Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My Latest Project Launches: PayScale Meeting Miser

PayScale Meeting Miser
Have you ever wanted to know how much the meeting you were in was costing? Back when I was working at a huge company, I felt like I often had to go to big and boring meetings. More than once I figured out an approximate cost of the meeting, and more than once I was a little flabbergasted by how easy it is to rack up a $3,000 meeting.
Back when I started at PayScale, my coworkers were listing off all of the projects that I would be working on in the next couple of months... and this was one of them. This project made sense to me, and I knew exactly who was going to be using it. me.
So, give the Meeting Miser a try, and see if you think its as cool as I do :-)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Why PayScale is Better than Boeing

A couple of months ago, I asked a friend if they wanted to come work for PayScale. They responded: "How do you think working at PayScale is compared to working at Boeing?" Well, I answered question... and decided that I liked my response enough to post it.




Our office is in Pioneer Square

Their offices are in Renton, or Everett, or Auburn, or Bellevue, or BFI. You don’t get to decide where you’ll be, and you will be expected to drive between the places

For lunch, you have the option to go one of several cheap and delicious establishments. Most notably is the world famous Salumi. But don’t forget about Tat’s Deli, Bakeman’s, The New Orleans, and many others.

Boeing’s lunch cafĂ©. You’ll be able to choose from rubbery meat, an iceberg-lettuce salad bar, or a Snapple. Nothing delicious; everything overpriced.

You’ll be working on stuff that people actually see, use and find helpful in life

You’ll be working on an internal system to track other internal systems so that “upper management” can complain that we have too many internal systems.

You’re 1 out of 55

You’re 1 out of 155,000

You get lots of stock options

You get ShareValue Trust (which is pretty damn sweet)

You don’t like how something is going? Go talk to the CEO, or the VP of Engineering… their offices are 20 feet away and they’re always willing to listen

You don’t like how something is going? Go talk to your manager, who will talk to his manager, who will talk to his/her colleague, who will talk to one of their employees, who is the person in charge of the project you’re working on… and maybe things can change.

You have a good idea how we can make money? Sweet… we’ll put it into the dev cycle.

You have a good idea? Too bad, the Chairman’s Innovation Initiative got shut down. Your manager’s budget is already too overbooked. Their manager’s budget isn’t doing any better. While the company is on one of the strongest up-swings it’s ever had… every group there is having to cut budget.

Want to go to a conference? Sweet, that sounds like a good idea. Take good notes because this conference looks really good

Um… yeah. Submit your request to the Conference Attendance Core Team for approval. While the CACT recognizes that this conference looks good, there is not enough time to get all the necessary approvals for your request. Plus, do you really want to use Travel Manager?

Remember: A lot of people love working for Boeing; it just wasn't the place for me. There are lots of reasons to work for Boeing, they're just documented elsewhere in this blog.

Monday, June 25, 2007

PayScale on ScobleShow

Its funny about the little things that change when you move to a small company. When I was at Boeing, there were (and still are) dozens of articles written every day about Boeing, most of them being totally insignificant to the company. Now, being at a Startup... every article that comes out is important.
Robert Scoble interviewed PayScale's founder, Joe Giordano, recently for the ScobleShow. Joe talks about PayScale's methodology, our search technology, and he mentions one of the features that we're working on right now: the Job Flower (although, that name is totally unofficial and will be changing :-)). If you want to hear about it, he mentions it at about minute 19 in the video.
Why am I excited about the Job Flower? Because its my first major project at PayScale.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Boeing Pays the Bills

I recently got, what I assume is, my last check from Boeing. As you can see... it is for $0.20 (twenty cents). Yes, I'm glad that Boeing's accounting system is precise enough to notice that they still owe me $.20. Now comes the a great question:
Did they really mail it? or was it direct desposited?
Guess what kids: they sent me a real check.

Is the check worth the paper it is printed on?
I'm going to guess no. This is pretty thick paper and its got watermarks on it. I'm going to estimate that this piece of paper cost $.40

Was it worth the time?
For me, yes it was. This check is comedic-gold. I've been carrying it around for a week showing it to all of my friends.
For Boeing, probably not. At Boeing, we would assume that it costs anywhere between $100 to $150 an hour to get something done. So if we use $100/hour, that comes out to about $.03/second. So, if someone spent 7 or more seconds reviewing this check... then it wasn't worth it. I'll estimate that it took 10 seconds of review to get this check out the door, which is $.30.

What about postage?
So, I guess this means that the envelope is worth more than the check itself. It cost $.33 to mail the check. Tack on a few cents for the actual envelope, and we're up to $.35.

$.40 for the check paper
$.30 for labor
$.35 for the envelope and postage
$1.05 as a total... not including the $.20 they paid me.
$1.25 all together
And to compute efficiency, I'm going to divide what they owed me by the total... and it comes out to 16%.

All that said... I miss all my Boeing friends. I hope you're all doing well. And, if you have a spare 787 Launch Pass... you should probably email me.

Update: Through some more magic of Boeing's accounting system, I just got another check. This one for the staggering sum of $0.88.

Arbitrary Milestones

I am talking to my friend Zaheer on the phone... and I mentioned that I was about to break 60,000 page views to this website (according to my stat tracker). Zaheer visited the site, became the 60,000th visitor to Doing Boeing. Thanks for playing Zaheer. He doesn't actually win anything, but I still think its cool.

More arbitrary milestones:
  • 3 years before May 11th, I wrote my first blog post about Boeing.
  • This is the 140th published post to this blog
    • I wrote several posts after frustrating days at work, but decided against posting them
  • May 30th was my 25th birthday
  • Today was my one month anniversary at my new job
  • I paid my first mortgage payment on June 1st

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Unofficial Boeing Intern Guide

I get this question every year: "What should I do while I'm in Seattle." or something of that nature.
  • If you're working in Renton: you need to go to lunch at Cedar River Smokehouse. Its awesome. They've got great BBQ sandwiches.
  • Go to the intern classes. I used to help run them. They're really fun, and the teachers are good friends of mine. They get some really interesting people to come talk at them. Every once in a while, the speaker brings some free stuff to give out too.
  • Go on every tour you can. Make sure you get your manager's approval.... but s/he should be totally cool with it.
    • Everett factory tour is cool... the non-public tour is sweet.
    • The wind tunnel is pretty sweet too. They don't have this tour ever year, so take it if you can
    • The flight simulators are cool (duh)
    • Surprisingly... the tour of the Bellevue Data Center is pretty damn cool too. Or maybe I'm just a huge nerd and I'm the only one that thinks its cool
  • Don't eat lunch at your desk. Go find other interns or new hires to eat with. I know its nice to get to leave work 30 minutes early... but seriously... make some damn friends.
  • Go rafting with the whitewater club (BEWET)
While you're in Seattle for the summer:
  • Get a sandwich (the Midnight Cuban) from Paseo's in Fremont
  • Get a sandwich from Salumi in Pioneer Square
  • go take a picture of Seattle at Sunset from Kerry Park on Queen Anne
  • get to Bite of Seattle at the Seattle Center
  • Find your way onto a boat for the hydro races at Seafair. You'll love your life if you do.
  • Go to a Mariners game. Buy the cheap tickets and hang out in the beer garden.
If you're old enough to drink:
  • Fremont is the "chill" drinking area. Only one of the bars has a dance floor, and the rest are just bars... and lots of them have decks.
  • If you really want to go "clubbing" I guess Pioneer Square is where you'd want to head (although, I generally avoid this scene).
  • If you want a "fancy" night of drinking and perhaps some dancing: Go to Belltown.
There are some good day trips too:
And... unless you really need to save the money... this is my advice: Spend every cent that you make this summer. Have the summer of your life. When I was an intern, I came out at the end of the summer with about enough money to buy a BBQ.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Done with Boeing

I've made a big decision: I've left Boeing.

I guess I'm not sure what else to say. Why did I leave? Honestly, its because I wanted something new. I'd been at Boeing for 2 years, 3 months, and 10 days... and I felt like I was beginning to stagnate.

What am I doing now? Tomorrow (Monday) is my first day at my new job. I'm going to be Program Manager at PayScale.com.

What is going to happen to this blog? I'm not sure yet. I plan on leaving it online indefinitely. Will I keep writing to it? yes. Indefinitely? probably not. I've got lots of material left to blog about, I just have to find the time.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Carnegie Mellon West

I get a surprising number of questions about my school. So I thought I would share a little information with you.
I'm getting a Masters of Science in Information Technology from Carnegie Mellon University (West Coast Campus) in a program called "Software Development Management." The way I like to explain it is like this: Its everything about developing software except writing the actual code.
The school itself is a "startup" school in two senses of the word:
  1. It hasn't been open for long.
  2. Its nestled in among all the Silicon Valley technology startups
It has several well-known establishments backing it though:
  1. It is Carnegie Mellon University. One of the best computer science (and technology in general) school in the world.
  2. Companies like Lockheed-Martin and Boeing help develop the curriculum.
Just like any school, its had its ups and its downs... but overall, it has been a very worth-while experience (of course, I can only say this because I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel).

The school is based in Moutainview California, and I live in Seattle. How has that worked out? Well, all of the classes are over the phone with LiveMeeting sessions. All of the classes are team-based, and as a team we're given a project and told to go do it. The professors (or "coaches") help us along the way... but we really "learn by doing." I, initially, was really skeptical of this method of school, but it has turned out to be very effective.

News Articles about Carnegie Mellon West

And... if you do have any questions, feel free to email me (or leave a comment here)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Fashion Show

I got the email invitation from a couple female friends... and it said: "we helped organize a fashion show and you can get some training credit, you guys should come." The email had a link to a flyer and a website to RSVP on. But, why would I look at the flyer? I already know where it is, what it is, and how long it is. I put it on my, 12PM-2PM. Huh, why is it 2 hours long? That seems like a long time for a fashion show.

I get there... and didn't know that they were going to be serving lunch. They are. Freakin sweet... I love free lunch. I'm going to be getting training credit for this, so they scan my badge and give me a packet of information (which I still haven't opened)

At this point, I'm by myself... I haven't seen anyone I know. In fact, I haven't seen another man. Every one of the other 200 people are all strangers and are definitely all women. What have I gotten myself into? I silently slid to a mostly empty table and ate my finger foods.

A random woman comes by and says: "Oh! I'm glad you came! We have male models too." Great, now everyone thinks I'm here to look at men.

The show hasn't started yet, so I do what any uncomfortable man would do... I went to go get more food. It was a great defense mechanism because then the people who were joining my table weren't trying to talk to me. Luckily, at the food table I bumped into my friend KP and one of her friends. And they end up joining me at the table I was at. Then Briggys joined us. Great, I had friends that could buffer me from all the older women that I didn't want to talk to.

Alright, I'm ready for a 2 hour fashion show now. Nope. First, we're getting a presentation about being a "Polished Professional." This subject matter was definitely focused more to women, which I understand... because I was one of four men in the whole audience. I actually disagreed with the presenter on several points, but kept my trap shut because I was out of my element (I know... weird, huh?). A lot of her presentation was based on traditional/older assumptions about business dress/etiquette and I'm not sure valid any longer. The stuff that presented that seemed intelligent was really just common sense... and it was actually slightly scary that these things had to be vocalized (i.e. Don't wear a shirt that people can see down. Don't wear a skirt that people can see up). There were also some questions asked that were slightly disturbing:
  • "What color socks should I wear with these slacks?"
  • "What color shoes should I wear?"
Good thing I wasn't answering these questions... because I wouldn't have been very nice.
  • "Hmm... instead of having trouble deciding which color socks you should wear... just stay home. If you can't make that call by yourself, you probably aren't really helping around the office either."
  • "Blue shoes Honey, black shoes are so over"
Anyways... after a while I started spacing out because some much of the content didn't pertain to me. Then the fashion show happened! They basically just had some employees some out in some nice looking clothes. There were actually some really cute models/employees. The male models were awesome.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Levels of a Relationship


I've spend a considerable amount of time in the past two years trying to find a woman I like, and that likes me. Because I was a little overweight from high school through college, I missed out on some of the social education that you normally gain during that time. Specifically, what you learn about "wooing" women. Since I've graduated, I've lost a few pounds... and started learning about the process of the woo. Because I'm a nerd, I've made some PowerPoint slides about it.

Relationship Levels

The Levels - Slide 1 - The Levels
I created the original four Levels during a rant at a local drinkery. I was then asked to recount my levels a few more times after that. They seemed to get more and more defined with each iteration. Most of my friends, at this point, have heard my Levels... so I thought I'd share them with a broader audience. And what better way than through my blog?
The three additional Levels have only been added in the last month or so.

Relationship Timeline

The Levels - Slide 2 - Timeline
There is lots of Level jumping at the beginning of a relationship. This makes sense because the beginning of a relationship is often hectic. Things generally smooth out and because less hectic the longer you've been together.
Of course, proceed at your own pace. And, when I say "your own pace," I mean the pace that has been set forth and agreed to by both parties. One person wanting to move faster than the other is not going to work.

Relationship Costs

The Levels - Slide 3 - Cost
These are really rough estimates, because these numbers vary so greatly between different women. Some women would expect higher percentages than this, some women won't.

Concluding Notes

  • It should be noted that I am in no way an expert in relationships, not even close. There are a few women around the Seattle area that can confirm this. What I am, is a huge nerd... and I thought it would be funny to make these slides.
  • Of course, when you meet the right girl/guy. All these levels and Gantt charts and cost ratios go right out the window. It just happens.
  • If you are a girl I've dated or am currently "in a relationship" with... don't take any of this personally. There isn't anything in here that is specific to any one girl.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

You Know You Work For Boeing...

I know... 2 posts in 2 days. This is some sort of a roll. Unfortunately, the only people who are going to think most of these are funny are current Boeing employees.

Checklist to know if you're a Boeing Employee:
  • You're now that a-hole that schedules meetings for 7:30AM. When you first got to Boeing, you wondered how-in-the-hell were you going to make it to a 7:30AM meeting? Now you heckle anyone who gets into the office later than 7:00AM

  • You need to know what kind of plane you're flying on. You used to dread flying anywhere... now you dread that a coworker might see you boarding an Airbus. You heed the words: If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going

  • When you're driving past Boeing Field on the freeway, you strain your neck to see what airplanes are landing and taking off. And, you always look over to see what planes are at the Flight Test Center (just FYI, the Dreamlifter and 737-900ER are still there).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cubicle Life: Defense Tactics

I know I suck... its been a while since I've written anything. Whatever, get over it.

Work isn't always fun and games. Sometimes its annoying. Here are some techniques I've learned, developed and employed thus far to avoid the annoying coworkers.

This is your number one defense mechanism. There is a balance that must be maintained here; If you always wear your headphones, they become less effective. However, if you don't over-do it, headphones are a sign that you're "in the zone," and you should be left alone.

Hands-free Headset
This one is difficult. It works for me though because it seems like one of my projects is always having all-day telecons to fix problems. That means I can pop in and out during the day when needed to block unwanted coworker conversation starters. "Oh... sorry, I've got to dial in to this meeting... sorry."

Empty Coffee Mug
This is actually a fairly advanced technique, but once set up, this play can be run against a hurry-up offensive. Required tools: Two identical coffee mugs. Thats is. If you catch someone that is enroute to annoy and distract you... grab an empty coffee cup and stand up like you're going to get something to drink. Why do they have to be identical? It just seems to throw people off more.

Preemptive Strike
If you go to someone else's desk to BS, you're in control... you can leave whenever you please (this is also useful to know if you're going to break up with your girlfriend... go to her house). Once every 3 hours or so, make a round through the office saying "whats up" to everyone that might annoy you later. Make sure to keep the conversation light. And for God's sake... don't talk about their kids; they'll ramble for hours.

Work From Home
You'll notice that you get a lot more done when you work from home (actually work... not just answer emails and do laundry). This disadvantage for this one is that you'll miss the free food from meetings, and the people you actually like in your office.

Hostile Personality
This isn't one I've done... but I've seen it work quite effectively. Be an asshole. Nobody talks to that guy.

Be Annoying
If you ramble on for hours about your kids, or complain about "management" all of the time... rest assured, very few people are going to want to come talk to you.

(To be fair... pretty much everyone in my office is cool. I'm just really irritable.)