I used to work with a senior guy who went freelance and then bunched together with several other freelancers, also seniors, to form... "an operation". The MO was that one of them would go and interview for a permanent job, impress the heck out of everyone and then say "there's more like me, be happy to help you out, but on a contract basis and as a group." They were basically bait-n-switching them to outsource parts of their development and in some cases it worked, because their fees were very reasonable. And the fees were reasonable because they did very little of the actual work themselves and instead re-outsourced it to some Ukranain dudes.
Looked fishy as fuck and I'm not sure how it ended because I felt out of touch with the guy.
This is not necessarily bad! The senior in this case is more like the "brand" of the operation.
And - sorry about going now into stereotypes - Good Eastern europeans are really good coders. Would not hesitate a second outsourcing any development to ukraine or romania if the contractors are vetted and proven to deliver value.
Whether the last hop of the outsourcing is in India, Poland, or Spain is not that important if you still get what you expect. The problem is when you get a fraction of what you expected or pay for.
Interviews have been used as opportunities for evangelization, attempts to get technical assistance, or extract information about the competition or potential customers since forever. I haven't seen one which was overtly illegal but they're all certainly as shady as they get.
This was very odd to us, since our names wouldn't mean a thing to anyone on the client's end, but we chalked it up to red tape. Your explanation finally makes sense of it.
At most, it gets the A-team's PE stamps, so they're at least professionally liable for the quality of work, but first project coordination/ outline meeting & final review are all they usually do. Occasionally take a call from a VIP.
And when the project freezes indefinitely, so do the payouts.
I asked why they were doing it, but no one gave me a straight answer. I mean, I get for them it was Tuesday, but when a major contractor starts asking you to brush right up against the line of equivocating, I can't justify moving forward without some serious explanations and levels of frankness I don't think many recruiters are comfortable with..
After my first successful project for them, their biggest client started demanding that I be assigned to their next big project (or one of the external contractors). We both ended up taking jobs elsewhere, and that client quit using the developer.
And the client? They were a full-on shovel-ware developer that barely cared about game quality. They just needed a game that would run reliably enough that Nintendo would approve it. So to be fired as a developer by that company was really embarrassing...
Occasionally we’d get someone good but as soon as the consulting company figured out that they were good, they’d get rotated off our project and replaced with someone mediocre. They also never gave us any warning when they were going to switch someone.
Because what I've seen happen is a large company uses its size to negotiate really the cheapest prices, and the only way the consulting company can make profit is by hiring the cheapest people, and even with that, the margins are thin at best. So obviously, they don't exactly get the best.
The worst part is that all these D-tier, fresh out of school guys gain experience and some may even get good at their job. Unsurprisingly, these people start asking for raises and promotions, and the consulting companies tries to charge their customer more, I mean, we are talking quality now.
But the big company financial department doesn't like it, so they make a new call for cheap contracts, get a new round of incompetents, etc...
In the end, everyone loses. The consulting company makes little profit, sometimes even losses and the big company always get shit service, which usually costs them more than what they save. As for the employees, the work conditions are often terrible and they usually quit at the first occasion. But the financial department is happy, they have a lower number in the "expense" column.
Once the contract was won, we'd sub-contract to a local (to the region) contracting agency, who would in turn essentially do the equivalent of a craigslist search for a body, that we would interview to ensure that they could be taught, and then we'd take 30-60 days to teach them our product - depending on the initiative and experience of the candidate, the customer (who remember, was paying us $500k/year for an application engineer) - might get a recent-high school graduate that was making $30k/year and had never even heard of our technology a week prior.
I have trouble feeling sorry for the consulting company in that situation. If the budget your client offers is insufficient for the job, demand more or turn it down. Don't lie that you can do it and then bait-and-switch.
This created a lot of internal pressure to use contract resources as much as possible.
As an example, when we had our bathroom done, the guy they sent to finish things up couldn't even center and level the towel racks.
Especially when the customers are female.
Had to go with someone who I had a little trouble communicating with, but at least I could verify he knew what they were doing and understood my concerns about how the work got done.
I actually think it’s essential in medium+ size companies. The authenticity of having a highly technical person in sales works wonders.
Generally, you need the A-team at the start because there's a lot of very critical work that needs doing. After a while, it's mostly maintenance, so it's silly to keep your top people there... you can still call them in when they're needed.
This is just resource efficiency.
I honestly wonder how this place makes money some days!
And being able to scale on demand is a big part of providing a service. Otherwise you can't absorb any unexpected spikes in demand from already existing projects, or have to pass on lucrative opportunities, or you pay to keep a buffer of people on payroll.
But yes, bigger consultancies absolutely do this.
Can I ask, does that mean you got so worn out so you couldn't work, had to stay at home / away-from-work for some time?
I wonder what happened afterwards. Seems you now work as an independent contractor now? (looking at your external profile, I hope you don't mind)
But after working on the same problem set for that long I got interested again in solving tougher problems and went back out on the consulting scene.
But that job forever changed my views on work life balance so I am now very aggressive with balancing hours for people that report to me even if I don’t balance my own hours.
The clients though, they want to pay the consulting firm relatively the same price they would pay for a standalone developer employee, per hour. The entire industry is broken and a lot of it has to do with broken recruiting, the recruiting industry, the "consulting firms" (body-shops) that are just resellers, and onerous employment regulations that make firms prefer outsourcing to shady outfits instead of hiring in-house developers.
But then, after many months and likely hundreds of thousands of dollars are already spent, their bar for "mutually-satisfactory state" has been lowered to "I guess we will accept this pile of mediocre shit that the D-team built, because we already wasted months on this and we are desperate for something, and it would be too expensive and just waste more time to try and argue with the consulting firm to fix it".
I spent a long career as a consultant at one of the top "prestigious" firms. Consulting firms almost always prey on this hope that the clients won't complain too much, even though everyone knows the end product that is delivered isn't anywhere close to what was pitched during the sales phase.
When has that ever happened?
The problem is not that America has a monopoly on good coders but that the good coders in any country will not work for the Ed-Edd-n'-Eddy type foreign contracting firms.
This is now in my lexicon. I loved the show as a kid and this so perfectly captures how I feel about some shops.
Although the good contractors are SWAMPED for work, I definitely have to up my rate.
"I don't know. Wow what do all these words in capital letters mean?"
"Oh that doesn't matter. As long as you use the same words in the deliverable report, noone will ever double-check the code before the sale."
I was the bait, indeed I was nearly not touching the projects at all except if the replacement failed it hard and then my employer would send me few days there to fix the mess.
My working time was divided between pre-sales and fireman to save projects from total failure.
Every single time customers want to :
- Review the Consultant CV
- Interview the Consultant
- Accept no switch unless for the
obvious reasons of sickness or holidays.
- And the team that starts is very much the
team that finishes the project.
But a single person can be a "contractor" too.
(At big companies and non-IT fields, a contractor is often used for temporary professional employee-type labor for flexibly scaling the labor force that includes employees doing the same job, but a consultant is someone who provides a skill you don't have in house at all.)
Their flavor involves hiring people with a very high tolerance for complexity, and letting them propose the most complex solution to any problem. Eventually your own people get tired of trying to keep up with even the summaries, and just abdicate. Now that part of the system is only understood by IGS, and the rot begins to spread.
Nope. He kept pedaling this small, 10-15 person startup to me that I clearly wasn't qualified for and honestly was not interested in as there were some red flags. The commission must've been fat cause he didn't pitch me any other company and kept "circling back" if I changed my mind about them.
And my experience of those I've worked with, has been that the smaller projects that remove this potential to deceive (not profitable or large enough for bait-and-switch - not enough get-foot-in-door to be worthwhile to take at a loss). And by smaller I mean less than £/€/$ 500k, and not leading to multi-million deal later on.
And go away from the RFP process that sucks and is just trying to get the lowest bidder, for a fixed-end-goal, rather than bringing good and experienced people to support your business/organisation/project on achieving something.
I'm trying to launch this myself, and I feel you can get the best of both worlds: great talented people who you pay fairly with a scale model for (eventually needed) growth, and some cost control for mid/longer term projects as you can't really have a fixed price.
At the same time you have to remove some of the downsides like this lack of transparency (and honesty?), whilst having the needed support in place for projects to succeed!
That's not "Bait-and-switch"
That's smart business
The "most senior person" (or, more likely, team) is still available - they're just acting as an escalation point, not doing grunt work
Same basic concept as having a secretary to do the [necessary] grunt work of any specialized employee/team
You don't send Babe Ruth to fetch foul balls, you send Babe Ruth to hit homeruns
But without the ball boys going for fouls, Babe Ruth doesn't get to hit as many, or as fast
But how can you tell this is not just bait-and-switch itself? The most senior person with an impressive resume is vetted and proven to deliver value, but how can you know if the actual contractors you are getting from wherever are good?
You are defrauding the client by not providing the service and/or personnel advertised. How is this not, at a minimum, a criminal act?
It makes sense to have juniors do the work and seniors to oversee the work.
When the project falters, attempting to parachute the actual skilled people back in will fail because of both Brooks’ law and simply their mandate being to stabilize things to the point where they can claim minimal satisfaction of the contract requirements, which will likely not include fixing the deep architectural problems.
> When the project falters, attempting to parachute the actual skilled people back in will fail ...
The argument there seems a little inconsistent to me. The skilled people aren't going to be rushing from failed project to failed project - that is less productive than just getting involved to start with.
You're thinking about it from the perspective of the customer, not the an ethically-challenged contractor focused on maximizing revenue. If you have an A-team which you use to close deals, cycling them from project to project to close the deals which you will then staff with the C-team will generate more revenue than having them work on just one project as long as you don't have many disasters where you have to eat the cost of fixing the project.
If the client is either overly-trusting or made enough mistakes to plausibly share responsibility and the punishment for failure is more billable hours, you're _way_ ahead financially if you get to bill 14000 hours of C-team-masquerading-as-A-team instead of 2000 hours of actual-A-team.
Source: extensive experience on projects with Splunk proserve.
Nobody wants to touch the lead's code. The more of it there is, the slower things go. Or the more workarounds/end runs (duplicate functionality) you find in the code. It's best if the leads only stick their fingers into code that absolutely has to work, has a low expected rate of change, and relates directly to architectural or (better) operational concerns. Everything else they should keep an eye on, insist on quality, but otherwise butt out.
People write code that seems obvious to them. Very, very few of us make a conscious effort to do much more than that. You can write a great deal of solid code that is still write-only. Too much of this, and it makes it difficult to improve your bus numbers, and grooming people for growth is a huge investment of time, energy, and social capital (if you can do it at all). Rather than bringing the whole team up, people play favorites, because that's all they can afford.
Checking his LinkedIn, I discovered that he had a consulting company that ran concurrently with his most recent jobs. His most recent jobs were all less than 12 months of tenure, and the start/end dates didn’t match what he provided on his resume in some cases.
Curious, I started digging more. Through some LinkedIn friend-of-friend backchannel references I eventually deduced that he was trying to run his freelancing shop as his primary job while getting full-time employment at companies with flexible and/or remote employment where his real daily activities could go unnoticed (for a time). He collected a paycheck and benefits while running and building his freelance company. He would also try to recruit some of his coworkers to become part of his consulting company “on the side”. I suspect he was trying to outsource his own work to his freelancers as well.
Eventually each company would catch on and get sick of his behaviors, strange lack of availability and presence during the day, and work output that varied depending on how much contract work he was trying to do.
Then he’d move on to the next company to continue collecting benefits and a paycheck remotely while running his freelance shop.
"I currently have 10 fully remote engineering jobs"
As long as you're performing akin to your salary for each position, and you read your employment contracts carefully, I see nothing wrong w/ this approach.
There’s nothing heroic about joining a team and then sabotaging their work.
There's the "gives everything up for the company, no questions asked" types of people. Tesla et al come to mind for companies that like to hire this type. I don't get that to be honest. Your family and life are not worth whatever they're paying you, even if the work is 'fun' and engaging. YMMV as always.
Then there's the opposite end which you're alluding to but I'm not entirely sure where on the gradient you are. The slackers or someone like the guy described by the OP. I had someone like that recently. I caught it within the probation period and he was gone after 2 months.
Then there's what I would consider the proper position on the gradient line. You do your work, you do your best, every day without question or being 'made' to. But in return you ask for the company to be reasonable too. Proper pay and benefits, flexibility, nice perks but not the kinds of 'perks' that are just designed to make you 'live' at the office, mandatory 'fun' etc. No BS 'do this yesterday because I say so' requests. The list goes on.
There are companies out there, that are close enough to that/let you do that if you don't just say yes to everything :)
On the other hand these companies are producing some great results. I religiously watch the teardown analysis of the Tesla cars vs others like the Ford Mach-E and the Tesla is just so much better designed in pretty much every regard(except things that require slow methodological improvement such as fit and finish). Whats more, all the Musk companies are moving at the speed of thought. They are so much faster in implementing any new innovation that any competitor makes that they dont have and incorporate it into their product faster than any other company does.
>Then there's what I would consider the proper position on the gradient line. You do your work, you do your best, every day without question or being 'made' to. But in return you ask for the company to be reasonable too. Proper pay and benefits, flexibility, nice perks but not the kinds of 'perks' that are just designed to make you 'live' at the office, mandatory 'fun' etc. No BS 'do this yesterday because I say so' requests. The list goes on.
Don't you think these companies are going to eventually be eaten by the companies that have the demanding work environment? For better or worse all else being equal, those companies get more done in the same amount of time.
I am experiencing this at my company, an old bloated payroll company. They have superb work life balance, I get my work done but I know the company is sinking to Silicon Valley rivals, its just a matter of time. The product is old and competitors are just doing a better job. Im currently in a dilemma where I get paid fairly well but not doing any advanced projects, that will bite me long term but the freedom and 0 stress is just so good. I get my stuff done and have time to take hour long breaks.
The kinds of people that work at such companies I am very very sure would do great things regardless. In fact, I know quite a few people like that, some of which I work with, which is awesome. It's like finally finding your true 'home' company wise, when you have that feeling that your are mostly working with people that both know their stuff and just want to do great work together.
In my book there's a huge difference in whether you have your own company for example and you work on something you love with other like minded people in every free minute you have. But when your kid is sick and needs to be fetched from daycare and mommy has an important meeting to attend it is absolute clear that you won't be working and instead driving to the daycare and nobody even blinks an eye at that and there's no bad feelings on your end, worrying what people might think. Of course you will take care of your kid. And no you won't be working all weekend long just because some sales guy promised the moon to a customer, you will actually be playing with your daughter. Some days you will work 10 hours because you just want to finish that one thing as you're on a roll or there's a Prod incident or something and your SO has got your back. Friday after you definitely go home early and enjoy the weekend. What's not OK is for some VP to have dragged his feet on something and when he remembers about that important presentation the next day he tells you to "get him those numbers by EOD or else".
The proper point on the gradient that I like is definitely _not_ the old bloated payroll company you are referencing. I think that sounds like the kind of company that has tolerated a probably >90% slacker population for way too long and I would be miserable, because I'd constantly ask myself why those guys get paid to be on Facebook all day or pretend that adjusting the background color of that button takes a whole sprint. Taking hours and hours of breaks and nobody blinks an eye is absolutely not OK at all. That's not "You do your work, you do your best, every day without question or being 'made' to". Absolutely that company _should_ get eaten.
This is not what I am talking about. Yes brilliant people are a prerequisite but I am referring to squeezing them hard to get that extra improvement out of them. You see it in the Tesla car vs something like the new Ford. They are both good cars clearly made by talented people. But then when you tear down the Ford you see how the battery pack is made in a manner where they didn't wring out every extraneous cost and they didn't squeeze every last bit of potential out of it. There is so much room for improvement compared to the Tesla. It seems as if Tesla just forces their people to burn 100 hours weeks all the time just for that little extra that ends up in their end product.
>or pretend that adjusting the background color of that button takes a whole sprint.
Im actually in that position right now getting paid 100k. It is depressing as I am wasting my late 20s early 30s but at the same time I see people like Elon getting insanely rich while so many people in the country are sinking beyond salvation. He is actually getting rich off not only the backs of the people he overworks but the parents that raised and invested in those people and the local communities that spent decades molding those people. And what happens in the end? He burns them out and replaces them with new blood.
It makes me realize that 95% of this tech stuff is BS and the few jobs that actually have some innovation are locked behind gates or require sacrificing everything else to achieve. If you are not naturally gifted to be in the top 5% then it is just not worth sacrificing everything else. I guess thats why companies like mine end up filled with people who take a whole sprint to change the background color. There is so much money floating around these companies that are all majority owned by a few mutual funds anyway that its downright stupid not to take as much as you can from them while you can.
I got weirded out when they asked for a resumé mid-pitch, and I said, I don't normally hand anything like that out, and I could give them our portfolio. I kept using the words "we" and "our" they kept using the word "you" and eventually it all clicked. I had been recruited for a job not a sales meeting. I handed them a 5 year old resumé that was kind of crumpled up, gave them my spiel and our rates, still using "our" and "we" then left feeling like I just wasted half an afternoon on nothing.
Less than an hour after I left, I was offered the gig at a 5% discount from my rate but with a guaranteed 30 hours a week. I never thought I would hear from them again. They are actually still one of my "best" clients.
A second anecdote - Half a year later, I was asked my opinion on converting a HUGE legacy project to a different web framework in a rewrite attempt to modernize it. To which I discussed another clients project and how easy it was to get off the ground quickly using the new framework, but said I wouldn't recommend it for such a large legacy conversion. And the Manager asked, "wait, you have another job... you are supposed to work for me." - Apparently he was unaware of the fact that they hired a company to consult them, not a developer.
I thought I was going for two days to discuss Google acquiring my (very small) product and company. What actually happened was half of a two-day long tech interview, and me being a tourist with my second day...
I feel like I should be annoyed, but weirdly I look back on it all fondly. They obviously didn't get what they thought they were going to get - but I got a weird, interesting, day with them, a stay in a great hotel, and a free day of vacation...
I wish there was a way to discover/join groups like this. My specialty at this point is SW project rehab by just being a realistic, experienced adult. Modernization but avoiding the blog-oriented design plague. It would just be very nice to work in a mission-specific context with a very senior team.
I ended up retiring, and 3 years later got re-hired on a very part time, hourly contract basis.
It would be for EVERYBODY. This is why it's so hard to find such an opportunity - there are very few senior people who love to get stuck in a 9-5 cubicle job instead of doing crack projects :)
Never happened before, hasn’t happened since.
Makes me realize why there is so much red take on new vendors at large firms.
Bad outcomes outside of the process like it taking years to buy software? Not any one person's fault.
Newbies need to learn, there's only so many cadavers you can cut into before you need experience on living flesh. Experienced surgeons are often observing the procedure, and step in as necessary if there is a complex part, or if the junior isn't doing something correctly.
Beyond just the surgeon there is a good number of incredibly professional secondary staff who are running the whole operating theatre, from imaging, instrument preparation, to labs and vitals. When you speak to a surgeon you're not just getting them, you get their entire team, junior to professional.
Exactly the same process for my mom's knee replacement in India. By the time the actual knee guy walks in, patient is knocked out, opened up and ready for the heavy hitter.
In the UK, the most senior doctors are actually called “consultants” - they consult on the work being done by the others
It turned out fine.
In a vacuum, everyone would choose the best care available to them. Of course this is expected. How can anybody be expected to do otherwise when it's their life (or family member's) at stake?
Atul Gawande talks about this experience in Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science , where his son had been cared for by a full team of cardiologists, ranging from fellows in specialty training to attendings who had practiced for decades. However, due to certain complications, they needed to choose a pediatric cardiologist with which to schedule follow ups and decide on what procedures would be necessary in the future. One of the fellows, who had been the one putting most of the time in caring for his son, proactively approached them the day before discharge and suggested setting up an appointment.
It's common for fellows to receive patients this way, and at any teaching hospital, an attending is there to supervise and take over if needed. The entire system is set up such that residents and trainees are given opportunities to learn.
> A resident intubated him. A surgical trainee scrubbed in for his operation. The cardiology fellow put in one of his central lines. None of them asked me if they could. If offered the option to have someone more experienced, I certainly would have taken it. But that was simply how the system worked—no such choices were offered—and so I went along. [...]
> The advantage of this coldhearted machinery is not merely that it gets the learning done. If learning is necessary but causes harm, then above all it ought to apply to everyone alike. Given a choice, people wriggle out, and those choices are not offered equally. They belong to the connected and the knowledgeable, to insiders over outsiders, to the doctor's child but not the truck driver's. If choice cannot go to everyone, maybe it is better when it is not allowed at all.
Juniors have to learn somewhere. The reality - in Australia, at least - is that juniors learn in the public system where patients don't really have a choice.
Last time I had a different anesthetist than the one I saw before. But I was happy because I did not have affinity with the one I met and the one I had was very welcoming and kind. Which is a really good trait for the person that is responsible to supplant your vital functions for some hours.
The nominal surgeon usually does the “heart” of the procedure: replacing your ACL, removing a tumor, etc. Their assistants just get you into/out of the state where that happens.
Surely you don’t expect the surgeon to personally do everything related to the case, right? Wash the drapes, prep the instruments?
Or maybe something more important came up just prior. Ultimately people have the learn and have a go at some point - with your attitude they would be no more doctors.
Deception aside, this seems like a reasonable idea, and I've wondered if anyone might do this as a result of covid (as in, "we quit en masse when our employer wouldn't let us stay remote, wanna hire us?"). A mature team that's already worked together and gone through norming-storming-performing sounds like they'd be better than 5 freelancers thrown together.
Hiring entire teams together is risky. It can be difficult enough to integrate individual hires into the company’s way of operating, especially when companies grow quickly. A team that has already worked together can have a lot of resistance to changing their ways or integrating into the rest of the company’s way of operating.
I’ve been at companies that tried this in the past. The teams that came in together wanted to isolate themselves and operate independently, and they had little interest in changing anything or adopting the same tools that everyone else used (one team tried to refuse to adopt git because they all used and liked subversion).
Usually these teams were laid off together. A team that quit en masse because their employer wouldn’t cave to their demands would be even worse for trying to integrate with the company. You don’t want to bring in a group of people who tries to be the tail that wags the dog and will quit en masse again the next time the company doesn’t give in to their demands.
If you're spinning up a new project/org/whatever hiring all the expertise in a single shot is so much more efficient than one-by-one. If they have agency, it's often a recipe for success.
I don’t think “we held our previous employer to ransom” is the sales pitch I’d go with.
They'd had the contract for months, but it wasn't until a rep from AFLC was going to visit and write a progress report that they cared. I coded up a demo in 2 weeks, and showed that it had all the basic functionality called for in the contract (though it had a few bugs). My boss told the rep I was their chief engineered just hired for the project (I was actually pretty junior, but happened to know a few things about databases).
I actually thought it was a fun project. I wanted to finish it, but after the rep left they put it aside and moved me to another project.
We took the bait and the code product was as bad as you would expect.
Long term moles at a company, able to climb high and perform well due to remote work which enables:
- never really meeting the mole
- the “mole” is a superstar because they have a team of corporate raider-employed 10x’ers evaluating and executing everything that this mole does at work. The mole’s code is written by 3x MIT grads hot swapping on the keyboard. The mole’s biz ideas come from a few HBS grads. And so on.
Productivity, business intuition, and engineering talent is off the charts for this mole. It rises far enough in the hierarchy such that it maneuvers the company towards favorable action for that corporate raider. Every idea the mole suggests, the corporate raider works in the background to enable via favorable market conditions. Whoever is the public face of the mole’a reputation might be in flames if found out, but what’s that vs netting 3% of a corporate buyout valuation.
Edit: if you want a thorough version of the Nortel story, I recommend this podcast: https://malicious.life/chinas-unrestricted-warfare-part-1/
"Hackers stole our sauce" may be a plausible explanation for why a competitor got a jump-start, but its not a plausible explanation for why your business fell apart - especially considering that Cisco, Nokia, RIM, and many, many other western communication vendors continued to thrive after Nortel's disaster.
Nortel died because it couldn't adapt, the same way that RIM invented the smart phone, and then died, because it couldn't compete with Apple.
Also, worth noting that Canadian tech firms don't pay well, so all the talent goes south, and then those same firms grouse about their inability to compete with the valley.
Now, we had a price separation between multi-link PPP and single-link PPP and for a variety of reasons, we did this by having the multi-link calls terminate in dedicated equipment.
This worked fine for a day or so, until the Nortel CVX started rebooting in "peak dial-in time" (somewhere in the 3 PM - 4 PM bracket). And we could not for the LIFE of us understand why. Got Nortel on the case, they could not even recreate the crash in their lab. Until I happened to ask about their simulation parameters. They were doing a 1 multi to 5 non-multi mix, at about 75% of the incoming call rate we had.
That, alas, was not enough to tickle the bug, which was basically that the CVX had to shift either the first or the second call of a pair onto the same DSP, and if a new cal arrived between "start the move" and "finish the move", the call being moved would simply be lost to data corruption. And when the watchdog would go through and check for internal data sanity (once per second or so), it'd fall off the data chain and the watchdog timer would reset the chassis.
Nortel declined to fix the bug. We declined to keep (or pay) for the equipment. I was not massively surprised with Nortel eventually folding.
A third option is all the fraud that happened at the company. Hard to keep investor's confidence when everyone is being audited for accounting fraud .
> Also, worth noting that Canadian tech firms don't pay well, so all the talent goes south, and then those same firms grouse about their inability to compete with the valley.
Why would they do that? I recall someone telling me that an internship at BlackBerry was a positive signal, but a full time position not so much when looking at resumes. How do they think they can compete for talent?
That, and basing their business on selling film in an age of digital cameras.
I was curious about this statement but on reading up on the topic, it doesn't seem to me that Nortel was "taken over" by Huawei?
In the real world, I suspect most corporate threats require significantly less effort.
When I first started interviewing candidates I was surprised at how readily some people volunteered confidential information about their previous employer. I frequently have to ask people to stop sharing confidential details about their current projects or even problems their current employer is having.
I've long suspected that the easiest way to extract confidential information from a company would be to pose as a reputable recruiter from a glamorous company with high wages, then simply get in touch with a company's employees and ask them what they're working on.
So how would this be detected and countered? It seems undetectable if the mole has perfect opsec. I guess an organizational structure with a lot of checks and balances might be resilient to their manipulation…
Spending 3 years, earning a single promotion, and then (not immediately but shortly after) quitting and going somewhere else (for another promotion) is the surest route if applied consistently. Another route is to parlay one's background as a senior at a large company into an outsized role at a small company. Perhaps even CTO if it's a startup. After a few years as CTO, that person can work his way back into senior management at bigcorp.
It's difficult to see how someone could turn this into a profitable business. But if the backer isn't interested in profit, it's a great way to get assets inside the upper echelons of a lot of major companies...
1) who is behind it, actually.
This isn't about dogman144 making CTO. It's BlackRock/private fund/whatever steering companies of interested towards long term, favorable outcomes, at the cost of the salaries for 20 people mole-strike team, tough NDAs, a large finder's fee at the end, and at the benefit of 0% of the negative publicity they get for doing this sort of action out in the open. No % shares reporting anymore, no PR, no protests for buying up residential real estate in bulk, and so on.
2) how much does the figurehead mole make, as this could be an excruciatingly stressful experience
Start with a fee model like 2/20 for hedge funds, and data like FireEye is getting bought out in "an all-cash transaction for $1.2 billion." At a 3% mole fee of the final transaction, thats a $36mil (edit, math :( ) payout for the mole, using FireEye numbers, putting aside 5-7 years of double-dipping Raider pay, FireEye pay. Kraft bought Cadbury for $19B. Some of the larger LBOs push $45B. There are a number of ways the incentives can work here - if this takes less time to make $3.6m than an IPO would, more surety of outcomes because you have a titan of a fund steering things, and guaranteed Partner at the fund once this is complete, and so on, the numbers likely make a bit of sense.
3) Jumping companies: also doable. Either way the mole team wants to play the long game: they really want X-company, and to do that they could do a few years of jumps. Few years at a single company, or a few years at separate companies until that "senior" mole team lands at the target company - same/same.
You nail it with this: it's a great way to get assets inside the upper echelons of a lot of major companies. And add in the above, the payouts look good too.
Is this legal, do you get on the wrong side of outside employment regs at the company, and so on? Not sure! But what's interesting to me is with remote work, this suddenly gets a whole lot more doable, an there are a lot of all-remote, pretty valuable companies (revenue, or IP access - see GitLab) out there. This puts aside all considerations of intel agencies doing this, as well.
This seems more plausible.
But still, you make a good point about the size of the reward. A low probability of success might be OK if the payoff is measured in billions.
It's almost certainly illegal, but I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know the specifics.
Every marketing manager has engaged them privately to boost their numbers. Every developer secretly works for them on the side.
But no one anywhere ever talks about it until one day a former consultant notices an expired NDA.
This is a strange counterpoint to managers interviewing people to learn about a market.
It's unethical for a company to interview candidates if they don't have the intention of offering anyone a job.
And likewise it's unethical for a candidate to attend an interview if they have no intention of considering a potential offer.
And likewise it's unethical for a candidate to attend an interview if they have no intention of considering a potential offer.
I'm currently happy at my job, and don't think I'd like to consider another job any time soon. However, historically, in previous jobs, I usually don't notice that I want to move on, until it's too late, and I'm too burnt out to do well in interviews. It's been recommended to me, by multiple people to interview frequently, even if not interested in changing jobs, to get some practice in. But doing that feels unethical. I frequently consider it, but have never done it because it feels dishonest and unfair.
But then by the time I want to change jobs I'll be burnt out, and and out of practice interviewing, creating a very depressive loop of failing at job interviews, depressing me further.
With this reframe I was always very up front to the hiring company. "I'm happy where I am but I'm open to interviewing and hearing what you have to offer." It puts you in a pretty powerful negotiating position (assuming you pass the interviews). Then if you like the company remind them that you are happy at your current job and ask for an amount (or hours, PTO, etc) that you would have no hesitation leaving your current job for. No ethical dilemma (in my opinion) and I've definitely accepted some of those offers.
Also it's fun to interview with no pressure to actually land a job. Not a totally fair comparison but my interview success rate at these is way higher than when I was actually looking for a job.
(I also struggle with staying too long in jobs.)
Although, I have never done it either. I've always been too busy at work, and I view the dishonest aspect as the potential lie I have to make up to take off a day from my current job to go interview.
It seems that usually companies pay their long term employees below the market, and they only notice when/if they go job hunting.
The standard practice is for recruiters to be paid only in case of successful placement (and often only in case of successful probation period).
Of course that incentivizes recruiters to get a single candidate multiple offers. On the face of it this is good for the candidate, but it makes me wonder about some of my previous experiences.
If FAANG recruiters keep contacting me without my applying to them, I think it's fair game to expect that you'll get a number of people who interview "for fun".
If you're going to use sales tactics to get future hires, you have to accept a certain level of waste.
But this isn't the case if you're paid by another company to go to the interview and you are forbidden from accepting an offer.
But I’d point out that tech companies farm interviewees for ideas on how to approach problems all the time and don’t hire the vast majority of qualified candidates.
It’s unpaid labor.
It’s a bit of karmic justice to hear of people turning the table and using this as a way to inject ideas into a target company.
Very much explained some experiences I'd had at the previous trade show.
It’s the interviewers job to convince me I should work there.
Plus I get interviewing practice and maybe get to meet interesting people.
I don't think the difference is as big as you seem to think. Everyone has a price. :)
I condone the behaviour nor think it’s unethical. Talent should be able to shop the market, just as companies shop the market for talent.
Edit: Whoops! Grammar
I think it’s quite reasonable to interview somewhere if there’s a 10% chance or greater that you’d work there, which is hard to know before they’ve convinced you throughout the process.
In fact in this case I wouldn't have expected the things the NDA is stopping me from talking about were even things.
So no, it isn't unethical for the author to abide by his NDA, arguably the exact opposite is true, though exposing these shenanigans at a personal risk could be argued to be the better moral decision.
Ethics and moral philosophy are synonymous. I don't think they're confused, but you can consult a dictionary if you like.
>The ethical action (which is about professional standards rather than your conscience)
No, as somebody who has studied moral philosophy academically, this is your own unique definition and not normal. Any amount of research from a credible source like plato.standord.edu or even wikipedia will support this.
The ethical codes that are associated with a profession are different from moral principles that may usually guide us. The first example they gave when I studied this in engineering was that of a defense attorney: trying to help a guilty person get away with a serious crime violates most people's moral standards, but the code of ethics for attorneys demands that they defend guilty people anyway, because our law system is set up with that expectation.
To my original point, someone may claim a moral imperative to tell the world about the company in this article, but the fact of the matter is just about every professional ethics committee or handbook would tell you to uphold your NDA in the situation here. Wasting people's time under false pretenses may be bad, and it isn't ethical to do it yourself, but it isn't so bad that you can just drop your own obligations and blog about it.
And yes I admit some handwaving here since programming doesn't have widely adopted ethical codes yet, but I can guarantee that when they do exist, they won't tell you to violate a contract for something that won't injure anyone and doesn't break any laws.
Re moral imperatives and tradeoffs: even these guys had a code of ethics https://www.bullmarketgifts.com/Framed-Enron-Code-of-Ethics-... The "ethical thing to do" does not always come from a book or a committee, instead it's dictated by the moral principle most specific to the situation at hand and taking into consideration the widest breadth of weighted personal interests and needs. In any case, I'm not sure I agree with this statement "just about every professional ethics committee or handbook would tell you to uphold your NDA". Nor do I believe that I can speak for just about every committee without consulting them beforehand, so I can't know what they would come up with in this situation.
In the end, I just fail to see why ethics in the professional world should receive special treatment. Different domain, same principles and rules.
But, it's been well over two decades I was pursuing a degree in philosophy.
By my reading of it, I'd feel obligated to publicly address this, and I don't consider it a breach of any sort of ethics I'd believe in, besides.
> Computing professionals should protect confidentiality except in cases where it is evidence of the violation of law, of organizational regulations, or of the Code. In these cases, the nature or contents of that information should not be disclosed except to appropriate authorities.
Not breaking the NDA is an issue w/r/t:
- 1.2 "Well-intended actions, including those that accomplish assigned duties, may lead to harm. When that harm is unintended, those responsible are obliged to undo or mitigate the harm as much as possible."
- 2.2 Maintain high standards of professional competence, conduct, and ethical practice.
- 2.7 "As appropriate to the context and one's abilities, computing professionals should share technical knowledge with the public"
- 2.7 again "a computing professional should respectfully address inaccurate or misleading information related to computing."
Similar but less clear cut whether it's unethical is when people go on 'practice' interviews where they don't have a serious interest in the position.
Is this... what's the word... ethical?
"Our investors think so!
It's not just the interview: It's picking the right clothes, going somewhere I've never been, getting there on time, and the general disruption to my day. I once went to an interview where it took me 90 minutes to find parking. Another time I got super-confused coming in the door because there was no receptionist and no one told me where to go in the building.
Oddly, you would probably also do much better, since wanting to do well at an interview is bad for one's interview performance. Desperation is a turn-off. You might end up with a lot of job offers. Until you decide to leave this company, of course, in which case you might suddenly lose your appeal...
It is basically spamming, not in email, SMS, or robo-calls, but in job interviews.
It seems there are no bounds to the areas that marketers will go to insert their message into your life, welcome or not.