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New Intel CEO rehiring retired CPU architects (anandtech.com)
747 points by rbanffy 45 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 532 comments

This is an encouraging move.

My secondhand understanding was that Intel was losing top talent due to pressure to pay closer to median industry compensation. Top engineers recognized they were underpaid and left the company.

I've been part of a similar downhill slide at a smaller company in the billion dollar revenue range. To be blunt, once the [mediocre] MBAs start realizing that the engineers are getting paid more than they are, the pressure to reduce engineering compensation is strong. Frankly, there are plenty of engineering candidates on the market who are happy with median compensation. Many of them are even great engineers and great employees.

However, being a top company in a winner-take-all market requires the top engineers. The only way to attract and retain them at scale is to offer high compensation. I'm hoping that's part of what's happening here.

I left Intel years ago to get almost 3x the salary as a software developer at... a bank.

At Intel engineers are paid supposedly similar rates at similar levels and similar locations. And given my level (two levels above Senior Developer) I estimate I was paid better than at least 90% engineers.

Where I worked in R&D the doors were constantly revolving and many people admitted they wait to register enough of prestigious time at Intel on their CV to get hired at a much better rate for another company.


I don't see these moves as encouraging, more like signs of complete and utter panic. You go to these moves when whatever you do isn't working and you don't have strategy to do something new so you try to default on what has worked in the past (this both for the choice of CEO as well as bringing retired people).

This doesn't necessarily mean it is a wrong move (see Steve Jobs coming back to save Apple as a proof it doesn't have to be bad) but I wouldn't call it encouraging.

Rehiring retired people to me signals the new CEO has no trust in people that already are there. And that is usually bad news.

Add to it outsourcing CORE competency to competitor (https://www.eenewseurope.com/news/intel-TSMC-5nm) and it seems that if there is a plan it is to keep the ship afloat for a little while longer.

Hopefully the ship is going to be afloat for as long is necessary to reshape the organization, but I think we haven't yet seen any concrete moves to see what is the strategy.

I've been approached by headhunters for contract work at Intel. They want all kinds of machine learning knowledge & experience and the pay is.... $45/hr. I kid you not. I just sort of laugh and tell them that that's about 1/3 of market rate for that kind of thing.

I am 100% in the same boat. Had a recruiter reach out to me who wanted me to leave my more than comfortable six figure SV job to do cutting edge contract work in machine learning as a lead engineer for about $50/hour. I was so amused I actually spent the time listening to their pitch and eventually told them that anything less than $200/hour wouldn't even cover my current pay + benefits. Let me know if you can do better. They hung up. Lol

It's one of the (dirty?) pleasures in the work-life, isn't it? I still treasure getting to the stage in my life when I could afford to stop saying what my salary expectation was outside of "fair in relation to the market and my experience".

Recruiter H/R: "We need to hear your salary requirements to move forward with this position".

me: "I would like to hear your offer".

Recruiter / HR: "We won't be able to consider your candidacy without your salary expectations"

Me: "Then, despite my interest in this outstanding company, and the high value I believe I can contribute to it, I will be forced to go with the employers that make a salary offer first".

Best fuck I ever had.

Or, better yet, instead of sinking that negotiation 100% of the time after your last sentence, you could give obviously large sum and tell them you are open to negotiation once you had your chance to present yourself and the company present themselves.

Not only this shows a little more negotiation savvy, but once in a blue moon this could give you an offer you have not expected. For example, they could just say "OK".

If you have the luxury of affording spending time on multiple interviews, very sound point!

Who do you think you are screwing by cutting off your opportunities at the root? :)

As the other reply pointed out, you are cutting yourself (a) out of the conversation (b) out of finding out what your actual range is.

Here's a dirty secret for you - very often the recruiters don't share the range because the range is broad, they may fill the role with a mid-level or a super-senior at 2x the comp. If they tell you the range, it's likely a more cookie cutter mid-level role and you don't even get to learn where you could land (or what your level doesn't hit and maybe you want to work toward)

> because the range is broad

You make it sound like if they don't tell you what the range is, they are somehow doing you a favor. No, if they don't tell you the range it's not because they're nice or whatever, but because they're trying to get you to sign on for the lowest amount possible. If you hear the range is larger than what you were expecting, you're gonna try to hit that upper bound. Both positions are understandable from their own points of view, no hard feelings here. But, in general, the recruiter is not your friend and not there to help you. Them not disclosing information is to their advantage, not to yours.

>> But, in general, the recruiter is not your friend and not there to help you. Them not disclosing information is to their advantage, not to yours.

I think that's an unhelpful point of view in any but most commoditized-labor situation.

The more rare and hard to find your combination of skills and experience, the longer the recruiter has spent looking for you, and the more motivated they are to get you the best offer possible to get you in the door. It's not in their or your interest to lose you to save a few tens of thousands of dollars.

>> You make it sound like if they don't tell you what the range is, they are somehow doing you a favor. No, if they don't tell you the range it's not because they're nice or whatever, but because they're trying to get you to sign on for the lowest amount possible.

Again that kind of only works in the most commoditized situations (eg: "hire anyone with 6 months experience with React" or whatever.) The more specialized the recruiting search, the broader the range becomes: for example, "we need someone who knows technology X and Y, has been in industry A and has shown attributes B and C" they recognize they may end up hire a more junior or a more senior person and expect different things from them. So the role may pay 250 or it may pay 500 based on who you are. If you're in the 250-level experience range, it's meaningless for you to hear that it can go up to 500.

In California they are legally required to tell you the range if you ask.

Would you happen to know if this is a) for california-based employers, regardless of seeker status b) for california-based job seekers only?

The text of Labor Code 432.3(c) is:

An employer, upon reasonable request, shall provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant applying for employment. For purposes of this section, “pay scale” means a salary or hourly wage range. For purposes of this section “reasonable request” means a request made after an applicant has completed an initial interview with the employer.

Based on the wording, in that it appears to be addressing employers in the law's jurisdiction, I believe the answer is a).

Thank you for taking the time to look that up!

By divulging the higher end of the range, the company instantly looses with less experienced candidates that could be content with their work if not for the fact, now there are two posibilities:

1. The candidate will ask closer to the upper end of the range but will get declined. Both company and candidate lost because divulging the upper end created unrealistic expectation by the candidate.

2. The candidate will or will not ask closer to the upper end and if he asks, the company declines and proposes more realistic rate. Now, both still loose because the candidate is "tainted" by thinking the company did not think he is worth the money and that he could get so much more.

The alternative is to have very narrow range but this is also suboptimal, because it is better to be flexible and once you get to know the candidate figure out where he/she fits.

Asking for rate at the beginning also allows to fine-tune the recruitment process. The company should NEVER propose less than what the candidate stated as their minimum. That's just a way to get an unhappy employee from day one. So, by specifying your rate you also specify minimum requirements you have to pass for the company to be interested in you. If you say you are expensive, that's the standard you are going to be evaluated against.

It seems to me that knowing what a position a company looks for fetches on the market is the recruiter and HR's job. No one said it would be easy. If the range is too wide and the position can be filled by a variety of people then maybe the offer is defined and presented incorrectly.

Again, having a flexible rate but not letting the candidate know is better for the company, not for the candidate. Keeping the range a secret instead of defining the range correctly and specifying the job correctly seems like laziness on the part of recruiter/ HR.

Excellent points! A note: for some, in HR/R, there is a material incentive to get a candidate to take a lower range, i.e. the lower the one doing the value-generating job gets paid, the higher the commission bonus /imaginary career bonus points for the HR/R.

I've spoken with (drunk to be honest?) recruiters that got a lower overall commission the higher the salary for the recruited person got.

> I've spoken with (drunk to be honest?) recruiters that got a lower overall commission the higher the salary for the recruited person got.

Not to be an asshole, but that wouldn't suprise me. Maybe I got more cynical with age but anytime someone I don't know tries to tell me, implies, makes me feel that he/she is my friend and wants what's best for me, without a clear reason or incentive for it being so, I get real suspicious real fast.

As a counter example, I am working for a large bank now and I am regularly interviewing candidates. We interview candidates first and then figure out if there is a role that would feel the candidate well.

I personally like it much better than having rigid positions and have to pass on a candidate just because he/she does not fit a rigid set of requirements.

That does sound like an interesting approach but I think is only applicable in first-job or entry level positions right?

What kind of seniority are we talking about here?

> Who do you think you are screwing by cutting off your opportunities at the root? :)

Which would that be, if you have multiple offers, where they name the first number, and then you offer them the opportunity to bid higher against each other?

That sounds complicated and unnecessary. I am honest with recruiters about what I make, some of them to "oh shit that's 3x what we are looking to pay" and some go "oh ok cool that's probably doable." Then you go down the road with the second set and depending on how well you interview they make you an offer you can take, negotiate or leave. So I am in a position of strictly more options than if I had a rule of not speaking to folks who didn't state a range.

I just give them the salary I want to make (which is easy because what's on my paycheck + stock opts is a good enough value) so either they go for it or they will decline. It's a good way to see if they mean it or not

So yeah sorry, not moving for a lower value

Would that strategy perhaps be excluding a higher salary with those willing to pay more than your maximum ask? (genuine question, no sarcasm)

No strategy is perfect if you have imperfect information. You just choose between different risk profiles.

Probably the simplest strategy would be to always ask for the amount you curently make, plus 30% or 50%. And keep interviewing once in a while even if you are okay with your current job. If you asked for less than you could get, the next jump will fix it.

Then don't increase your expenses, save the extra money, retire early.

Good grief do I ever work in the wrong part of the world.

I’m well established in my career (and I don’t have SV costs of living to be fair) - but anywhere even in the galaxy of $200 an hour would be life-changing for me.

Shoot, the $45 an hour mentioned up this chain would be life changing for me (yes, I live in the U.S.), after 15 years at my job I make 17.26 an hour. It's why this talk of $15 minimum wage mildly terrifies me, I know people need it but man, it suddenly thrusts me nearly to minimum wage (minimum wage is currently 7.25 here).

You can feel secure knowing if you lost your job, any other job you find would at worst pay $2.26 less than you're receiving now, so you wouldn't suffer an awful drop in living standards (and you'd hope it would also pressure your employer to give you a raise..)

You should see an increase in your wage when the minimum goes to $15. A rising tide lifts all boats. Inflation is virtually zero, so rising wages are a good thing for the vast majority of wage and salary earning employees.

I am not sure it's given that inflation will stay at zero with rising minimum wages.

I think GP is worried this may not be the case, and he would lose purchasing power.

Nothing may happen, but I think we'll have to wait and see if this is the case or not.

My annual merit based increases are often at or just below inflation levels and the cost increase of insurance, I wouldn't hold my breath on my employer upping my pay a comparable amount - shareholders aren't fond of shrinking profits.

I think the largest pay bump I've ever seen in a year was right at 2% or possibly even less.

Why would inflation stay at 0? That is extremely unlikely.

I would love to see you prove that with actual labor statistics. Employers do not do that, plus now you need to deal with higher prices.

It “suddenly thrusts” you absolutely nowhere. You still earn exactly as much as you do now, but it is interesting to observe the psychological effect of being surrounded by people who are more miserable than oneself.

>You still earn exactly as much as you do now,

And one would assume you'd see rents and housing prices very rapidly start going up, then presumably other prices over varying levels of time.

Perhaps. But why wouldn’t the same apply to salaries then?

What would happen if we were to set the minimal wage at 100K so that we eliminate the poverty in one swift move and everyone is either equally rich, or as you are worried - equally poor :)

Having people only make slightly less than you terrifies you? Why does knowing someone else might be getting a tiny raise terrify you?

The problem with minimum wages is that they don't do anything. There is a mild psychological effect that forces people below minimum wage to find a new job. However, if the economy doesn't have enough jobs above minimum wage, then it does nothing.

If the government offered jobs at the minimum wage there would be an effective price floor for wages. Better yet, if those government workers spend their income they can drive economic demand which ends up creating jobs above minimum wage. Eventually every job pays more than minimum wage and nobody is dependent on the jobs guarantee.

And if there are enough jobs, then it does something, and does it well. It forces companies to spend a bit more on their employees and in some ways, redistributes wealth.

Your solution isn’t better. The government cannot be everywhere the way that Walmart is.

I really don’t think its impact is going to be that big. Low skilled labor will still find ways to get hired for less, off the books if the need is great enough...it happens all the time.

The government is already in more places than Walmart is though?

The government already offers jobs like that too, just that it's through the prison system and the floor is much too low

Look, as much as I hate Walmart, they exist in places at levels that the federal/state does not. Either way, that's not the only thing my argument stands on. I'm as liberal as they come, and would never suggest expanding the government just to fit that capacity.

I work as a Senior Software Engineer for big international corporation in the 2nd world country and $45/hour would be life-changing for me and most of the people I know.

I live in the US in a metro of less than 2 million, and my very first contract job as a self-taught developer who barely knew JavaScript was $45/hour. The guy didn’t even blink when I asked for that much. It was life changing for me too, going from desktop support to doing dev work.

I remember meeting a taxi cab driver in the US that told me about his experience coming on a tourist visa, getting married to stay and working towards starting to work as an engineer.

There are ways to move anywhere you want, and ways to get remote work at us companies, especially now, if you don't want to move. They are not easy, but they exist.

You don't have to move to the US to make 200. That's easily available for remote people. For the big bucks, moving maybe helps but it's unlikely you make it from driving Uber to 1k/hr unless you run your own business.

> That's easily available for remote people.

Not easily at all, clients usually avoid working with offshore freelancers directly, and established freelance platforms tend to cap the overseas rates (because they want their cut and also clients expect offshore devs to cost much less)

Or am I totally wrong here?

My experience is, as I read the job ads, they want US based remoters for the easy accounting. So at the minimum, one would have to set up a US company. At the "easiest for the employer", one would have to bill/apply and work through a US resident.

If someone has other solutions for out-of-the-US, non-US-tax-reporters to applying to US remote jobs that list "US based" as a requirement I would love to hear about it.

You don’t present as a freelancer, but as a remote employee to get access to these sorts of things, for the exact reasons you correctly stated

A good idea in most parts of the world is not to measure $$$ but to measure compensation in sq. ft. of real estate per year. At my lowest-paid job (professor at top-30 school), i was paid 107 sq ft of take-home pay per year. I quit that tenure-track job @2y and took another job that paid 1800 sq. ft. per year. I currently earn about 300 sq. ft per year.

I genuinely feel bad for talented people that get suckered into deals like this. Obviously some do if recruiters try and do this.

I think talented people will not take it unless they're between a rock and a hard place. Sadly what this does is it attracts only the most junior or unqualified hires who (are great if you got time/budget but if not) will need to be trained by the few seniors left holding the place together.

I'm not surprised Intel does this and the telecommunications side I have seen from them in Europe was rotten to the core. I have several anecdotes here just one: A friend got poached from Intel in a cushy job with great pay in a key role a lot of niche knowledge, they had to know how valuable he was, after the first week on the new job with Intel he got told that the department decided to reduce the headcount due to a restructuring and so he was the first to go.

If it sounds like "business as usual" let me add nobody else was fired, he had a 3 month long negotiation, 6 months notice period on the old job, 3 kids, and in his late 40ies in a specific market. What he was promised would have justified taking the risk. Later I heard they do this all the time from a guy who recruits for Intel. Also this was not in the enterprise market with lot of talent but telecommunications O&M (operations and maintenance plane). He eventually went to go beg to get his job back. He'll never have the same standing in the company tho.

It's not uncommon for those types of problems to be contract law violations. "Reliance" is a thing, random url: https://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=1778

I don't understand:

> A friend got poached from Intel in a cushy job

> after the first week on the new job with Intel ... he was the first to go.

He got poached from Intel or should it be by Intel? Since his new job apparently was at Intel

> Later I heard they do this all the time

Why do they do that? Sounds like a waste of time for the recruiters (and him but apparently they don't care about that)

thanks yes should be by Intel.

Yeah, don't understand the story. He got poached from intel, or by intel? Where was he let go from? You need to.. maybe edit the story a bit.

It was by Intel, see this reply:


Being slightly underpaid is a great lifehack, but only if your bosses know it. Less stress, more work/life balance. Let people work themselves to the bone for 30% more money. That isn't for me.

Money in the bank is a great lifehack. Money in the bank is the greatest stress reliever in our society. The ability to say "this ain't for me" and walk away free of consequences. And knowing that no matter what happens next your expenses are still covered is the best hack.

This. Calculate your pay per hour of actual work. Include the hassle and costs require to recharge. Maximize total pay or pay per hour. Rarely are they the same.


If nothing else, making 30% more and saving it would allow you to retire 30 percent earlier. Is half assed slacking for 10+ extra years really that good a proposition when instead you can actually crush it now and then be fully free?

Also, to be honest I've never seen the "he's underpaid so we expect less" dynamic in management. What I see much more often is "this guy is bad, not quite so bad that we can fire him but almost. We can't justify raising his comp so let's give him shit work that others would rather not do." Maybe your situation is as you say but seems odd.

You'd be right if we aged like Benjamin Button.

But you're glossing over the downsides of trading your youth away for a hopeful payoff at a later date. Not all of us like that bargain.

I make a fraction of what people in this thread are saying they make. But what price do you put on being 30 and single on a beach in Mexico, happy, with a low stress job? You could look at it as if I paid half my salary to buy back my time.

We all value things differently, but notice that it's your youngest self that's most eager to bargain your youth away.

This is accurate, only if you're say underpaid by 20-30%. In my experience, a lot of high stress jobs pay way more than that. Otherwise attrition is a problem. Golden handcuffs aint cheap.

Some people don't care so much about the money. I'm barely over the six figure mark in the bay area. I could probably make a lot more money somewhere else, but I wouldn't get to do anything nearly as interesting as my current work.

I don't think is about not caring about the money... it seems to me that the salary is just the manifestation of the value the company places in the individual, and thus a company that pays 1/3 of the industry average shows very little care for their engineers, at least in my book

The salary is the most tangible and measurable manifestation, but it's not necessarily complete. Companies can make efforts in other ways e.g. ensuring good work-life balance (which could entail hiring more people), providing allowances for mental health, parental care etc... . All these things can become relatively very valuable once the salary crosses a minimum threshold.

> the salary is just the manifestation of the value the company places in the individual

My experience confirms this. The least paid jobs I had were also the most stressful.

What if I told you that, more often than not, you could do your current work and get much more money? People, especially tech people, are quite awful at extracting their full value.

Fully agree. For some reason people assume that you get paid more in order to deal with less interesting work or a worse work environment.

This is completely false.

You get paid more when the company values you more.

The company values you more, when they make more from what you are able to contribute, on average.

Highly paid engineering work environments are strongly correlated with interesting work and with good working conditions.

> For some reason people assume that you get paid more in order to deal with less interesting work or a worse work environment.

> This is completely false.

I wouldn't say it's completely false. For example, I'm guessing many enterprise software developers make more than many CS professors. Said professors are obviously qualified to make CRUD apps but they would rather do research or teach curriculums based on their interests.

> The company values you more, when they make more from what you are able to contribute, on average.

Yes, this is true. But your conclusion does not follow from that:

> Highly paid engineering work environments are strongly correlated with interesting work and with good working conditions.

There is probably some correlation between interesting work for the engineer on the one hand and profitable work for the employer on the other, but it's not nearly as strong as you make it seem.

Game studios pay their developers poorly, precisely because there is a flood of people who find that type of work interesting. I'm doing a "boring" job and I get paid more than a game developer.

Thanks wikibob, somebody I know really needed to hear that.

But would you rather work 40 hours per week for €100k or 4 hours a week for €50k?

You would be wrong. The number of places you can work where your code literally goes to the moon is very, very finite.

I would say I'm in a somewhat similar boat where I believe the work and problems I get to work on are very unexplored and super interesting but the company and industry doesn't "value" software engineers at the moment. Tbh, in a capitalist society, I cannot accept that and am looking for a change. Give me cash or give me stocks in the company, neither and you just take me for a fool. I am sincerely curious what your thoughts are on this, why would you accept a massive paycut to work on something interesting for a company that makes $$ off your work?

Some things can not be easily purchased with money. Getting paid twice as much may let me retire faster. But what if I don't want to retire? What about people, who actually love their jobs?

Intel engineers design chips, used by billions of people. There is a certain value, placed on such jobs. And it appears, that Intel management is happy to exploit that value.

People agree, talented people do not.

Underpaid people aren’t talented? That’s harsh.

It happens temporarily all the time of course such that there are plenty of talented people underpaid at a given time but long term most will not be. I along with friends went through bouts of shitty jobs, but it is rare to stay that way. Hiring from the pool of low rate workers is not a suitable standard practice at a place that isn’t a shithole.. as we see here with Intel.

People get paid what they ask for. No one is underpaid or overpaid.

Simply ask for more in salary and benefits. When they ask why, state all the reasons why the increase is warranted. If they deny the request, look for another job that pays the higher amount.

This I can get behind (note this has nothing to do with talent).

You're assuming that markets are perfect.

The markets are never perfect. That's why you have to ask for what you want.

A lot of people do not understand their worth and let get hired/exploited for peanuts.

When I was hired for my absolute first job, over two decades ago, I was asked how much I want. I did not know how much I can ask so I asked some minimum that I thought would pay for my expenses. The guy who interviewed me, who was to be my manager, said he shouldn't be telling this but I can ask twice as much.

Then that underpaid employee gets easily poached for x3 their pay a year in, when they have all the valuable knowledge and work responsibilities.

Sounds like what happened at Intel, from the top comments.

Yes, your first job. Not your second. You need to be deeply unpleasant to work with for no one to tell you you've been exploited when you leave.

He probably told you that because that was the minimum salary range for that position.

Then, they will make the case there is a "talent shortage" and attempt to hire overseas workers at salaries that barely pay bay area living costs.

I do not live in CA and have never took any contract jobs from CA, its contract hourly rate is not competitive at all and to make it worse, its state income tax will take another cut(~13%), there is no way CA's contract rate can be competitive, CA is in decline in general as far as I can see.

$45/hr is about what I was paid as a grad-student intern at Apple ... 15 years ago.

Salaries on HN are the new penis sizes on Reddit.

Everyone is 15+ inches and making six figures minimum and if you're not, you're pathetic and are getting taken advantage of.

Well, if you live in SFBA the interns are making six figures (equivalent per hour). Everyone's still living in a studio apartment though.

Six figures, 10+ hours a day (including all meals at the FAANGPlex) but having to live in bunk beds if they want a rent under 4 digits.

Not a very healthy situation, even now with everybody WFH

Nobody is forcing you to eat at work, nor should you be working 10+ hours a day if you don't want to (it's an easy way to get overtime, though).

I know Apple pays for intern housing; I would think that most of the other large companies would too?

Well, if you subscribe to the idea that at least some of those jobs could be done remotely then it would not be that far from the truth.

I have an MSEE working as an engineer on a cutting edge physics project making the salaried equivalent of... $31/hr.

HN is great, but it really is not an accurate sample of real world wages.

I’m not an EE and I think that’s an underrepresented group on HN, but... you are surely underpaid

Oh I know. Paying off student loans or owning a house aren’t in the cards, but the work is stimulating and the colleagues are smart and open minded.

I have a salary that would work our to less than $45/hr, with extra hours dragging it down further.

Most people do - but don't hesitate to put more value in your labour and look for other career opportunities. The world is pretty unjust at a basic level and if you're waiting for someone to acknowledge your excellence and land a big payday in your lap you'll be waiting for a long time.

A big piece of career advice I have for any folks that feel like they're in dead-ends or are just getting started is that, in modern society, you should be constantly expending time and energy to ensure you're in the most personally rewarding position - the world is a cruel place where the socially awkward and introverted have a constant uphill battle to not be exploited.

Oh and we're all super lucky to be in tech because in a lot of other fields there is just no way to advance yourself.

> A big piece of career advice I have for any folks that feel like they're in dead-ends or are just getting started is that, in modern society, you should be constantly expending time and energy to ensure you're in the most personally rewarding position - the world is a cruel place where the socially awkward and introverted have a constant uphill battle to not be exploited.

This was both uplifting and an apt commentary on how to survive in the modern age.

Well said.

> Oh and we're all super lucky to be in tech because in a lot of other fields there is just no way to advance yourself.

I feel like this is a pretty cynical take. Really, what's happening is that more and more jobs are becoming tech jobs. It may not be as glamorous as going to stand-ups each morning, but there's plenty of opportunity out there and we're just in an awkward transition period where societies are trying to play catch-up with, historically-speaking, a lot of changes in a short amount of time.

Whether that transition ends with peace or chaos is going to depend on how easy the transition is made for everyone

> It may not be as glamorous as going to stand-ups each morning

I must have extremely different definition of glamorous to you.

Agreed- we don't even turn on the webcams for those

>Most people do - but don't hesitate to put more value in your labour and look for other career opportunities. The world is pretty unjust at a basic level and if you're waiting for someone to acknowledge your excellence and land a big payday in your lap you'll be waiting for a long time.

It is also economically inefficient. If you are worth $100k/y and you sell yourself for $50k/y then you are basically doing charity for your company. If you really cared about charity you would ask for the higher salary and then donate the money yourself. What really happens is that you are keeping an economically inefficient company alive. That's not just bad for you but also for the economy as a whole because your "talents" are being wasted.

>Oh and we're all super lucky to be in tech because in a lot of other fields there is just no way to advance yourself.

It's the opposite. Low skill jobs are drying up. Most of them are going overseas. Getting a high skilled job is not luck, developed countries are restructuring their economies to specialize in high skilled jobs.

If you make that while trying to live in SF/SV area, then it's probably hard to do. If you make that, and you live in nearly any where else, your money suddenly goes further. If you take it one step further, and make the same money but live in a state without state income taxes, your money goes even further. Keeping up with the Jones in the SF/SV area is quite expensive.

Just a bunch of sentences to say that $/hr isn't the end all, but a decent at-a-glance way of comparing.

Nah, you can live very comfortably in SFBA on that even now. You’re not going to own the big house in the suburbs or the penthouse apartment, but you’ll still be better off than most people, can have a nice car, go out when you like, have nice clothes and lots of books, etc.

On $45/hour? I can see not starving on that, but you're probably going to be sharing an apartment…

$45/hr full-time is $90k pre-tax, $65k after tax in CA. That’s $5400/month. If you have to pay for daycare or similar expenses, that’ll be a stretch, but you can definitely have your own pretty nice apartment and plenty left over for expenses and saving with that.

I mean that is a great salary all in all, be happy with what you have.

It's also about what a Mozilla intern would get paid ten years ago.

This is also around what an Apple intern would get today as an upperclassman in college. (Without including benefits, of course.)

Tell me if I'm calculating this incorrectly.

$45 * 8 (hours a day) * 22 (days a month) * 12 (months) = $95k

You were getting paid the equivalent of $95k/year as an intern??

Fun fact you can approximate hourly rate to yearly salary roughly just by multiplying by two. $45/hr roughly 90k ish

Silicon Valley salaries are something else. ARM in Cambridge paid their interns something like £20-22K around 5 years ago. No wonder almost none of them stayed on as graduates.

Interns don't stay for a whole year, but yeah, this is typical internship salary (it might have gone to 55+ now) at FAANG.

Yes, that’s correct. Of course, interns don’t generally work 40 hour weeks for a full year, so in practice my W2 income was more like $55k.

I was originally hired for the summer at $35/hr or so, and then got a raise at the end of the summer when they asked me to stay on part-time during the school year.

It's way less than I made working in the IT departments of medium-size non-tech companies.

You were just the "proof" they needed that there were no domestic engineers with the right skillset for the job they had so they could hire a H1B replacement for that salary.

There have been reasonable minimum salary requirements for H1Bs for a few years now: https://redbus2us.com/h1b-minimum-wage-or-lca-prevailing-wag...

$45/hr|$90K would be too low nowadays. GP's experience could have been more than a few years ago.

Yes, this is probably it, they might already have the H1B person lined up, but they've got to offer the job to citizens/permanent residents. They often do this in a way that guarantees that they will get no takers.

The immigrant will agree to a low salary because the alternative is getting deported.

Headhunters for contract work at one FAANG company offer me $50 an hour for gigs utilizing the same skill set I’ve billed them $500 an hour for in the past.

"I’ve billed them $500 an hour for in the past"


For unsteady contracted project work, this doesn't sound off the mark for high-value niche skillsets at a senior or principal level. I wouldn't expect FAANGs to pay it for steady work, though.

Well, Netflix might come close. I can count two principal-level architects pulling north of 700k/y, but I doubt they work just 40 hours a week.

I just have trouble wrapping my head around how someone can be that valuable. I'll never even hit $75/hr (excluding inflation).

Their labour can absolutely be that valuable due to how many customers you are effecting with a single hour of work - it's sort of the same principle as athletic stars - paying outrageous salaries to athletes is probably the least bad way to do things (it's certainly better than the companies just pocketing lots of cash).

That said, I think this is only achievable because of how relatively young and greenfield software is - the industry hasn't existed for more than a eighty years in any real sense (and arguably didn't really begin until things moved from academic to commercial in the seventies or so) and thus a lot of software can add massive value to society while doing relatively simple things. I think in a few hundred years all the low hanging fruit will be gone and software development will be extremely different from these wild-west days but right now yea - the value you can produce for a business can absolutely justify pretty ridiculous salaries.

I think the important counter point for humility here is that those folks aren't particularly special, maybe a 700k architect is a literal genius at the peak of their career, but there are other folks out there that are just as creative and making 80k. Maybe we just need to think of the strange wage imbalance in development as being as fickle and arbitrary as celebrity - could that actor at the local playhouse have been the next Jennifer Lawrence if only they'd gotten cast for the role? Quite possibly, but luck wasn't on their side and passed them over.

I'd say that people that command such high salaries are certainly worth it (in the cases I've seen at least) but they have also benefited from some fantastic luck in their career progression - they could've been someone else and be earning far less for the same set of skills.

It’s not about skills, it’s about the value those skills provide.

If you write a webapp to solve a $5000/day problem, that’s worth $X. If your company sells that to 10 companies, your work is worth 10X. But if it’s sold to 10000, wow.

Think of your work in terms of value provided to the buyer, not in terms of cost to yourself. Thus you unlock career potential

It is a little bit more complicated than that.

If the webapp can solve $5000/day problem but there is literally millions of people that can do this, you are certainly not getting a share of that. Somebody else is maybe going to be rewarded for spotting an opportunity but the most you get is a "market rate".

The only way you can get paid proportionally is if you are literally the only one that can solve the problem and you know it and they know you know it.

Yes but that’s for the company to argue. Why would you help them lower your compensation?

Your goal is to maximize the value delivered. Their goal is to minimize how much of the value you capture.

You’ll find balance somewhere in the middle.

And ultimately there’s only so much a company will pay if they can’t extract value out of your work. Regardless of how good you are.

I think this is where society comes into play - Ideally I'd like to see the company expend a large amount of that value into wages with only a proportion of that going to developers and the rest being eaten off as taxes that can be put toward social programs to help the less well off.

We are in agreement. But if companies pay just market salary with no regard to value created, then they are not expending a large amount of value on wages :)

I absolutely agree and that's where the price differential is coming in, but it causes some perverse effects to the wage market. Is the work of the person solving that 5k/day problem that's then sold to ten clients worth ten times as much as the work of the person who's work is only sold to one client?

I think it's important to recognize the semi-arbitrary source of where this value is coming from and understand that while employees impacting a lot of customers are indeed creating a lot of value the work they are doing isn't significantly different from the work made by folks with more modest salaries.

Basically, at the core, I think there's a significant ethical question here and I would highlight the relative infancy of the industry. It's likely that in a few hundred years all this incredible value creation will be highly commoditized and that innovative development will be relegated to academic pursuits that companies only adopt and bring to market after a lot of investigation and research.

Uh hrm - as another parallel you might compare this to speed running. Right now we can do relatively simple things to dramatically create value (time saved off the run) but as time goes on and the run gets more "perfected" then the ability to shave time off the run (or create value for the business) will require a lot more investment of effort. I'm not certain if this will happen since everything in how development works points to this being a really hard state of the industry to accomplish - but looking at economic trends it feels inevitable that eventually it will be more profitable to, for instance, produce a cheaper better whatsapp then being the first market entrent into the coveted Deciduous Tree Vlog Platform market.

Question then becomes: can YOU sell that work to 10,000? and how many can make what is sold?

I worked at a startup, became amazed at the sales crew’s ability to find buyers. I could make the app (and Co. could find few willing & capable to), but in no way could find anyone to fork over that much for it.

Yes. Point is the company with a good sales force gets more value out of your work and can pay you more. Not 1000 times more, but 5x sounds possible.

Google for example makes about 7-figures per employee. That’s a loooot of room to negotiate.

The problem I have with that is - where is the team? It probably not a single person writing that app. It's likely a whole team of people.

In non-tech companies, IT is seen as a cost. Half the time your contribution is just saving the company from hiring x number of people to do the work manually.

You can start by taking value provided and dividing by number of people involved. I can almost promise the number you get is higher than people’s existing salary. Even after accounting for overhead.

That's logical for any profitable company. The question is whether or not the amount is reasonable.

It's not unheard of to give people who were party to the creation of some critical thing the company does pay that simply can't be matched elsewhere in order to make them stick around. Usually you pair it with a fancy title like "global architect" or some other mumbo jumbo like that. Pretty much any time you hear about someone making 500k+ without being personally responsible for the success or failure of a heck of a lot of stuff it's a role like that.

Think of it as a $200k salary with $500k of "just to ensure you won't find a better offer elsewhere" on top.

These aren't the kind of roles you can work your way into. You have to be in the right place at the right time and be there for a long time.

That's not true at all. Tons of people in Bay Area/NYC/Seattle are making $500k+ just for being relatively good at their jobs at a company that values software engineers. That's a typical Staff+ comp at a FAANG or similar company. You don't have to be some mythical engineering genius or be in the right place at the right time (to make it to $1MM+ probably does though).

> These aren't the kind of roles you can work your way into. You have to be in the right place at the right time and be there for a long time

Sorry for grammar. On mobile but wanted to quickly contribute.

I was incredibly lucky in my last role. Something I don't think I'll ever be able to match again.

When I joined the company as a sysadmin there were 30 staff, and they really liked the work I did and eventually they put me on this innovation incentive scheme that basically said "If you keep delivering innovative solutions and driving the technology direction in the way that you are, we will pay you a bonus of 1.5% of the profit made from e-commerce sales every 4"

At the time sales profit from e-commerce channels was about 250k for each period, so a very nice $3500~ bonus every 4 months.

When I left the company ~15 years later:

- 5000+ staff

- Had moved into a role managing a large team of sysadmins and was responsible for the technical innovation strategy/direction of the business overall.

- Same CEO and and my original "IT manager" was now the CTO who I still reported into.

- They kept me on the same bonus scheme for my whole time at the company.

- By the time I left online sales profit for each 4 month period was $50,000,000.

Right place, right time, right people.


I gave up a lot for that job and worked damn hard though. I let it consume me and ended up very unhealthy.

A solution expert usually brings a baggage of knowledge of previously working solutions in the problem space, knowledge that has been acquired over many months of hard work

Short gigs where you being in a solution, point a team/company on the right direction and then jump off compensate for the accrued knowledge transfer more than for the hour worked

Think of it like a top end athlete, they aren't paid for the few hours of play, but for the years of training that keep them competitive

Here in Boulder $100/hr is the cheapest you can find for a freelance developer worth their salt.

As open-source developer, I make $0/hr :/

And I was considering myself unlucky with $1/week I make.

Aka "hobby".

I'm just worthless

You are not. You're just poorly compensated and that doesn't say a damn about your personal worth.

Eh, everything in life is about money, so I think it does.

Well, honestly, if that's your opinion then change your circumstances - work on your resume and get a job with higher compensation, they certainly exist and the requirements for them and expectations on them are far lower than you think... And, most importantly, the price for failure is negligible. If you're a wiz with databases in your current position and are considering moving to a fancy silicon valley job with high compensation the worst that can happen is you'll fail your probationary period and still make a fair amount of money.

There really aren't many FileNet or Neoxam options out there. My wife refuses to relocate, so I'm stuck where I am.

Oh but right now we've got a pandemic on - assuming everybody is onboard with the risk of changing jobs a lot of folks are hiring remote employees.

I still don't see many. There's a contract Filenet job with a contract rate of $60/hr. I don't think it's worth it to trade a fulltime job for that. Not to mention, I'm starting to work with AWS now (sort of, they switch me all the time) so that would be the better longterm option.

I find that to be highly unlikely seeing that you’ve been a part of the HN community for under 2 years and have nearly the same karma as me after 7. You clearly have something interesting to say! My email is in my profile. Hit me up to chat if you’d like :). Maybe I can help you somehow.

That's very kind of you.

I'm nowhere near $75/h. A couple of years ago I built a solution for the company I work for that heavily contributed getting hundreds of thousands in revenue( and continues to do so). All it took was a few weeks. Didn't even get a bonus or something and this is a tiny company. Right work can be worth millions,so even $2000/h may not look high enough.

Yeah, but like your example, the company keeps the money.

For 1099 contract work, $200/Hour is the sweet spot for in demand fields, javascript, React, FE, etc.

What’s 1099?

New grads in SFBA make well north of $75/hr. Sometimes it's all about geo.

Your comparing apples and oranges - when you take a salary you take a lower hourly wage to eliminate volume risk, works in the spot market get compensated for taking the volume risk

When I was an analyst we'd get paid $10K+ per day for speaking/consulting (not including travel time) and the one expert witness job I did was about $500/hour. But for the bulk of the 200ish workdays a year, we were earning much less or nothing at all.

$500/h for a one day/week contract compares to stuff like $80/h for a 6 month contract.

There are vanishingly few people getting $500/h and getting 40 hours worth of contract a week, 50 weeks a year. I don't think I've ever heard of one.

I know someone who (CTO) Billed several k for an hours consultation on 4G

$500/hr is usually reserved for work done for lawyers ;)

Yeah to be fair I have a lot of specialized knowledge and experience around the high paying work. But under the hood the approach, methods, tools, and way of thinking are fundamentally identical. I get hired for the high paying stuff in part due to the domain expertise, but really I command that price because I’m $450 an hour better at the $50 an hour work than most other people with the domain expertise. Or maybe I just want to believe that.

Old southern joke:

An oil man had a pump on the fritz and needed someone to fix it, fast. He sought the advice of the best expert he could find, and luckily when the expert listened to the problem he said, "let me spend a day with it and see what I can do."

The old expert pulls up in an empty pickup with only a hammer and nail in hand, calmly walks over to the pump, places the nail on the side, and taps it. Then, the expert dusts himself off and hands the oil man a slip of paper that reads,

"Total $1,000. Nail $1. Where to place the nail $999"

I knew I had heard another version of this story, but it was about Charles Proteus Steinmetz. Found it on the smithsonian website.

Ford, whose electrical engineers couldn’t solve some problems they were having with a gigantic generator, called Steinmetz in to the plant. Upon arriving, Steinmetz rejected all assistance and asked only for a notebook, pencil and cot. According to Scott, Steinmetz listened to the generator and scribbled computations on the notepad for two straight days and nights. On the second night, he asked for a ladder, climbed up the generator and made a chalk mark on its side. Then he told Ford’s skeptical engineers to remove a plate at the mark and replace sixteen windings from the field coil. They did, and the generator performed to perfection.

Henry Ford was thrilled until he got an invoice from General Electric in the amount of $10,000. Ford acknowledged Steinmetz’s success but balked at the figure. He asked for an itemized bill.

Steinmetz, Scott wrote, responded personally to Ford’s request with the following:

Making chalk mark on generator $1. Knowing where to make mark $9,999.

Ford paid the bill.

They were paying Eclipse and Java UI contractors a little less than that about 7-8 years ago. Maybe the MBAs have them all in the same bucket

Wow. I make less than $45/hr (salary with extra hours dragging it down further, but with benefits).

Edit for background: I have 9 years experience, an MSIS working at a financial company.

Financial companies, pharmaceutical companies, automotive companies, aircraft (component or manufacturing) companies. They all fail to understand the criticality of software and IT to their long term objectives, and greatly undervalue people in those fields.

A recurring issue I've found is, "Jack the EE picked up programming in a week, why are you worth as much or more than him when you aren't even a 'real' engineer?" Substitute another field for EE based on industry. Software is simultaneously too easy for them to take seriously, and too hard for them to fathom its depths.

I disagree - non-software companies feel entitled to price employees based in relation to their peers rather than in relation to the value they add to the business (and possibly misuse their tech labour because they never hired an architect that could actually steer it to be as valuable as it could be) but Jack the EE might be a perfectly servicable developer. There's a lot of theory we learn in school that Jack would need to pick up himself but don't assume you're imbued with a special skill that sets you apart from the rest of the employees.

The company should definitely be paying more out of their pocket to employ good tech talent, but I'm not so certain whether it's good for society for all that created value to be given to the developer who happened to create it. I think there is a big value gap in how much developers can produce with relatively little labour compared to, say, a car mechanic - but I think that it might be best for everyone if a really big proportion of that value gap was sliced up and distributed more evenly across society in the form of social programs to benefit us all.

I don't see how you're disagreeing with me. I didn't say that Jack the EE couldn't be a perfectly serviceable developer. I've worked with a number who are (and a few who excelled). My point is that the management teams (with no one with software experience) perceive one specific person's relative ease at picking up programming as the general case for programming. This causes them to underestimate what it takes to actually build up the software portion of their business. This happens especially for non-software companies in the same way that software companies might underestimate the difficulty of other fields (how many startups have we seen posted here on HN that are composed of primarily programmers and think they'll revolutionize the fashion industry, the car audio industry, or the banking industry?).

And since management teams in large companies tend to grow out of whichever departments are the primary domains, if software is always seen as tertiary then managers with software background are consistently absent or too few to clear up this confusion.

If Jack can teach himself how to program competently, you’ve just made a great argument for him to stop fucking around being an EE and switch to a software job where he can make a ton more money.

Just because an arbitrary person can learn how to do X, it doesn’t change the fact that there is a huge shortage of people who can competently X. The price paid for software development is a product of supply and demand, not how “special” software developers are.

They value people based on 'visibility' at my place. Unfortunately, some people who get that visibility are just putting out their own fires. I had a tech lead that was not very good in my opinion, but the business and management loved him.

Sometimes I think about becoming a mechanic. They make good money.

Having worked at a car dealership- don't work at one of those, at the very least. Like many established industries, being a car mechanic doesn't have too many ways up from there- you can get all the certs you want, but you'll never be management- and compensation increases are based more on tenure than anything else. If you can teach yourself and then get into a performance garage or something like that, go for it! You'll likely wind up better off buying a project car to learn on or going to a technical school in off time than going full-tilt into mechanicary- and you'll have a chance to see if it's right for you before you switch. Also, if you like that stuff, and want to create things, consider mechanical engineering of some flavor.

I had a 25-30 year old Caprice and then tracked a new Camaro. I have a bit of mechanical experience with all the work that comes with those. Of course electric vehicles will be the next big thing.

I definitely would not work at a dealer or chain. Being part of a small company or your own would be great. Not moving up wouldn't be a big deal in that kind of role.

On a side note, I'm confused why everyone is obsessed with moving up. Can't people just be happy where they are? I really don't see much difference in my company between the various levels, nor is it a very big promotion at 7%.

Electrical engineering is a nightmare compared to software engineering. It also involves a lot of programming. It's just that hardware businesses don't give a damn about the software.

I'm in the same boat. The way some people here talk about making $200/hour makes me think how out of touch some HN'ers are with the average worker.

$200/hour rate is median for developers with in demand skills. Many companies will gladly pay this and higher rates to fill positions with qualified candidates.

Software engineering and development field is extremely difficult. There are many opportunities in this field, because there are so few candidates that can do the work. HN is self selected group of people with experience in the field. But they are actually very few in number.

The average worker does not have in demand skills in tech sector.

I think this is still an oversimplification of what's actually going on.

Its not so much that the skills themselves are in demand, its the enormous experience that someone who can command that kind of fee has. The skill set you're talking about can be learned probably in a year or two of 8-5, M-F self-guided learning from Udemy / Coursera / YouTube, but its the experience of using those skills to build something of value that is driving that hourly rate, not so much the skills themselves.

If you feel I'm missing something here, please go into more depth, because I find this all quite fascinating. :)

I think the part that you’re missing is that understanding programming language syntax and some algos/datastructures is just a tiny piece of what makes software engineering. Having those skills + the ability to convert them into useful software is what is rare/difficult.

Yeah, that's part of it that I was having trouble putting into words.

US salaries/rates are nuts.

$200/hr in the UK would put you in the top 1% of earners.

A 200USD/hr person would make before lunch, what I get paid in a month. This thread makes me want to kill myself.

People love bragging. Don't take it too seriously. Yes there are a bunch of these in certain places but certainly not everywhere.

The remote option has always been available for in demand tech people. Now it's available for most people in the tech field. So it's available "everywhere" people can do the work.

You're out of touch because this doesn't apply to the entirety of the US.

It's interesting that people think $200/hour rate, for in demand software engineer/developer, is out of touch.

That roughly equates to $400,000 a year. Which may seem like a lot, until people actually see what the market rates are in west coast tech hubs.


Also, Mark Zuckerberg is worth $100 Billion, for creating basically a CRUD app in php.

You can't really fairly compare 1099 to W2 hours without subtracting for holidays, vacation, self-employment taxes, benefits, capacity/downtime, etc. The math might easily work out to a 30%-40% difference.

That may be median for your area and you may be happy with it.

In west coast tech hubs, that's about half of median salary alone. If you factor in bonus, stock options, etc. That's about 1/3 or 1/4 of total comp.


I hate my job for reasons other than the pay. I just have to except that I'm worthless.

Noooooooo! You may be undervalued, or in the wrong field. Einstein was not an accomplished baker- you might just not have found something you feel you fit into. It might also be impostor syndrome- please don't devalue yourself because you don't like your job or what you do there. Your job doesn't define you.

It might not define me, but it greatly defines the options of my life (time, money, etc).

It means your job is worthless and by extent your company as well. People aren't jobs. Get a different one.

If that's as a developer in a US city that's pretty underpaid

Note he's salaried, that's not contract rates. Salaried employees also get health, 401k, ESPP, and other benefits that contract workers have to cover themselves - not to mention self employment taxes etc.

He may still be underpaid, but it's not apples/apples.

It's in the suburbs of an east coast city. I don't really see higher paying intermediate jobs (switched stacks a few times).

Sometimes recruiters get things wrong, mix things up. That might have been for a different position that got redefined without commensurate pay adjustment.

That said, 45 is really low for any position in an engineering company, unless it’s ancillary support services that get farmed out. Something like ‘Lab Admin’ type of thing.

This happened more than once over the last few years. If it was a mistake I could see it happening once. But not three times.

I don't think it is. I got approached by consulting companies and recruiters to work on embedded development for Intel, including on-site work in Santa Clara, CA and travel to Asia. The hourly rate was 60 and days in Asia were 250 each plus accommodations. I've never done a trip to Asia were I was working less than 10 hours per day.

Amazon software development interns (undergrad) in SF get $65/hr + a housing stipend. 60/hr seems far too low

That's what I make at my full time job in NJ with 7 years of experience. Damn.

You have to ask yourself if the raise is worth the COLA as well as quality of life in the Bay Area which include housing stock quality per dollar as well as nuisance crimes you have to deal with (garage, car break ins and dealing people suffering metal health issues in the street, etc.)

It works out for some people but it will not work out for everyone.

Although right now the math is rather different - you can easily remain living in NJ with all your nice local things while switching employers to someone in CA - most people are hiring fully remote people though you may be required to work west coast hours.

And, honestly, I think that after the pandemic companies are going to have a lot of trouble trying to pull employees back into in-office full time work.

Yeah it's nothing. I'm at staff level, 15 years experience, and owned whole boards and projects from product requirements to final assembly and testing for at least five years. I don't know how they get people for that money unless it's some kind of shady situation where they are not actually living in the bay area.

I have 9 years experience, an MSIS, and make a salary that works out to less than $45/hr, but of course there are benefits.

That's cheap 20 years ago I looked at a secondment in Malaysia and that was full ride tax free expat - house and servants! provided.

A quick search shows average US software engineer's salary is $92,046 / yr. Divide that by 251 working days and 8 hours to arrive at $45/h.

I am guessing it is very location specific.

I don't think they got it wrong. A recruiter contacted me for a contractor position in Amazon. It involved Perl coding (I'm guessing some legacy SW they have). They said the max they can pay is $50/hr.

A friend of mine was a professor at a US university in ML and came home to NED to work in medical ML and makes about that. I was amazed he wasn't at FAANG and his simple response was "My wife and I agreed that we would raise our children near their grandparents." There's perhaps more diversity in preferences than we can imagine.

What is NED?

Nederlandse = The Netherlands

Ah, that's what I thought. There are FAANG offices in neighboring countries of course.


That kind of positions are usually filled by H1 B contractors - primarily from smaller consulting companies. Usually Intel and other companies pay ~100-125 per hour but then the middlemen keep the rest.

Wow, $45/hr is just laughtable. I know many freelance web developers from ex-USSR countries who charge more and their effective tax rate is below 10%.

Or did you mean this is $45/hr post-tax rate?

Ugh, I make less.

Ditto. This whole thread makes me feel out of touch.

$45 is well beyond a median ex-USSR freelancer, although there have to be outliers.

$50/hr for Ukrainian/Russian dev on upwork is reasonable. Ofc they make less since upwork takes a cut.


I worked as a contract employee in Santa Clara about 20 years ago. What do I remember? The corporate infighting and the corporate paranoia (examining the contents of your briefcase and backpacks) and the IT department sniffing your internet use.

You won't be able to get someone to fix your car for $45/hr.

Mechanics work on your car for a few hours and the job is done forever.

Haaaaa story time.

Had a flat. Not a big deal; got the spare on, schedule some time at the mechanics to get a new tire. Tire gets put on, everything is great, time passes.

Later, come back for a regularly scheduled tire rotation. "We can't get the lug nuts off. They've been over tightened." the mechanic says. "Well, how do you suppose that happened?" I ask. Of course, it goes a. completely over that their head, (they were the last ones to touch the lug nuts) and of course, b., it's my wallet that pays for their error.

They were not the mechanic for a while after that. Aside from that gaffe they did good work, and everybody else I tried for a while was all around worse. Eventually returned to them, and that was really the only problem I ever had…

...unless it's a GM

If you'd be working for a contract firm and not directly for intel, they often take a huge what-the-market-will-bear percentage. Right now there's a lot of uncertainty in the job market.

Having contracted a lot in the past, the fact that Intel is hiring contractors signals a hiring crisis.

Either nobody wants to work there, or work is ramping up. But a company full of contractors might not be too healthy.

Yikes. As part of my company's (F500) DS group, I'm at < $40/hour. Granted, I'm essentially doing software dev, which is a little out of my wheelhouse, and I was just a technical BSA before this, but still... To be fair, I also have a lot of latitude and was able to work remote prior to covid. Once the vaccines are rolled out and I can find someone for some of my caretaking role, looking elsewhere is a priority.

I’d laugh at triple that. This is a strong indicator Intel will not be turning things around.

Christ I get more than that as a front end dev in Australia

>Where I worked in R&D the doors were constantly revolving and many people admitted they wait to register enough of prestigious time at Intel on their CV to get hired at a much better rate for another company.

>Rehiring retired people to me signals the new CEO has no trust in people that are already there.

And why should he, given the conditions you just outlined? I certainly wouldn’t. They’ve demonstrated they can’t advance either the process tech or the chip architecture in any meaningful way.

And I don’t even fault the engineers, but rather a finance-oriented CEO who managed for the bottom line, to goose stock prices and executive comp, while cannibalizing the engineering corps of the high-output talent and experienced technical leadership and mentoring necessary to advance one of the most complex, difficult technologies.

One possibility here is that Gelsinger is reversing that, rebuilding the original proven team from the top down, starting with the people who both know how that works, and have the connections to and respect from additional top technical talent to bring them on as well.

If Gelsinger also restructures compensation for these folks to ensure they’re appropriately compensated (way above “market rate”) then that’s confirmation that this isn’t panic but the right strategy of rebuilding Intel’s talent base.

And that report you linked was discussed yesterday, unclear how reliable it is:


I left NCSA (University of Illinois) to join the dot-com boom like everyone else. Curious thing about their pay scale: I made 15% more on day one than any of my friends who had been working 18 months at the same place, which was a giant relief because I did not have the spoons to work as much as they did and still keep up with classes. I got more per hour and working a full 40 hours a week was just assumed, instead of something I had to fight for.

The reason I made more money than them was Marc Andreesen. Someone got wind of how much they had been compensating him not to leave and they put the kibosh on it, but they were smart about it. They sugar coated the change by compressing the pay scale toward the middle, instead of squashing it down. If you weren't Marc Andreesen (and he'd been gone for over a year and the people he had poached gone for ~8 months at this point), then your pay didn't change. If you were new, like me, you were better off with the change.

You can keep top end people by giving them autonomy instead of more money, but I don't know if, in the long term, that's in Intel's best interests either. People generally trust that my heart is in the right place, but I'm human. Some of my decisions are wrong, and some are just so abstruse that they appear wrong, so I get push-back on both. I've worked at places that are 'top-heavy', where enough people have been Peter Principal-ed into MAX_RANK and there's no room in the org chart to dilute them with more promising people. In fact I work at one of these now. To a first order approximation, I'm just collecting the pay while I convince myself what I want to do next, which is proving to be more difficult than it ever has before, so I'm just here.

I was at Intel. Everyone I know who was good was systematically Assassinated or otherwise undermined by the career mediocre. The spectacularly good moved on to Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook etc.

At this point, suspect it’s nothing but dregs. Would not hire any of the people I left behind who are still there. Period.

"Rehiring retired people to me signals the new CEO has no trust in people that already are there. And that is usually bad news."

That's right. Any time an organization goes with "let's bring back the band," I become a little more skeptical than before. Not just because of what it implies on the quality of the bench, but I'm also wary of this halo effect of the good old days masking what's really needed today instead of living in yesteryear.

Gelsinger seems like a pretty good pick for Intel given how disastrous their last CEO search went, but in the earnings call today, there was a lot of invoking the Old Gods and Intel history. I get why they're doing it, but it's a different competitive landscape and Intel today.

Perhaps the people that are already there are (part of) the reason Intel is where it is. I was at Intel many years ago, quit mainly because the work got boring, the pay stagnant, and competitors offered me more. I was pleasantly surprise to land at a place where internal politics was lower, work more fun, and pay better. I have switched since to yet another great place to work. I will probably never go back to Intel again.

> Intel engineers are paid supposedly similar rates at similar levels and similar locations.

Again with this location based compensation trend. Maybe it works for flipping burgers but it seriously break down when you are a global player hiring from a pool of global talent.

You can play CoL games and count beans as much as you want, but the engineering talent Intel is after are also pursued by companies like Apple that are wat above market rate.

I've been told by CPU engineers at Apple that they're not paid very well, especially compared to software, but that competitors just pay slightly less.

I have a friend at Intel who was offered a job at Apple. He's a manufacturing guy (not circuits/CPU, but still HW). He lives in Portland. They wanted him to move to Cupertino, and offered him 15% more than what he currently makes. Taking COL into account that's a demotion.

So I can believe Apple doesn't pay non-SW folks that much.

It's a problem of overproduction of electrical engineers by academia. I have met graduates of top-30 EE schools who work at quickie marts in North America. I'm not joking about this I was a professor at that top-30 department when I met this graduate.

I was told a lot of EE majors nowadays move to software as soon as they graduate.

> I don't see these moves as encouraging, more like signs of complete and utter panic.

I read the GP more in the lines of since everything is on fire and most of the house has already turned into coal, they demonstrating some panic is a much better behavior than the previous indifference about the fire, and a signal that they may decide to do something about it. Thus, expectations on Intel improved.

Somehow the salaries for PhDs in electrical engineering capable of making chips from scratch became normalized with software developers churning out CRUD apps.

That's because CRUD people can do work that is far more leveraged than a hardware engineer, from the business' perspective. So the CRUD people produce more economic value.

One dev can spend 2 weeks automating some process or building a prototype web app that goes on to generate tens of millions for the company with no overhead.

Your hypothetical EE can spend 2 years designing a chip. The chip will then require 100s of millions of dollars to be spent on testing, manufacturing, and sales in order to be economically useful to the company (note that none of those functions involve the EE who designed the chip).

Sad? I dunno, maybe. True, yep. Nonsensical? Definitely not, there's clear logic to why certain kinds of work pay what they do.

But its a question not of how much value the employee generates, but how rare is that employees work that they deserve to be compensated highly. i.e, could you get someone of the same ability for less.

Consider the reality shows The Voice, America's Got Talent, game shows etc., that generate millions of dollars of revenue for the studios. But the people who are performing the acts, aren't compensated highly (unless they "win").

Frankly I think that many of these highly paid SWEs are really not worth what they are paid, and that many people could be doing their jobs.

I think this is part of the reason of my struggles in the job market since being laid off in June. There has become an obsession that if you're not in the "top 1% of SDEs", you are in essence, worthless and shouldn't be hired.

SWE often make more

> I left Intel years ago to get almost 3x the salary as a software developer at... a bank.

That is... downright absurd. God, it's enough to make one wonder where we'd all be if Intel weren't asleep at the wheel.

I recall hearing from friends that Intel paid more for higher levels of education; having a PhD was more conducive to a high salary than years of experience. Do you know if that was true?

It is likely your friend was paid better because they were assigned higher grade. Just for being PhD I think you are automatically bumped to something like senior engineer or higher.

Intel has grading system which you can try to google. You are paid according to your grade (+ benefits based on performance, etc.) Also, you are evaluated against your grade and you can gain or loose a grade based on performance (but more likely than loosing a grade is that you will be let go).

I have been given a grade that was over my head at the time and would require me to technically advise and coordinate multiple projects, have outside presence (ie present at tech conferences, take part in opensource projects, etc.) and basically work at a level that I have not been ready for. And yet I was not able to make ends meet.

I guess when I was hired I got absolutely excited about what I am going to work on and plans for bright future, that I have completely ignored the possibility that I may be over my head and that I may not be able to advance so quickly.

I've known people from towns with one or even two big industries, grew up in several, and the town always gets weird after a while. One in particular I'm thinking of that was almost healthy had a state and an art university pulling in money, and people who lived in the school districts but commuted to heavy industry in an exurb of the next big town. Someone tried building a factory on the edge of town to poach those people but it didn't stick. But that one company still overshadowed everything.

Your one company gentrifies the hell out of some things, not everything, and ultimately all fates are tied to their fortunes. They do a layoff, hiring freeze or even a salary squeeze and eight months later a few restaurants and one of your favorite stores shut down. You find out they've been late on payments to people and vendors for the past 6 months.

I recall the first time I heard someone interviewing at Intel and I asked why they were, 'in the middle of nowhere in Oregon' and nobody had a good answer to that.

What I've learned about manufacturing since then makes me think, "lax environmental rules and watchdogs".

Intel's Hillsboro campus is located "in the middle of nowhere in Oregon" in almost exactly the same sense that Microsoft's Redmond campus sits "in the middle of nowhere in Washington"; each one is located at the edge of a suburb of the largest city in the state, right next to a highway which leads straight downtown, less than fifteen miles away.

Intel in Oregon is probably like an hour from downtown Portland, and there are a ton of apartment complexes about halfway between the two (and there's nice public transit to Portland, so you don't have to deal with the drivers). Nike also has a big building nearby.

Also, I imagine Intel would gain very little from being located in, for example, the Bay Area or NYC. It isn't like they are some little startup that needs to go out to bars to find new developers or whatever.

Intel employs 5,900 people in Santa Clara county and that is their corporate headquarters so obviously they think they gain something from a large Bay Area footprint. The idea that Bay Area hiring is primarily "little startups that need to go out to bars" is also very odd.

Intel's footprint in Santa Clara is comparatively small. They have 21K in the Portland metro area, and 12K in the Phoenix region. They have about 15K in California, split between Folsom and Santa Clara.

Tektronix was there and Oregon State was a source of cheap engineers.

Probably you were hired at grade 9 or 10?

They're a sign that things are bad, for sure, but I think they are signs that Intel and the CEO know that and are taking it seriously. By themselves these moves will not save the company, but if they do have a decent chance of healing some of the internal damage. Yes they're bandages and ointment moves, they're not going to win any fights, but when your broken down and bleeding sometimes what you need right now is bandages and ointment.

This is an excellent counter perspective.

The best way to get a raise or a promotion is to find a new job at another company. Look for a company that actually values the tech stack skillset and are willing to pay actual competitive salary.

It is much easier now with remote work being prevalent.

Reading all comments grilling MBAs in HN is one of my guilty pleasures. I think I need to collect them all and put them in one place.

I worked at a startup that was acquired by an unsexy behemoth. It was not covered in TechCrunch. We had a sales guy who easily cleared over $1MM in salary and bonuses, several times the CEO and founders, because he went above and beyond, closing $15MM of new business a year.

When the MBA consultants and salespeople from the acquirer found out, they couldn’t believe he made that much — all while they personally managed $2MM-$3MM books of business.

What do you think happened? He was slowly stripped of responsibilities and eventually forced out, for the crime of standing out as an exceptional performer.

Stories like this make The Organization Man by W. H. Whyte[0] seem prescient. And never forget Pournelle's iron law:

>Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":

>First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

>Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

>The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

[0] https://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/13785.html

[1] https://www.jerrypournelle.com/reports/jerryp/iron.html

You sound like someone who has read Systemantics/The Systems Bible by John Gall? If not, you are likely to enjoy it.

For anyone else reading, I enjoyed it tremendously and highly recommend it. It's a very fun book to read.

I know how that goes I guess. Slowly "rules" and "procedures" from the behemoth come into play. Before he knows it, his successful methods are "against the rules", and doors slowly close.

I love that dynamic /s

To play devil's advocate here: are any of those rules and procedures in place to prevent sales tactics that, while they might be successful, are also predatory?

We can write whatever story we want in between the details we were told... Maybe the salesman was secretly an FSB agent. Maybe he was an alien. Maybe he was Superman's alter-ego.

It's not really conducive to communication to fill in the blanks like that, even though any person in someone else's work story could be one of Them walking among us... ;)

I don’t think it’s really relevant to the story, he was ethical but did schmooze prospects at dinners. Which is standard operating procedure for multi-million dollar database sales. The acquirer did the same.

He was incentivized to hustle harder, until incentives were stripped, out of spite.

No aliens required, just sales tactics that seem to be endemic in this industry.

Just about every week I comb through my inbox unsubscribing from all the companies' mailing lists that I most certainly did not subscribe to.

Sending those mails to the spam folder to reduce their reputation is a hobby of mine.

Or maybe he employed more run-of-the-mill unsavoury techniques like low-level bribery (gifts, expensive wine-and-dine), plenty of shmoozing and the like. These techniques are not exactly useless in getting new business; however, most modern workplace rulebooks will consider them illegal/unethical.

You are joking right? It in the rulebook of most sales folks... everywhere. Companies have special budgets for this.

I don't mean some trading-only companies like Cargill who have extra prostitues budgets (at least 5 years ago that was true, and with expensive alcohol parties was the only way to do any business in places like Russia or most 3rd world countries). I mean any kind of bigger corporation. Banks have it. Any kind of finance business does. You won't get far without it.

There are obviously rules, but often they go the other way - employees shouldn't accept bribes in forms of these gifts. But getting clients, that's a free for all, the winner takes all (and biggest bonus).

Hmm my company's anti-corruption training material states very explicitly that the only gifts allowed are very minor ones (probably things like company-branded T-shirts or something) and dinners need to be on a modest budget, definitely no paid vacations and the like. Of course, this is just training material which I'm sure they make mandatory primarily to avoid liability, and I'm pretty far removed from the actual sales people in the company. It's entirely possible the training is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules, to paraphrase Hector Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean.

how are gifts corruption? It's a business and if you need to spend tons of money to close a high value deal, then that is what is required.

> expensive wine-and-dine

Just want to call out that the multi-million dollar salespeople I know wine and dine their spouses and friends far more lavishly than their clients. The people being sold to, similarly, aren’t alien to fine dining. For two people who enjoy that (versus a baseball game), it can be a genuine way to bond far from bribery. Gifts, on the other hand, yes.

Not sure where you work, but they definitely don't. It's all part of the game. Just make the sale, that's what matters.

"I have a master's degree and I went to <insert supposedly prestigious school here>, therefore no one's supposed to make more money than me!"

We need to get people out of this kind of thinking, and the sooner the better.

Aha, good luck with that. Entire human history is full of such social differentiation, where a particular group, caste, nation, etc. think that they are better and deserve more than the others.

MBAs, in my experience, is the worst example of it. They treat themselves as some higher order creatures, without actual skills or understanding of things.

$NOT_CODE is cheap, show me the code.

"Calling me a moron is one thing, but accusing me of having an MBA is really too much."

-pg, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10670

Damn, that whole comment section is an amazing time capsule of sentiment regarding Microsoft and other tech companies! Well worth a read.

This comment is amazing...

"Microsoft recently came to my graduate school to recruit for user experience design and user experience research positions. 10 folks out of my program (about 25% of us) scored and interview. Every single one of us had no intention of working for Microsoft and joked about it intensely. Microsoft had be relegated to the realm of other boring places to do our type of work but that you interview at for practice (and, you know, just in case that job at google doesn't pan out).

In my interview, the topic of digg.com came up and neither interviewer had heard of them. I said they were like a type of slahsdot, or maybe magnolia. Never heard of those either I quipped "oh, maybe you're not involve much in the web / web development world".

"Actually, I'm one of the project managers for Internet Explorer."

The interview went downhill, from Microsoft, from that point forward. My heart wasn't even in it "just in case" anymore."

Hard to believe Microsoft was so utterly reviled by competent people in 2007. Nowadays I look at some of the things they're doing (mostly Surface line) and I would love to be involved with that. I feel like, even though they're not always hitting the bullseye, Microsoft is really aiming for the target with Surface devices. I know the Surface Duo got a lot of hate, and I really wanted to get one, but I feel like it just isn't "there" yet. Microsoft has been on that sort of track record for the past 5 years or so... the first version of a new product is a little questionable, the second is decent enough, but the third iteration, they're really nailing it.

My Surface Book 3 is the best laptop I have ever owned, and I've had many.

> Hard to believe Microsoft was so utterly reviled by competent people in 2007.

As someone who was there, I have no problem believing it.

If you were doing _anything_ that touched anything unixy in the 90s until the mid aughts MS wasn't just "uncool", they were actively "the enemy" directly competing against everything you did. After a while that adversarial relationship turned into joking with your peers about every mis-step they made. It didn't help that they seemed to make a lot of mis-steps and put a lot of effort into things that turned into dead ends.

They had to put a _lot_ of work into re-establishing their reputation this past decade.

> Hard to believe Microsoft was so utterly reviled by competent people in 2007.

Combine "my way or the highway" stance of Google when it comes to tech and standards, Oracle's utter corporate ruthlessness, turn it up to eleven, and consider they had a lock-in in the entire IT market similar to how Apple now controls the iOS market, and you'll start to get sense why.

That's interesting with the Surfaces. I have many friends who had/have older models, both the Book and the non-Books. They all ended up having terrible experiences.

You know which ones still have them, because on Zoom calls, they'll occasionally have their audio sound like a demon trying to murder them very loudly.

Its not too terribly expensive to have a decent mobile production setup that also fits in a camera bag, nowadays. I've always felt like, if you can afford a $2000 laptop, you can afford a $500 camera, a $50 ring ling, and a $100 microphone.

Even the best phones and laptops won't match a DSLR, so I don't try to.

Microsoft has been on the 1.0-is-useless, 3.0-is-tolerable track for over thirty years. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_3.0

It's definitely a reminder of what the "good old days" were often really like. The worst Reddit thread I've come across has less vitriol and sanctimony than this HN thread from 2007.

Unashamed MBA checking in here! MBAs are the classic punching bags for HN. It seems we’re willing to bend the “civility” rules a bit here in order to have a nice hearty MBA-bash. I’ve seen all sorts of awful generalizations posted here about MBAs that would get you flagkilled if made about other professions or degrees. Some of us actually have tech/coding backgrounds and aren’t the stereotypical pointy-headed-bosses, and it sucks to get lumped in with them but it’s ok—we don’t take it personally. Try to keep in mind though that we aren’t all bad!

While not fair to make sweeping generalizations, many of us engineers have had so many bad experiences with MBAs that it's hard to not lump them all together. Their need for control and culture shaping seem to directly harm engineering efforts in almost every case I've seen. I suppose in some ways they will always be at odds with one another.

I would buy that. Speaking of generalizations, can we just all agree that all HR people are bad people and a pox upon this land?

Surely the ones that run your payroll and 401k benefits are okay.

Surely the ones that run your payroll and 401k benefits are okay.

The old "Personnel Department" did that perfectly well long before HR was a thing.

< 401k benefits

Maybe it is because I've never worked in the valley, but I can't think of a positive 401k plan experience. I do remember a lot of onboarding powerpoint with regards to penalties and limitations. The whole thing feels coercive, having to participate in the market when you aren't interested in managing the position - simply to protect your savings from intentionally set inflation rates. All those "unsophisticated investors" (no joke, that is what they call you) are arguably the cause of the dot-com bubble as well, not because people were daytrading pets.com, but because fund managers had to put that surge of disinterested capital somewhere. I imagine that if powerpoint was around back in the day, the guys managing company store credit schemes would have functioned much like today's HR reps.

Pesky exceptions ruining perfectly good generalizations. You are right though. There is a reason for most roles. I just had my fill with HR lately so I am mildly biased against.

Fully agree. I was referring to a specific case where the payscale for people with MBA degrees was lower than the payscale for people with undergraduate engineering degrees.

In my experience, there are many great leaders with MBA degrees. However, you never hear about their MBA degree because they have so many other accomplishments to lead with. They are managers who happen to have completed an MBA program in the past.

The troublesome people are those who lean on credentialism in the hopes that merely having the MBA degree will allow them to skip to the head of the compensation structure. Anyone who builds their identity around the university they attended or the degree they received will raise a lot of red flags.

The problem is less people that start out in engineering then switch to MBA/busness track. Its the psych majors / marketdrone people who think that running a tech company is equivalent like running a clothing line or sports drink company.

> we aren’t all bad!

99% of MBAs give the rest a bad name.

kind of like software developers! (according to HN as well)

Tell me then, is there a MBA that doesn't assume all employees are interchangeable, and results are proportional to the amount of time spent on working?

That's the usual MBA mistake when dealing with IT. Most of what you've been taught applies to ditch diggers or bottling Coca Cola.

If it helps, all those MBA-bashing cool tech startups busy giving away a percentage of their revenue to Amazon, don't realise that AWS was the brain-child of a Harvard MBA.

Yes, the "idea man" deserves all the credit and everyone else is just a drone there to execute their vision. Sounds like classic MBA culture to me.

I think this is hyperbole. Noone said he deserves all the credit - just that this guy's thinking was the missing ingredient that catapulted Amazon's IT department to be at the forefront of a new industry. There were many big IT departments like that around, but theirs was the first to productize at such a level.

Jassy didn't propose, code, or solely invent AWS in any way.

You're right but Andy, for lack of a better word, willed AWS into existence: https://techcrunch.com/2016/07/02/andy-jassys-brief-history-...

That's gotta count for something.

Yes precisely. The MBA skill was to get credit for an obvious strategic possibility that required a huge team to pull off.

Happens on many levels though, it's not as if engineers don't get credit for team efforts.

Cloud is basically managed hosting allowing a pay-as-you go model for resource utilization (compute, storage, etc.). Which was also not really anything new as that model existed on timeshared systems prior to that.

MBAs are the equivalent of butter bars in the military. You get a lot of fresh faced BCOM -> MBA grads who know absolutely nothing but doctrine and are put in a position of power.

CompSci -> Work in industry -> MBA usually produces the best managers.

CompSci -> EngMan path also exists.

It's funny to me how HN folk like to point to "community guidelines" and downvote based on them, but then completely eschew them when it comes time to rag on MBAs, managers, or tout some bullshit about how we're approaching 1984 because a random startup decides to potentially use your data to make a buck.

I hesitated to post that because it would be interpreted that way.

In the case I described, the issue was literally that having an MBA put you on a lower payscale than being a mid-tier engineer.

The problem was that we had several people who invested years of their lives and six figures into post-graduate MBA education with the expectation that it was a cheat code for moving them up to the top of the payscale. It was a shock to land in a company where that was not true at all, and furthermore that it was codified into the payscale.

Having an MBA is certainly not a negative signal like HN tends to suggest. The bigger issue is resistance to the modern dual-track career ladders. Many people still want the management title (or an MBA credential) to guarantee them higher compensation, and they're resistant to any system which doesn't match those expectations.

:) Why is it that MBA types always end up on top ?

My pet theory is that they just have more time to spent scheming, and influencing others. While engineers are busy trying to get shit done.

> While engineers are busy trying to get shit done.

and/or too busy arguing with product/engineering managers (for better or worse)

I don't think they do. Not in small-to-medium size tech companies. Usually, one way or another it is the engineering department running the show. I am not sure about large orgs/behemoths.

As someone who has worked with an MBA who was good at "scheming and influencing others", they can be an absolute godsend in clearing away the corporate detritus so you can actually get your job done.

Stronger socioeconomic background, as with any success.

I would include lawyers and accountants in the same bucket. Those three groups tend to put innovation and design/engineering excellence low on priorities.

You are funny maybe without intending to be.

They all share the same "pointless" features:

- lawyers: reason for hiring: the company doesn't get sued for breaking laws (boils down to reducing costs even if you only consider the statutory damages)

- accountants: reason for hiring: the company doesn't hide deficits / key employees can't divert money (boils down to reducing costs)

- MBAs: reason for hiring: so that existing processed are optimized, and employees don't slack off too much (boils down to reducing costs)

To which I'd add HR:

- HR: reason for hiring: so that the company doesn't get sued for discrimination or gets bad PR that will reduce sales/good hires (boils down to reducing costs) -- connected to lawyers, except HR may also care about stuff that doesn't directly break laws.

So I think all of them are important! Then again, I'm now a capitalist pig, so feel free to dismiss my concerns.

But even if you only care about the visible features of a product, understand you can't innovate or even excel on a budget - which means reducing costs and trimming expenses whenever possible.

I forgot about HR!!! :)

> reducing costs

yeah, or risk mitigation. Haven't decided which is truer.

> Then again, I'm now a capitalist pig, so feel free to dismiss my concerns

Yeah I own a company with ~50-60 employees (call me Mr. Pig). Business owners need to take input from these risk-mitigation roles into consideration but, ultimately, they shouldn't be decision makers. Taking risk is important.

Decision makers should be creators (eng, design) and the sellers (sales, marketing).

Businesses aren't built on reducing costs, they are built on making money. But, then again, you can use money you save by reducing costs and feed it into the creation->sales machine. It's a balance.

> call me Mr. Pig

Hello Mr Pig, nice to meet a fellow pig :)

> yeah, or risk mitigation. Haven't decided which is truer.

Same thing to me. What do you "risk", except not making money? It all boils down to money.

> ultimately, they shouldn't be decision makers. Taking risk is important

Agreed - as long as you can take said risk, because again it all boils down to money. These people help you do that by not spending as much while achieving the same (or better) outcomes.

> It's a balance.

Totally! As for MBAs and the likes, I see them as XOs: I decide on the direction and give the orders. They implement them.

Their perspective is different from mine - which is surprisingly closer to the first line workers, who hold a lot of valuable insights (about optimization, client needs, etc) that may be lost due to the middle layer (of MBAs etc)

But the middle layer has its own role to play, to save money and keep operations smooth and reduce costs (risks) whenever possible.

Put all the MBAs in one place, or put all the HN comments in one place? :-)

To be honest I don’t think they’re (MBAs) completely useless, I just think they often end up in the wrong position for the wrong reasons.

I’ve had some great market research done by providing assignments to MBA students (though when I did my engineering MS and we had joint classes I stayed as far away from group work with them as I could - different grading gives different incentives), I just feel they sometimes might have difficulties understanding concepts like opportunity cost, probability or non-linear developments.

Look up some talks from Guy Kawasaki, art of the start for example, it’s quite good and harmless humor.

Me too. I'm thinking of knocking up a quick site just to dunk on MBAs...

It's weird for me to hear all these stories about MBAs. While I'm not an MBA myself, I was in investment banking and planned to get an MBA before I left finance and did something else instead.

I regularly pay engineers more than I pay myself as a CEO (granted: I am not really interested in draining the company's coffers for my own benefit, since I have equity). It just seems obvious that, at the end of the day, so much of the business's success turns on the engineering quality of the product, of the production lines, of the efficiencies, of the final delivered product quality.

While I take time to try to understand engineering issues, I am not an engineer by training and recognize that these people are much, much better at it than I am. So it's strange to see all these MBAs -- the types of people I used to work more closely with -- simply not get it. In most industries, you simply can't paper over operational and engineering incompetence with a slick marketing plan. So you need great engineering and operational chops. For many industries, more than a slick marketing plan.

I can assure you you're an outlier (but delightfully so).

I worked once for a company where I was doing a product for the iPad. I literally, could not get the company to buy the newest iPad for us to test on. The only iPad we had for development had a bad sensor and would throw errors constantly.

One day, marketing brings me 12 new iPads because-- they want me to install a beta of the app on them, because they're going to Fiji for a company-paid vacation (with their families!).


I have the flip side story:

We had spent almost 6 figures on factory experiments and needed to get some customer feedback from Europe at the behest of marketing.

Being mischievous and predicting the response, I actually asked marketing if they could purchase our engineering team a pelican case to protect the marketing samples ($300 cost).

They said it wasn’t in their budget to support, so we used bubble wrap.

This has many shades of potential pettiness.

First, it has nothing to do with MBAs.

And of course we don't really know how budgets are allocated? That they might have just bought their iPads as part of the purchase cycle whereas 'Eng guy' already had one, and 'the sensor' wasn't enough to justify a new one? And that everything customer-facing has to be relatively new? And that 'the trip' they were on has nothing to do with anything?

Actually, if you do software development for a mobile device you need at least one recent working sample of said mobile device to test on. Emulators are a joke.

If he's complaining about a bad sensor it means that sensor was hindering his testing, otherwise he wouldn't have even noticed.

The point was, the marketing folks were getting illegal trips to Fiji while engineering couldn't get equipment to do their jobs...

It's a matter of who is valuable and who is not, in the eyes of the people making the budget.

And you quit on the spot, right?

I filed a complaint with the appropriate authorities (about the trips to Fiji, not the iPads).


In the case I described, the resistance came from people who invested years and $100,000+ into an MBA degree with an expectation that companies would reciprocate by moving them to the top of the compensation scale.

When they joined a company and realized that their graduate degree was not a guarantee that they'd be at the top of the payscale, they interpreted that as an error in the compensation structure.

The challenge is that many (though not all) MBA programs virtually promote this idea that an MBA is a key to unlocking the highest salaries. MBA program advertising material often implies that an MBA will have huge ROI and greatly increase their compensation. It can be a shock to land at dual-track companies and realize that compensation is a strict ordering according to credentials.

MBAs are especially terrible fit (I’m talking about median here, folks) because managing highly skilled engineers whose skills are in high enough demand so they can quit and get a better job whenever is not what most of the US economy looks like. Software itself is unlike manufacturing/services and there aren’t widely accepted models on how to best organize software development. A lot of creativity and open mindedness, not to mention the ability to handle failures frequently, is required in the industry.

> To be blunt, once the [mediocre] MBAs start realizing that the engineers are getting paid more than they are, the pressure to reduce engineering compensation is strong.

I work in a different industry, but it's the same story everywhere. MBAs are the worst thing to ever happen to American business. We've created an entire class of people with large egos and expensive credentials who don't actually know anything practical, and we've put them in charge.

We've come up with this weird idea that you can abstract running a business away from the nuances of a particular business and industry, but that's completely untrue. Business are not these clean theoretical constructs you see in business school or an economics class, they're real, they're messing, and it's not always crystal clear why a particular business works or doesn't work.

> To be blunt, once the [mediocre] MBAs start realizing that the engineers are getting paid more than they are, the pressure to reduce engineering compensation is strong.

Unfortunately, this feels all too true. I believe this kind of mental bias trap is true and widespread.

Ex-Intel perspective: There is also a lot of work that needs to be done at Intel which requires mediocre engineers by the thousands. Intel does pay well to their top engineers which climb up in the ranks.

The engineer working on CAD, layout, specs, RFQs, Suppliers, Equipment, etc are hardly going to revolutionize anything. Their work is valuable but they’re entirely replaceable.

For every top engineer, you need 20 minions to execute. Folks who think otherwise haven’t really worked in a large company. In the words of Jim Keller - “It’s craftsman’s work. It’s fun.”

> The engineer working on CAD, layout, specs, RFQs, Suppliers, Equipment, etc are hardly going to revolutionize anything. Their work is valuable but they’re entirely replaceable.

You just named all specialist who would get N-times the salary outside of the industry.

That's the problem of the industry.

A man who can "just write a CAD plugin" in semi industry would probable be an instant senior hire in any CAD vendor.

A mid-level semi PM would be a senior PM, GM level manager, or a COO anywhere else.

Analog IC designer is by default a top-tier EE.

A fab "junior technician" is likely an engineering, or physics master, or more likely a PhD in Taiwan.

And so on, and on.

I saw these first-hand armies of cheap contractors that cannot deliver anything. In the meantime your neglected supporting software/infrastructure slow you down. Intel had enough money to get the best engineers on every level. Lower turnover and better and cheaper to maintain software. Instead, they choose to save money QA they got spectre saga. Intel saved on latest process and not used EUV and could not deliver 10nm at all.

> The engineer working on CAD, layout, specs, RFQs, Suppliers, Equipment, etc are hardly going to revolutionize anything. Their work is valuable but they’re entirely replaceable.

I think this is a very elitist mindset that unfortunately many people have.

To me engineering is primarily a learning process on how to build better tools. And you can probably always build a more suitable tool on top of existing tool.

So saying, this is "boring work", that requires "just minions" is akin to saying that the existing tools cannot be improved, or people who use these tools cannot figure out a way to improve them themselves, they need to be told by somebody.

All of these people can and do make outsize contributions to the company if you let them, because people don't only do their jobs. (They can also do outsize harm if you let them, I suppose.)

> Their work is valuable but they’re entirely replaceable.

Intel is replaceable.

Sorry, I’m not sure if I follow your point?

Basically, I was saying that top-engineers are irreplaceable but they need replaceable engineers to execute menial, boring, repetitive work. There is a lot of this to be done.

His point is, when you go from being practically the only game in town in 2014, to being a joke-ass also-ran "competitor" being trounced by the underdog processor company[0] who damn near went bankrupt and had to sell their fab just to stay afloat; and when your two biggest allies 1) make their own System-on-a-Chip that fucking slaughters your best offerings in a ton of benchmarks and real world tests, and also does it on 1/4th the power[1] and 2) is actively working with another company to also make their own System-on-a-Chip that you can be damn sure will also go into, not only their premium tablet and laptop line, but likely also their cloud service division [2], you had better shape your ass up with a quickness and do whatever you need to do before you end up a footnote of history.

[0] - AMD

[1] - Apple

[2] - Microsoft

This feels like a distraction from what I was driving at. Whether it’s Intel, AMD, etc. any large company needs a lot of work to be done. You don’t need top engineers for that.

You are confusing "top" engineers/employees with top-technical employees, that is not the same at all. If you staff a company with geniuses in R&D and gray mediocrities in all the other departments I am pretty sure you know what will happen. You want great CAD designers, PM, QA, logistics, marketing people? Pay them accordingly and not like mediocrities.It is pretty obvious you have no idea what you are talking about.

Either that or he is unwittingly expressing the underlying problem with intel's corporate culture that got them into this mess.

Good engineering is about finding reusable solutions to problems, it's not manual labor.

If you have good engineers the relationship between amount of work and number of engineers needed is non-linear.

> You don’t need top engineers for that.

Top-tier companies have to pay top-tier compensation.

Unethical companies have to pay top-tier compensation. You don't have to pay Google/FB bucks if you don't have sex scandals and employee retaliations in the news every day, or if the students you're recruiting don't think you're brainwashing their grandparents.

That's a very weak idea and unhelpful. Many companies pay excellently and aren't even connected to advertising.

If you are/become a leader, this mentality can seriously hurt your org. Pay for the talent you want to attract and keep. Pay generously for performance.

Hiding in those pools of 'replaceable' engineers are the next generation of top-level engineers. Intel seems to have failed to recognize that fact and now have become as replaceable as their employees are.

Having a boring or menial job is not an indictment of a person's potential or capabilities.

> However, being a top company in a winner-take-all market requires the top engineers. The only way to attract and retain them at scale is to offer high compensation. I'm hoping that's part of what's happening here.

Anyone remembers Blackberry?

That's pretty much what killed them. Going there typically meant you weren't good enough to get a callback from Apple.

Intel was the top H1B sponsor a few years back. Presumably they hollowed out their talent base by hiring less experienced engineers for less pay. Some of whom have returned home or are now working for a competitor closer to home.

I’ve got many friends that joined Intel on an H1B and are now holders of/in the process of getting green cards. The company starts the sponsorship process very quickly and most h1bs in chip design/manufacture probably tend to continue in the US.

I worked in an Intel Fab for a couple years. I walked out the door of Intel one day in 2011 (longer and irrelevant story). Within a week I had a job offer in hand from a competitor for over 2x the money.

>> I walked out the door of Intel one day in 2011 (longer and irrelevant story).

I am extremely interested in this long and irrelevant story.

The things I say when I open my mouth...

Graduated with my MS and three internships with Intel into what I thought would be my 'rest of life' job. I wanted Brian's job, which at that point was the head of the fabs. Got less than one month of training and then told 'all yours now'. Worked my ass off for like 18 months, made a name for myself in the factory, was literally on call 24x7 by myself for 11 months. Got an annual review were I was told 'we had limited budget for bonuses and raise budget, and we gave it to XX because he has kids'. Sucked it up, told myself I was playing the long game and to just put my head down and work. Hacked together software that made stuff which never worked work. Worked and worked and worked. Lost a marriage over it...who would want to be 25 and married to someone who works over 100 hours a week and gets woken up by a phone call almost every night?

I had been working an issue for months, got no buy in, got told it was no big deal/no budget/ignored. The fourth time the same thing broke, suddenly it was an emergency. I was supposed to leave on vacation that day...a vacation I had given 10 months notice on because I had no coverage. Got asked to cancel the vacation. I walked out.

I've learned, I'm smarter than that now, I respect myself in new ways I wasn't ready to understand. Now when I mentor undergraduates I am laser focused on quality of life mattering and learning to respect yourself beyond how someone else evaluates your work. I still know what my ring tone on my on call cell phone there was...and I know that it still cause anxiety when I hear it (but not panic attacks anymore). The ring tone is in a James Bond movie, I don't watch that movie.

Well this turned a little darker than I originally thought.

I discovered a kid out in Utah on YouTube named Joshua Fluke and his story is very similar to yours, and he often says much of what you say in terms of quality of life, the corporate attitude of most companies, etc.

I've only ever worked for someone else twice in my life (I considered military service to be just that - serving the nation, not so much "working" for the American people, although I suppose one could make that argument), so many of these tales are pretty foreign to me, and since I also have "fuck you" money now, they're made all the stranger to me that anyone would tolerate such behavior. I don't accept the, "I have bills to pay," mantra - to me its more akin to, "Either you respect yourself or you don't."

EDIT: Glad to see you did come to respect yourself in a healthy way.

I appreciate that and where you are coming from. I wouldn't say it was there fault...I'd actually say it was mine and it was societal. I'm a first gen college grad, but from a very successful household. I was raised on hard work, use your brain, don't give up, always do more. I brought that mindset to work, and no one was going to really stop me. I had to push back, and I had never been taught how. I worked a full time job and a part time job while an engineering student and graduated with a 3.8. Then, it impressed people and it made me proud of myself...now I wonder what I missed out on and take a very different approach to work life balance (although I'm still a bit of a workaholic, because I really do love what I do).

> longer and irrelevant story I beg to differ! In the light of these news I would be very interested to get a glimps at Intel's inner workings

Engineering capability and financial savvy are somewhat orthogonal. You will keep some top performers and lose others by paying median wages. Some people also simply value stability or find other aspects of the job worthwhile over seeking higher compensation. It's also really easy not to take into account all avenues of compensation: salary, healthcare, bonuses, retirement, tax-advantaged vehicles such as HSAs, stock options - I'd say at least half of the employees in any field are mostly clueless about finances at this level, take a glance at base salary and make a rough decision whether it's good enough.

Steve Jobs, already legendary for avoiding paying engineers for their contributions, organized an industry-wide cartel to hold down wages, and he never had an MBA.

It's a bad leadership thing, not an MBA thing.

It's not bad leadership to hold down the costs of your key inputs. It's bad leadership to do that if doing so undermines the position of your company in the market.

The handful of Apple engineers I know are incredibly happy and devoted to their work at Apple and being paid 50% more to work for Google would feel like a step backward to them.

That, in combination with their business results is, to me, evidence of excellent leadership at Apple.

Separate the wage-fixing cartel from the rewarding work. Both may reduce the wages they have to offer, yet neither action requires the other. One of them is good, the other unethical and illegal.

> It's not bad leadership to hold down the costs of your key inputs.

I think your point misses a crucial distinction.

The issue isn't whether or not "holding down the costs of your key inputs" is good or bad, all other things being equal. Rather, the issue was that Jobs formed an illegal cartel to accomplish that goal.

It’s bad leadership to organize a cartel to improve your pay.

It’s bad, because good leaders are supposed to take sacrifices for those they are protecting. Our system doesn’t necessarily promote good leaders though.

Its not not an MBA thing either. Sure its fun to dump on MBAs as being ruthless, careless and thinking of resources as replaceable widgets. To some degree you are right in that bad leadership will make these sorts of short sighted decisions, but Ive met enough MBAs to think that that masters degree is a shortcut to being a "good" manager.

I think MBA here is a label to fill in for a cost-first mindset vs maybe a value-first balance. By that I mean a more balanced view of the company making money not by prioritizing first order mechanics of profits, but more in depth view of how the profits are maximized by actual product workings - which tends to be represented at secondary, tertiary, or even deeper level in the accounting structure if at all.

The way I see MBA in business is like condiments in cooking. You need condiments to make delcious meals, but condiments are never the meals by themselves. The problem arises when you treat condiments as meals. In similar vein, when MBAs are seen as sole value creators and other professions are seen as some drones to execute their vision.

MBA programs institutionalize that thought process.

And yet Apple is the world's most valuable company.

When I heard how much Apple was offering versus Intel, I just had the picture in my head of a classroom where the teacher is demonstrating some showy physics or chemistry principle based on pressure.

Maybe they reasoned that they're located in a lower cost of living market and so those big paychecks aren't necessary. Or maybe the policy people just get sticker shock because of that.

Either way, making rational decisions 24 hours a day is very different than being able to consistently make them 8 hours a day 5 days a week. I've known plenty of trustworthy coworkers who make irrational personal decisions. You can't use 'econ brain' to price employee salaries and benefits.

SV is so familiar with the cheaper, irrational solutions that they're a cliche that occasionally rises to the level of self parody.

Remember, if you pay median, 1/2 the engineers are making more at other companies.

This is a great point so many companies don't seem to get. The company I worked for previously thought their pay was "competitive" because they kept people at median of market. Company before that, same deal, I was paid a "fair" median salary. Turnover at both companies was very high as you'd expect.

I don’t think they recall that a 50% is a failing grade in every class and on every test they ever took.

also remember that median always exists so it will always be a case that there is 1/2 under and 1/2 over.If all companies paying median raise that by 20% what is a current median?

Counterpoint: there are always a certain number of companies that will fail in the near future, so the median salary among viable companies is probably higher than the overall median.

Found the MBA. /s

>> once the [mediocre] MBAs start realizing that the engineers are getting paid more than they are, the pressure to reduce engineering compensation is strong

These 'useless MBAs' 'only engineers are worthy beings' generalisations on HN are getting seriously tiring. A lot of people have both backgrounds fyi. There's bad Apples in every profession.

I think the issue is not specific to software or engineering. The best managers are those who are good at management and business and the thing their team is doing, in the sense that they have a team and a company because it'd be too slow for them to the work all by themselves. But they could, if they weren't under time pressure and lived forever.

"MBA" is being used here as a shorthand for a professional management class who don't have any other skills, I don't think it means explicitly the qualification. And because they don't have any specific non-management skills, they think they can manage anything, which makes them mediocre managers at anything they do (at best).

In other words MBA has become a label for such people because the programmes appear to promote that worldview. But of course you can get people who have an MBA and who could also do their teams work, there's no rule that says you can't. And the discussion would probably not apply to those people.

I think there is more to the story. Apple and the new M1 just shows the strength of vertical integration. Once you can collect data from millions of devices and apply statistics on the top of it you can make decisions that Intel or AMD could never make. Intel also fall victim of its own success, become slow, stopped innovating at the pace necessary for the future.

> My secondhand understanding was that Intel was losing top talent due to pressure to pay closer to median industry compensation. Top engineers recognized they were underpaid and left the company.

This is what happens when you're run by bean counters who don't understand your core business or industry.

In the same/similar vein it never ceases to amaze me how employers don't provide their employees with the best tools possible (within reason) to do their jobs. A company will give a developer a low/mid-range laptop/desktop pinching every penny they can then turn around any pay them a huge salary... Like do they not understand that running into RAM/CPU limits makes the developer less effective? I've had jobs where I've easily spent 10x the cost of the better components/computer in time waiting on company-issued computer. Very penny wise and pound foolish.


Two stories that still annoy me to this day:

1. We had been complaining about our slow machines for a while and my PM told me to write up a proposal to send to his boss for new parts. Which, side note, was the last time I went out of my way to /beg/ for equipment to do my job better. Anyway, I write up an email with the reasoning for why we needed new hard drives (SSD's, we were still on spinning rust) and/or more RAM (I think we had ~16GB but we were running VMs). I explained how each part would help and even found cheap versions of both online that would be sufficient for our needs (we are talking <$1-2K total for all of it for the whole team of 4). I specifically said that if it had to come down to one or the other that the SSD would help more than the RAM (and it was cheaper). I never got a reply to the request and then a few weeks later we got new RAM... Like why even pay people with the knowledge/skills if you aren't even going to listen to them or even engage/discuss it.

2. The company was going to buy the developers new machines (finally) and they were testing out various machines (with hardly any input from the developers). All of the developers (4, this wasn't a huge company) had personal Macs they used for meetings/WFH (we only had desktops from work) but the company refused to even consider buying Macs because someone up the chain had a vendetta against Macs. They were looking at crappy laptops that cost the same or more than the MBP's we all wanted but it a complete no-go. This was also the company where I used my personal MBP for work (with begrudging approval) because it was way better than the Dell desktop they gave me (to run Linux on). What made it infuriating was we did cross-platform development (iOS/Android) but I was the only team member who could build/test the iOS builds because I had a Mac. The company provided an old cheese grater Mac Pro (pre-trashcan) that couldn't even be updated to a new enough OS to build apps that could be submitted to Apple...

Oh man, this. I remember I worked at a major defence contractor, and we absolutely bombed, like failed through the floor an employee satisfaction survey. And when the VP finally sat down with people they expressed how shitty the computers had gotten. And he's like wait a second. No one ever told me this. I can solve 90% of my morale problems by writing a cheque for like $200k?!?

It was astounding how large the disconnect had grown between management and the front line. And also astounding how cheaply the employee morale was fixed once he wrote that cheque.

All my experiences around this have pounded into my brain that if I ever run my company or if I am an executive I will do everything in my power to make sure all the employees under me have the best tools to do their job. Labor is one of the most expensive costs, not empowering your employees to be the best they can be is just stupid and wasteful.

My dad ran a software consulting company eons ago and he had a new programmer start but he didn't have a laptop so my dad took him to Best Buy (that's where you bought computers back then) and told him to pick out a laptop. They guy picked one and my dad was like "How about this one, isn't it better?" and the guy said "Yeah, but it's more expensive". My dad bought the better laptop and gave it to the guy and told him it was his now (as in not the companies). That guy was over the moon and my dad told me that it was the best money he ever spent. Not only did he effectively "buy" a ton of loyalty with that move but he would make up the cost of the laptop in a week or so off that programmer alone (difference between what he paid the employee and what he billed them out at).

I also remember going to Sam's Club with my dad to buy snacks for the office. He kept snacks, candy, drinks, etc well stocked at all times and told his employees they could have as much as they wanted, no limits. Happy employees are productive employees, why more people don't get that I'll never know...

Sometimes they do, but they just don't care that certain (or even all) employees are as productive as possible. They might even have a fancy graph showing how they're optimizing for some unit of productivity per unit of cost, so making employees more productive isn't worth it.

One of the best pieces of advice I got early in my career was "Whatever you end up doing, make sure the company sees you as a profit center rather than a cost center, because companies are much more free with their checkbooks to the people they think are directly responsible for making the company money," and though things aren't nearly that black and white, it's definitely been a good general principle.

> how large the disconnect had grown between management and the front line

That's just the nature of leadership positions. As people get high up in the position, the view of the company is shaped by their staff and reports. The VP never hear of the problem simply because no one ever told the VP. VP never asked about it because again no one ever told the VP. That's why corporates seem to ask a million surveys and reports because there is no other way to know that information.

What if employee surveys were never conducted? The VP would only know about the employee satisfaction issue if everyone left, well beyond the point that it's fixable. If you are on the ground, it's easy to ask your coworkers for that information. But if you are the VP, that's not possible.

If you're the VP, one of your main responsibilities is to ensure the structure you put in place has not that kind of issues.

> It was astounding how large the disconnect had grown between management and the front line

Isn't this the core of the MBA-hate argument ? That they occupy middle-layer positions, and actively obfuscate messages and merit from front line in order to redirect all the benefits for themselves ?

There is also a darwinian component there, where such behavior is beneficial to game company evaluation, so that only people with similar principles end up being promoted, then actively scuttling any other middle managers that don't adhere to the same set of principles since they are effectively representing a dangerous rival set of values, thus ensuring that after a few cycles, only they remain.

That's how culture evolve in (most) big companies where upper management don't make an active effort to keep middle management in check. A begrudging hard work, that most prefer to skip (get the quick compensation, and move on).

That's also why there is a big difference when companies still have their founders in, as they tend to pay more attention to these issues since they are personally invested in company's future and brand, than recently promoted middle managers which are just temporarily in for the check.

Mine gave me a top of the line MacBook Pro, fully loaded.

Then loaded so much security crap on it that all cores are maxed out without me even touching machine. Base vim nearly unusable. Then they made it so I could only access things via a double Remote Desktop tunnel.

Basically an expensive space heater.

3 months of nothing done until security software suffered an unfortunate accident.

Ugh, this is something that friends of mine have to deal with. Thankfully my current employer sent me a new MBP with nothing on it but the core OS. It does annoy me they didn't get the 32GB version, like it was ~$400 to bump that up but no. I've easily spent more than $400 worth of time watching a beachball spin while I find what is eating all my memory.

> suffered an unfortunate accident

scheduled or unscheduled?

I actually had a loop in background that would kill -9 various services every few seconds until I finally got them all uninstalled.

If you can kill -9 it sounds like it could have been uninstalled?

You need to kill -9 the denial-of-service-causing services so you can actually interact with the system in order to delete them. (I used to have to do this with organizational Windows machines before I realized I could boot off a livecd and either rm -rf them, or just install a real operating system; I assume OSX/MBP is similar.)

If I select "unscheduled" will I have to fill a survey before I can reboot the machine?

I am living through this. It is especially true if you are at a company that does software, but is not their primary business. IT seems to have total control and puts very little thought into developer experience. Give everyone the same slow mid-tier machines, force everyone to use Windows whether they want to or not, then overload them with security bloat, then require a slow VPN connection. It's sad.

> IT seems to have total control and puts very little thought into developer experience

To be fair, I can assure you that developers give very little thought to the experience of people who have to support their software too.

> It is especially true if you are at a company that does software, but is not their primary business

Time to switch job?

I had a friend that worked for Intel and he had the absolute worst work laptop of anyone I know. I can't recall what it was exactly, but I remember it even had a low tier Intel chip.

I work at Intel right now. My laptop is serviceable but not the best, and it's loaded down with a bunch of spyware crap. Luckily, I just need it to SSH (either through VSCode or PuTTY) into my servers, which are nice and powerful.

I was helping an intern out, and they had him using literally the worst laptop I have ever seen. It had about as much power as a Chromebook, and it was running the same spyware that I had. No wonder he couldn't get anything done.

I was just talking to my coworkers about this. If you're providing an engineer a laptop for 3 years and paying them a large salary, why would you skimp on $400 on the 16GB->32GB upgrade for free productivity?

Same for the current COVID situation. Providing every engineer with minimum dual monitor and a proper desk is only going to provide you with output gains for very little investment.

I guess management has never been anywhere close to Palo Alto.

my 'git status' command takes 6 seconds around 2pm-4pm when internal network traffic is high... go figure.

(i use this cmd a lot!)

git status is not supposed to use the network, unless you're running it on an networked file system

Have you tried running git gc (maybe --aggressive) and similar commands?

How? That command doesn't even hit the network...

One possibility is that your global git config files are on a network drive. I had that problem on a corporporate laptop.

Heh, when I wanted one more hard drive (for taking backups) my manager was having hours of meetings with his managers, PO and some more for half a year. At the end we did not get this hard drive. They easily spent like 20-30 more on they combined wages wasted on this meetings than this hard drive would cost...

Quote 1: "...even consider buying Macs because...crappy laptops that cost the same or more than the MBP's we all wanted but it a complete no-go."

Lemme call this BS. Apple's hardware is expensive crap compared to other. I can make at least 50% cheaper from parts desktops/laptops having the same performance.

Quote 2: "...but we were running VMs...but I was the only team member who could build/test the iOS builds because I had a Mac."

I call this another BS. My machine is running Windows as host OS. My VMs are Linux(Ubuntu and Mint)/Android(both Vm and emulators - Bluestacks an Memu)/Raspbian and MacOS (at least 10 MacOS VMs starting with Mountain Lion 12 years ago and copy/upgrade a new one every time a new MacOS was released). I can run any flavor I want and do cross-platform build at the same time.

Conclusion - you're lying.

Companies will pay whatever they think they can get away with. Some companies with high social cachet like Tesla pay quite poorly [1], and yet people want to work there.

[1] https://www.levels.fyi/?compare=Tesla,Google,Facebook,Micros...

Hopefully they also consider current engineers and harmonize their compensation too, else people will have reason to hold a grudge because it would prove the only way to get fair compensation is to play the game and accelerate turnover.

I think similar concept was described by Steve Jobs here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4VBqTViEx4

>to offer high compensation. I'm hoping that's part of what's happening here.

so, the new old guys are brought in at market and higher - otherwise how you'd bring them in? - ie. it sounds like at the scale of at least 3x+ of the current engineering comp at Intel. Lets see how that would sit the the current engineers at Intel. I don't think it would result in high collaboration and team cohesion.

Also Intel issue seems to be process node, not the "architecture" per.se., and one can wonder how several years gap may affect one's utility at solving intricate issues of current node.

Anyway, fab to fabless is a classic paradigm shift , and Intel just fails to grasp it and to adapt.

This is a disasterous move.

Ringing up elderly chipmakers to help shore up a company that's been run into the ground by marketing and management only confirms the same disastrous management practices are still at play

As a leader trying to resuscitate a brand, eschewing new talent for old is just going to get you handfuls of engineers familiar with corporate ladder climbing and various no wake zones that might challenge the status quo. It also sends a clear message to newly minted PhD and graduates: Intel is closed for new ideas.

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