the square footage of these places? Are they shared?
If you own a home in the Bay Area, chances are you hit the limit on your property taxes alone.
Seriously? A 1BR can cost like $2.5k in Sunnyvale. Even in Boston/Cambridge I could get a really nice 1BR for $3.5k max.
Sure, you can easily spend that amount, but it's hardly a living expense. For a single person, that a long European vacation, with no effort made to control costs.
Also, look up "marginal tax rate" and "effective tax rate".
Any decent accountant should be able to save at least $10-20k more of that fast and loose tax total.
Also— if you’re paying $6k a month in rent, and you can afford the down payment, why not just buy a home at that point? If you want to relocate you can sell it and you’d get a decent mortgage interest deduction that would affect the bottom line.
A nice 2 bed 2 bath is 4k, not 6k
I don't even know how you would spend 3k a month in living expenses.
All of those numbers are seem pretty off.