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It's not amazing. Technology has never been a prerequisite to business success and it certainly isn't one today. Does technical literacy help? Absolutely. But it's by no means necessary, and I'd say the majority of industries today don't require any of it. All you really need is an ability to build relationships and have something valuable to offer. If you've got those two down, you can very easily put yourself in a place where you can hire someone else to take care of the tech stuff.

I know doctors, real estate agents, lawyers, consultants, and a few successful CEOs who are very averse to using anything tech, and they're all raking it in just fine.

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The most impressive things are often the hardest to appreciate because they seem so effortless and don't stand in the way of an overall experience.

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Apologies will go around, investors won't be held accountable, employees will be fired to feign action, company culture won't change, and they'll all end up rich(er), more influential, and praised by this very community at the end of it all. Such is life, sadly.

I've been a loyal Uber customer for some time, and have defended them in the past, but there's an undeniable pattern that's emerged indicating a company culture I'd rather not support any longer.

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I think it's unlikely anyone even gets fired. They should, but I bet they won't.

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Because TC doesn't bother with the editing process anymore, here's a direct link to the letter: https://medium.com/@PresidentObama/my-plan-for-a-free-and-op...

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Thanks kyro. Also, here's the link to whitehouse.gov page: http://www.whitehouse.gov/net-neutrality

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I'm 99% sure when I first clicked this link it was the whitehouse.gov one. Why did it get changed to techcrunch?

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I took a quick look at the logs and it seems to always have been techcrunch.com until we changed it a minute ago.

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Bringing on a VC is such a huge commitment and with capital becoming easier and easier to come by, I'm often baffled by why there's currently no place online to openly talk about investors and others' experiences with them.

It seems terribly one-sided that investors demand company financials, founder profiles, go through the entire due diligence process, while the community is relatively hush-hush about openly discussing bad experiences and shitty investors.

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I wonder if ratemyvc.com is taken?

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> I'm often baffled by why there's currently no place online to openly talk about investors and others' experiences with them.

Defamation laws are, depending on where you are, very powerful and very expensive to defend.

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This is a reality that most do not want to accept. Is it just? Probably not.

I've often viewed this as Thinkers vs. Workers. Society places a high value on Thinkers, those who make decisions, strategize, make connections, build relationships, etc. Those who fall in this camp are doctors, lawyers, consultants, CEOs, etc. The Workers -- programmers, engineers, designers -- are often fungible. They are in a competitive market of manual laborers that has driven down the price of labor to levels that, for many, increase the opportunity cost of learning the tech yourself. Over time, Thinkers accumulate social capital that can be leveraged to gain benefits, both related and unrelated to their profession -- e.g. a doctor being given preferential treatment by a restaurant host. Workers accumulate labor capital; they're more efficient at their work, can develop more creative solutions. But put a 50yr old coder up against a 50yr old lawyer/doctor/banker and the latter will be given more praise, more money, more influence 9 times out of 10.

Even Workers eventually outsource their labor once they're in a position to become a Thinker. Few successful startup CEOs and execs are actually coding themselves. Their roles shift to strategy, operations, so on and and so forth, for that's where they're valued and will be rewarded the most.

And getting a graduate degree is often the ticket to be considered a Thinker, whether MD, MBA, JD, PhD.

That's the game, whether you like it or not, and it certainly won't be changing anytime soon. If money is a priority, becoming a Thinker might be in your best interest.

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>>>> Their roles shift to strategy, operations, so on and and so forth, for that's where they're valued and will be rewarded the most.

Those are the roles where you can't trust anybody to do them for you without fleecing you. Even MBA's are loath to fully entrust those roles to other MBA's. The top management of our company has an elaborate review process for strategy and operations, and no high level review process for coding.

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My upvote wasn't enough: Your comment summarizes simple but important career and life insight that most people have to learn the hard way; I wish more people would read it.

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There's certainly economic truth in this position. But putting doctors and CEOs in the same category seems a bit off to me. Certainly, CEOs and consultants aren't stupid, but it seems that there are other skills in play as well, some of which can be expressed in words with both positive and negative connotations. Being a "thinker" isn't sufficient to be a CEO.

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Twitter is terrible for meaningful conversation and debate. And I say that as an avid user.

Networking, sharing links, tidbits of insight, short messages, and Q&As all work really well. I've learned quite a bit from the curated articles and reports tweeted by those I follow. And if you follow the right people and engage appropriately, Twitter can open up a lot of opportunities. But anything beyond that is a waste of time, and can border damaging.

In fact, for all the good Twitter has facilitated (protests, revolutions, etc), I think it's having some negative impact. It is by far the most popular platform where individuals of all backgrounds, beliefs, and opinions congregate and interact, but it's built in a way where it is absolutely not conducive to meaningful debate, and so when the huge opinionated masses clash, the bite-sized arguments volleyed by either side are taken without context and nuance, further igniting and polarizing people. I'm seeing this happen with issues like feminism and Islam, where someone will tweet a very distilled version of a larger and more thorough opinion, it will be taken at face-value, someone will retweet it with a snarky comment, it snowballs into a food fight with enraged people retweeting/replying, and the original tweeter trying to add context but not being able to keep up with the reactionary domino effect. And because Twitter has almost become the official sounding board for many people, their tweets and reactions to those tweets contribute to their public image, reputation, and online presence, all damaged by death threats, accusations of sexism, bigotry, racism, etc, often thrown around unwarranted by people taking things out of context and who feel antagonized or polarized because of the way Twitter is structured.

And that's why I avoid tweeting about religion, politics, and databases.

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I would be hesitant to purchase another Fitbit device. As someone who was a hugely loyal fan of theirs, they've repeatedly dropped the ball.

I've had to replace multiple devices for loss of functionality, poor quality of the Flex band, and wrist rashes. To their credit, they've been more than responsive and replaced my products no questions asked, but it's all left me with a sour taste. Their simplistic app, confusing calorie tracking and refusal to integrate HealthKit doesn't help.

Fitbit was on top a few years back when the wearables game was still young, so a slip up here and there was acceptable, but now there are a ton of competitors with great products, so research your options.

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Lots of things make me regret not studying engineering, but this certainly takes the cake and the entire bakery.

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Its never too late. Start now.

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Says the guy with the user name toomuchtodo...

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31 year old Operations/DevOps at a startup. I still find time to build CNC mills from scratch, and my current/long-term project is building a 40' sailing vessel for a circumnavigation.

I have no college education. I can weld (quite well), I've built 3d models for laser sintering, I've assembled carbon fiber body panels. If you want to do something, learn how to do it. Then go do it!

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I can also weld, and never finished the degree. I've played some with CF, and rather than build one, I bought a CNC mill.

My son had an idea, so I learned injection molding (smallworks.com).

Companies I've helped start have both cratered (Vivato) and had successful exits (Wayport).

I'm 52.

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I'd love to buy you a beer or coffee sometime and chat about our shared interests!

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Unfortunately, this only tends to work during periods of economic prosperity. When times get tough, those without credentials usually seem to be the first to be ousted.

But I've long wondered whether that's true. How'd you fare during 2008? It'd be nice to collect some datapoints from someone else.

The phenomenon seemed most true just after The Bubble. I think tptacek mentioned he had some pretty substantial credentials yet finding a job was extraordinarily difficult.

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Faired okay in 2008. Company I was working for went out of business (was IT manager making $96K/yr), was hired 3 months later to do IT operations for datataking for a detector at the Large Hadron Collider ($86K/yr). Managed ~6K linux boxes, had a good time, learned what essentially became my DevOps career. Left after a year to go back into the private sector for a $40K/year salary increase managing datacenters.

I've only been asked 3-4 times about my college education (or lack thereof), and its never stopped me from getting a job. YMMV.

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this can happen only in NA: people w/out school lead data centers. I know a Sociologist who was a Director of IT Strategy and Planning, a retail salesman and Preacher becoming Oracle Developer (I had to visit internal establishments of a big job agency just to see who is it that they are hiring for Oracle positions because I, who started doing Oracle with it's first commercial version, Oracle 5 Beta in 1988., and worked in and around Oracle ever since, was certainly not amongst those lucky souls. They even told me, just before the Internet Bust 2000-2002 that "they will not be recommending me for Oracle projects"!? I made sure that in the last 14 years, every 6mths or so I send an email to that person starting always with that quotation and always reminding him that I was the state Champion of Math and Physics at the age of 17 and never mentioning my University Electrical Engineering degree and M.Sc. Computer Science including 25 years of experience in IT - btw, in order to feed my family, back in the 90s, I had to go low level, deep down low where no shoe salesman can ever go, writing STREAMS drivers and Unix communication gateways - ALL other positions were taken by people not educated in IT, computer science and electrical engineering. 2000s improved a bit: they started hiring Chemical and Mechanical engineers in IT as well, but not computer science and electrical engineers. Nowadays still 80% of IT positions are taken by intruders in the field!), etc. etc. NA led world to this Slump of All Slumps from which it will never recover, read my lips

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Reading what you wrote, I wonder if you've considered that there might be non-technical, more personal reasons you've had a hard time finding employment in your field. Holding a 14-year-long nastygram-writing grudge against a job agency doesn't seem like the best use of your clearly valuable time. I really mean no offense here; I've had to make some adjustments in my way of dealing with people over the years, as well.

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there are too many stories. On 23rd of Dec 1999. I went for an interview with XXX, an Enron like looser company (btw, this is what happened in Enron, a distilled hitchhiker guide to enronization of NA: a company A sold assets to company B. Company A continued to use those assets). This was my second or third coming to their establishments (first time I visited them they were porting from Ingres to Oracle; on my second visit (different) they informed me they are porting from Oracle to - Ingres). So here I am on 23rd of Dec. 1999. I was greeted by a - think John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever - a "project manager" (btw "project manager", "business analyst" and similar stupidities are all The Tools of Corruption of Enormous Proportions. Project Management exists...in projects like NASA Space Shuttle etc. Or Hadron Colider and similar. But to create a "project" around 4 (four) lines of Perl code?? That is plain stupidity (I used Perl intentionally to express my disgust with all of that nonsense which cost NA economies trillions and trillions of dollars, together with so called "HR departments", "job agencies" and similar stupidities). Back to our Travoilta PM. The guy had an Oracle book besides him (!it takes a disco dancer to at least come close to something that has any connection to Oracle whatsoever. All other idiots who declined my application for Oracle jobs, they opted for so called "behavioural" interviews (these are interviews where milk can be white or black, depending on the wish of the Travolta, pardon "interviewer"). Of course Travolta didn't understand a word I was saying. I was looking those huge establishments with 1000s of cubicles and at that moment I knew one thing with 100% certainty: this is going down sharply very soon. I knew something (but not enough, and not enough time to learn more) about short selling. I remember thinking: this Travolta company's stock is $125 and it must go to $60 no question about it. I had 300,000 at the time. Long story short: the stock went down not to $60, not even to $6, but TO F. 6 CENTS (!). From $125 to 6 cents. And I was a prime witness and I due to trading inexperience did nothing. I mean how many stock analysts could have such opportunity to observe a praised (top 3 companies in the field) company from inside and spot a huge technical signal: SELL, SELL, SELL.

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> When times get tough, those without credentials usually seem to be the first to be ousted.

I have seen those without credentials having a harder time finding work, but I don't see why they would be the first to be ousted. Credentials are great for making the first cut in applying for a job, because they have to make that decision with relatively little time and effort. Credentials are also great for applying to companies that have little trust in their ability to interview candidates, but after you have been there for a while, they know what you can do. It doesn't make sense to get rid of people based on lack of credentials (and I've never seen it happen).

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My anecdotal experience agrees with you. Also, having a decent network negates most issues "making the cut" (in the vast majority of cases).

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network, you mean - corruption?

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Knowing decision makers who are going to bypass HR filters.

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of course it does, read my post above. Even if an uneducated person is (uneducated) Edison himself as for every Edison there is an (educated) Tesla. No exceptions allowed

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The kind of people that would judge a person over a piece of paper are not the kind of people that anyone would want to work for.

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When it comes to hiring, a degree acts as a filter. Let's say 200 people apply for a post. (and when the economy is bad that number goes up). I know that of the 200 probably 20 would be perfect for the job.

Now I don't want to interview 200, because all I need to find is one of the 20. So first thing to do is filter the pile based on some objective measure. Having a degree is a quick way to get from 200 to 100 or less. And my experience has shown, that at least for some jobs, the bulk of the 20 will be in the 100 that are left.

Of course I'm talking about technical jobs here - if I was looking for a carpenter I'd use a different filter.

Are there people who would be perfect for the job excluded in the filtering process? Of course the are. But I'm going to reject 19 perfectly good candidates anyway so filtering a few out early is fine.

Of course the filter is not the only filter, and is not absolute. Experience trumps education so good specific experience can get you through to. And (for me) personal passion for the work trumps them all. That's hard to put in a resume, but is great whe I find it.

Incidentally of the 200 resumes the goal is to interview as few as possible. Ideally < 10. Like I say, I don't need 20 great people, just 1.

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Using a degree as a filter tells me the company in question is absolutely horrible at hiring. Grab a dart board. Just as effective.

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In a completely random spread is should be able to discard 90% of the applications without even looking at them. That's you dart-board approach.

In order to improve the odds though one can apply some reasonable filter. Any filter that does a better job of improving the dart board odds is, by definition, better than a dart board.

Now different jobs benefit from different filters. If I'm applying to do a job that takes a high-functioning brain, then it makes sense to apply a filter that already clasifying people based on mental ability.

It's important to understand that the goal is not to find the best 20 people. The goal is not to even find the best person. (because after some level the notion of "best" is highly subjective.) the goal of a recruiter is to find someone who is capable, and is good at the job.

The goal of you, the person trying to get hired, is to get past the filters. You may think you're the "best" person for the job ( but how would you know without yourself interviewing the other 199?)

Some filters, like a college degree, are hard to overcome. Because I can completely ignore you and still succeed in my task of hiring someone. To be honest what -you- think of my filter(s) is irrelevant. I'm not out to find every quality candidate - just fining 1 is sufficient.

If you find you are being negatively affected by hiring filters then you need to be creative about overcoming that.

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You wouldn't filter out people who have no experience or knowledge of the job field? So if you have a grocery store bagger with no other job experience or schooling applying for a highly technical position that also requires managing 20 people and budgeting several million dollars, you would interview them?

That seems like a waste of time for both sides.

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this sounds like a very good reasoning. with your permission I'll pass it on to different other forums/blogs, like a prime example of Hiring Common Sense reasoning, Effectiveness in Hiring , something that was (with purpose?) dismantled in the years that preceded 2000-2002 Internet Bust and following Decade Long (And Counting) Bust

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Sure, do what you like - there's no patent on common sense.

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Statements like this are really easy to make when you have money to support your family. I've often said "I don't want to work for someone who does [x]" then taken a job for someone doing [x] and a lot worse because when push comes to shove, I needed the money.

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14 years ago, mostly because people like you, I got high blood pressure. I started to read a lot about it in the coming years and, in my twisted mind, I even considered myself to be an expert in the filed (!?), more so because in my University times I was doing research in Biocybernetics, digital processing of biomedical signals etc. So I was on the health forums, writing about the subject like some, God forbid, doctor. I was in a heated discussion and a forum member, a Cardiologist, told me: "- Listen, go and read 9000 pages so that you can become a Cardiologist. Then come back and we can discuss". I thought for the moment, remembered my 47 exams in University Electrical Engineering department, and wholeheartedly agreed with him. I never wrote a single post about health again

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The trick is to learn some things that don't require a lot of company support. "Gold standard" skills, if you like. I sell books and classes, for instance.

Those still get harder in a downturn, but you need less company agreement that your skills are good. Instead, sell directly to people who mostly don't care about your formal credentials.

It's not perfect. But even a little goes a long way.

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Learn skills that are in demand in any org. I can do Sysadmin/Network Admin/IT Manager/Devops for an enterprise, a SMB, a startup, or even consulting part-time if you don't need a full-time person.

You don't need AWS? Cool, I can manage Hyper-V, Openstack, or VMware. You use .NET instead of Python? I can do that. You need me to be customer facing? Easy as pie.

I am not an IT professional. I've a business professional that uses IT to solve problems.

EDIT: /u/todayiamme, saw your reply you wanted to get in touch. I'd love to!

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While I'm young (24), I'm putting my effort into cultivating that sort of attitude. Learning is something I love in general, and one great thing about our industry is how there is that you can learn and apply, and how applicable skills from things that aren't directly related actually are. Basically, what you've done is what I want to do, so thanks for the inspiration :)

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bad news for you all: in 2014 I noticed, for the first time in 25 years, a slight shift toward Common Sense Hiring: companies are, still bashfully, starting to hire Computer science engineers on IT positions, just like in 60s and 70s. Mind you, this is just a signal for the trend reversion. Expect, in the next five years, full blown shift toward Common Sense Hiring - ONLY Software Engineers on Software IT positions, and ONLY Computer/Electrical Engineers on Hardware IT positions. No exceptions whatsoever. For the first time in 25 years I, the man who was fired numerous times by people without school, "fired" a company. I gave the pink slip to a company which paid me well for two years (140,000 net) because they abused me. Why is this happening? My research shows that many high posts are shaking. For the first time in 25 years management is fearful. And when they are fearful they know how to hire, rest assured (but they still like to abuse quality workers, the WORKHORSE, along the way - the sadism is an illness). Right now, what they are doing, is the following: they take a WORKHORSE and abuse him until he dies with a view to hiring another WORKHORSE when the first one dies. And so on.

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I tip my hat to you sir (or miss)! Never stop learning, and you'll go far. And if you don't want to go far, you'll have fun in the process.

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After you get 8+ years of real world experience doing what you do under belt, your education becomes irrelevant in most fields.

So if you've been lucky enough to have someone believe in you without caring about your missing degree, and you do that for enough years, you should be just fine.

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> So if you've been lucky enough to have someone believe in you without caring about your missing degree, and you do that for enough years, you should be just fine.

I'd say luck comes into play in any job. You could have an ivy league background. Now someone thinks you're overqualified for the position, and picks the cheaper candidate.

In my case, it was part luck and part a numbers game. I was 17, and applied at ~30 companies for their IT roles. Why not? It was cheap for me (print resume, mail, follow up over phone) both in resources and time. I took pics with of my racks of older cheap PCs in my parent's basement doing distributed.net's RC5 challenge, all networked and cable tied, proxy configs, etc. It wasn't a hard sell to a decision maker.

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That also depends on the population of your country! In India, you are worthless without a degree. People look down on non engineers. Even bachelor of science in computer science is considered crap. Your value as a developers depends only on how many other developers are out there.

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Wow. I am terribly sorry to hear that. :(

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I would love to see details on your 40' sailing vessel project. How much of it is your own design and how much of it involves relying on designs from others.

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I'll have details up on my blog someday! I rely heavily on other designs, as I'm no nautical engineer, but I do pull elements from different craft designs (its a catamaran).

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Awesome. Would love to see you/r progress. That's on my dream list.

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sweet. my friend dominic from nz has been working on a similar project.

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Curious if you happen to have a significant other or family that would consume a significant chunk of your potential free time.

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I built my CNC mill with my wife. She's helping me build my boat. We've been married 6 years, and we enjoy working on projects together. We also try to spend as much time with extended family as possible.

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Awesome, glad to hear you've been able to find a balance. Sounds like a big part of that is your shared interests in these areas with your wife which allows you to focus the time there.

Out of curiosity, how much technical knowledge was needed for the CNC mill?

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> Awesome, glad to hear you've been able to find a balance. Sounds like a big part of that is your shared interests in these areas with your wife which allows you to focus the time there.

Most definitely. I'm not a sit on the couch and watch TV sort of guy. I need to be doing something, and I love that my wife loves to join me in my endeavors.

> Out of curiosity, how much technical knowledge was needed for the CNC mill?

6-8 hours of research.

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Thanks for validating my attempted trajectory. It's really encouraging to hear stuff like this. Kudos to you for making life just as you want it.

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Please talk more about the CNC mills, as this is my current obsession.

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Family life will slow those plans down considerably

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Life is all about prioritizing the things that are important to you. If I have to work less to still work on projects and have a family life, I can do that.

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That's badass!

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Thank you!

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Don't feed the trolls.

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Engineering is simply systematic application of thought to solving problems. Breaking problems to smaller logical solvable units and then just solving them.

Engineering is not reading a few books and appearing for exams.

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> Bankers' best guesses about the Vatican's wealth put it at $10 billion to $15 billion.

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,833509,...

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In my mind, I wonder if you could draw mental comparisons between the Catholic church and universities. Both use an endowment to further their goals, expansion, charity, but there is a implicit desire to keep growing the endowment to further those goals. Ponder for a minute -- Harvard was chartered in 1636 and has an endowment of $36.4 billion. If the church spends most of the money it receives/earns every year, why not just come out and state it?

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So .5 to .8 WhatsApps?

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