LinkedIn: Posting a Job

In my ongoing interest in LinkedIn, I posted a job position today. The job is for a Java contractor on the team I’ll be working on in a few months.

Aside from finding a good coder, I’m interested in seeing how LinkedIn works as far as:

  • Ease of posting and managing job listings.
  • Quality & quantity of candidates who apply for job vs. what we’re used to getting.
  • Just an over-all gut feel for how good it is.

I’ll be sure to post about anything interesting that happens.

(The bummer of it all is that we don’t get referral bonuses for contractors.)

Over-priced Magazines on the Cheap

While my mother was in town this weekend, Kim, her, and I went to Borders to hang out for awhile. I took the chance to read/skim through a pile of magazines, the Harvard Business Review among them.

What’s the deal with the HBR being so God damned expensive? $100, on sale is way too much for a magazine when there’s so much free stuff out there, most of which I only half-ass read anyway.

Don’t Waste Your Customer’s Time & Money

I liked the
“Lean Consumption”
article whose point was the classic, “if you don’t piss off your customers, you’ll end up making more money.” After all these years, businesses still don’t abide by the ages old Golden Rule. Would you want to wait on hold forever to help? No? Your customers probably don’t want to either.

Having People Do What They Do Best

Then there was
“What Great Managers Do”
which, while a good article, really boils down to the following few sentence from the online abstract for it:

While there are countless management styles, one thing underpins the behavior of all great managers. Above all, an exceptional manager comes to know and value the particular quirks and abilities of her employees. She figures out how to capitalize on her staffers’ strengths and tweaks her environment to meet her larger goals.

Give Me Bullets Already

Maybe I’ve gone into hyper-skim-boy mode, but every time I read traditional media (magazines, books) I really wish they’d just give me the bullet points of the whole article ahead of time, and link each of them to more detail. That way, if I feel like I need more background, I can click on it and skim more indepth (so to speak).

My problem with doing this myself is that I feel like I’ll miss something if I just stop reading the article when I think I get the point, or if I do a more coarse grained skimming. I feel like I need to read/skim the entire article least I miss something. I could trust the bullet points though if it was understood that they represented all that I’d read in the article.

(I know what you’re thinking. You probably wish this post had bullet points ;>)

Fastcompany: Teams Over Me’s

Another free-read magazine was Fastcompany. I liked the “Me, Inc.: the Rethink” at the beginning. I’m always interested in the free-agent nation, people-as-brand, free-lance idea. They had a good sum-up of why it doesn’t work:

If you’re looking to apportion blame, look no further than your employer. Corporations don’t want Lord of the Flies playing out in their cubicles, with an army of personal brands battling the corporate one. Individuals haven’t wholly bought in either: It’s often more politic and, well, nicer, to share credit for successes than to throw colleagues under a bus.

Paying for Feed Searches, What I'd Pay For

Tim Bray writes that Technorati & co. should start charging for their services. Maybe large companies would pay for it — budgeting it as just another press clipping service — but all the search feeds I have aren’t really worth any money to me, an individual, non-business user. Here’s why:

  • I can’t use them to search for my name because both Michael and Cot&ecaute; are very common words, in English and French respectively.
  • Not enough people link to my websites that I can keep up with referrals via my server logs.
  • And, the one clutch of search feeds that are useful to me — news about where I work — aren’t really worth paying money for: it’s just interesting content to come across.
  • As Baus pointed out, frankly, most of the services aren’t that good. (Like he said, Blogdigger seems to be the best one so far.) Blogline‘s searches work out pretty well too.

Paying With My Eyeballs

I understand those folks need to pay the bills. Vally leases and racks don’t pay for themselves. I for one am all for RSS ads. It makes sense to me: just put text ads at the bottom of each RSS item that are contextualized to the content.

There’s a belief that The People will revolt if there’s ads in RSS. Maybe they will, but I think overall, people accept ads on the ‘net. More importantly, when it comes to getting services on the ‘net, there are 3 forms of payment:

  • Pay nothing…except maybe being tracked.
  • Seeing ads along with your content.
  • Subscription/Paying.

That is, seeing ads is a form of payment. In my book, if I have to pay for a service, seeing ads is (usually) a much more desirable than paying real money for it, or, not having that service at all. The last web thing I paid for (besides hosting) was my Flickr account, which has been well worth it. But, until then, there hasn’t been that much (blogger back when they had a pro setup) worth paying for.

Give Me Ads, or Give Me Nothing

So, to sum up: if Technorati & Co. started charging for their services without the option for seeing ads instead, I’d definitely just stop using it. I have a gut feel that thousands of other Technorati users out there are in my same boat as well. I’d wager that the 0-25% of the folks in the ocean liners — medium to large companies — would pay for it. The rest of us would just stay in our dinghy, happy to be afloat at all without all that fancy service

Real Search Feeds

What would I pay for in this area? I’d pay for RSS feeds of updates to Google search results. For example, I could enter in the query “link:www.drunkandretired.com” (the list of pages that link to this weblog). When I first subscribed to it, it’d contain all of the results. Then, as Google found new results, it’d throw an item in the RSS feed.

My user-goal with this setup would be to find all the new sites (blog, RSS, traditional web page, or otherwise) that link to my site. Put another way, it’d tell me about each new site Google found that linked to my weblog. I’d want to be able to do the same thing with any Google query: I don’t want to subscribe to the current results the query would return, I just want the diffs since I ran the query last. I want to new just the new results in the query every day/week/whatever.

With Google, I have to manually do this today and sort out the new links from the old links. It’s tedious, repetitive, and time consuming: the kind of stuff those amazing computers are really good at. Long ago, before weblogs, when we had to walk to each website we wanted to read (usually up hill, both ways, through snow), I’d do this manual searching about once a month for my websites.

The Context Bound Search

I’d probably pay a small fee for Google News Alerts in an RSS feed too…but don’t hold me to that. Which brings up another good point: search feeds that encompass the entire internet, or web, really aren’t as valuable as those that do searches over just a section of it. That is, it’s nice to have editors for your search that select which sites will be indexed, throwing out irrelevant ones.

That’s why I’d pay for Google News Alert feeds: I know the results will only be news sources, mostly of the traditional media type. Which is fine with me if I’m interested in keeping up with traditional media content-streams…which I am.

So, maybe that’d be another thing for the search feed companies to do: get more editors. I used to think About.com was a joke of a site (despite showing up all the damn time in my searches), but apparently, someone thinks it’s worth some serious cash. Despite all those framed search results and flashing banners, About.com did, and is doing, all right.

What would be better, for me, would be if the search feed companies had a bunch of editors like About.com: the editors would create context bound pools of content — like Google News does — to return search result from. Hopefully, this would remove all the crud.

Clearly, about.com has the chance to get crazy with RSS on it’s so called blogs (brother, whoever sold the notion that about.com was a bunch of blogs is the P.T. Barnum of the week). I’d love to subscribe to “blogs” like the Austin site. Sure, the content isn’t stellar, but it’s still another batch of content in bloglines.

And, as most of you, dear readers, know all too well, when it comes down to it, that’s the only user-goal I have: more content. Feed the content-hungry Coté!

More Fun With Ads: Shower Mirror

As folks may recall, I started shaving more for Kim’s birthday. I like brushing my teeth in the shower, so I thought I’d like shaving in the shower, so I bought one of these shower mirrors from Linen ‘n Things (from The Sharper Image):

It screws into your shower head, and then it somehow trickles water over your razor. So, when you go to use the razor, it’s all warmed up. There’s a little flash-light that comes with it, I don’t really use it: maybe when it gets really dark in the morning.

Blogines: Changing One Online Life at a Time

Susan explains how bloglines simplified her online reading:

I now go to one place and view all new items only. I no longer visit pages that have content I’ve already seen. I am able to consume far more information far more efficiently. I am quite simply in love with Bloglines.

In an email, she told me that she gets a panics feeling when she sees that a bloglines folder has 97 (or whatever) unread items in it…but then she realized that there’s always been those 97 unread items, it’s just that bloglines knows about them all instead of her having to hunt them down.

Re: Google Calendar

Damn, that’s a good insight. I’ve been longing for a calendar that would fit into my “digital lifestyle”: something with RSS feeds, the ability to make entries private/public/ACL controlled (at least like flickr has with me/family/friends/everyone), integration with Exchange (so I could load up all my work stuff), and sync’able to my iPod and other edge devices when they come around. Not all of those are ever together, so I haven’t really done any calendaring stuff beyond my work Exchange calendar. Even RSSCalendar doesn’t jump out at me as what I want.

All that me-blabbering aside, I like the thought of GMail w/Calendaring being a good SMB/Enterprise combo. If you put security all in it, you’d seal the deal. By “security all in it” I mean:

  • making so that email sent to other GMail people wasn’t “in the clear” like all Internet email is. This would allow you to knock out the concern that hosting all your corp. email would allow anyone who could sniff email to steal all your IP. So, if everyone in the company uses their email on GMail, you can have the same protection that an internal email server would have (where you don’t have to route emails out through the public Internet).
  • SSL up the entire connection to GMail (not just the login) so that people couldn’t sniff out your email while you were connected and reading it.

The other requirement for success would be to offer a free version (supported by TextAds, of course). Google could offer a pay one if they wanted that stripped out ads, added in domain names…whatever. The importance of having a free one is that groups within companies could skunk-works using it without having to go through the whole purchasing and IT gambits to get approval.

Once the groups started using it, everyone saw how damn cool it was, and that it had good ROI, TCO, and all around positive TLA compliance, then the wheels would be sufficiently greased to make it worth your trouble to go through the rigmarole that purchasing and internal IT departments foist on employees who want to pay for and introduce new technologies. It’s easier to officially start using something if you’re already unofficially using it.

And–BAAM!–Google would have another foot in the business-services market.