Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I interest you in working at Amazon?
No. (Seriously, don't you people have a CRM?)
2. LOL, Amazon is terrible. Can I interest you in a VC-funded...
I prefer the more organic pace of development at companies that are bootstrapped and profitable. I'm also relatively specialized in ways that don't tend to be a good fit for early startups.
Also, anything involving the "gig economy" or the word "blockchain" is a hard no for ethical reasons, and "AI" is on shaky ground.
For more details, see What I Look For.
3. Can we set up a quick phone call to chat?
This question is asked frequently enough that I could easily spend all day just talking to recruiters. As such, my default answer has to be "first, please read What I Look For."
Seriously, though: please read What I Look For. That page covers many of the topics we'd discuss in an intro call. If you start there, we can both save a lot of time and have a much more interesting conversation.
Video calls seem to have become the default since the advent of COVID-19, but this still bears mentioning: I hate the phone with a fiery passion. Because my brain is much better at processing text than speech, conversations are considerably easier for me when I can see your facial expressions and body language. For me, the phone is the worst possible medium because it combines the urgency of real-time conversation with the frustration of insufficient (social) bandwidth.
Even with video, though, I'm very careful about scheduling meetings, because for me, there's no such thing as a "quick call."
Paul Graham has put some truly terrible ideas into the world, but I found Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule very useful in naming this:
As a hiring manager or recruiter, you probably work in "social butterfly" mode, so one more 30-minute call isn't a big deal for you. As an engineer, though, it can take an hour or more just to load a problem into my head so I can work on it, and switching modes for a meeting makes the whole thing vanish in a puff of smoke. One innocent-looking 30-minute call on the calendar at 3pm can easily destroy the entire afternoon.
Four hours is a useful amount of time for diving in to an interesting software problem: an hour to get started, then three hours of "real" work. If I have to stop halfway through for a meeting, at best I'll get two hours of flow instead of three. Realistically, that number will probably be zero, because knowing that I'll be interrupted makes it extremely challenging to get started.
4. Please send me an updated resume.
My work is on the web, so my resume is on the web. I've done the work to format it for this medium; if you want it in a different one, copy/paste is right there.
5. Are you available for contract work?
No, and I don't know anybody who is.
6. Do you know anyone else who might be interested?
Possibly. It depends on what you're looking for, and on who I've talked to recently. Sometimes I know people who are looking for something new... but I know a lot of very senior people, and like me, they're almost never on the market.
7. Are you willing to relocate?
No. (This used to be FAQ #1, but it's dropped off considerably since the plague began.)
8. Are you willing to commute?
No. (You have an office in Portland? Good for you! I might stop by occasionally, but unless I can commute there on foot and your HVAC is phenomenally good, it's WFH for me.)