Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can we set up a quick call to chat?
- It's a video call, and
- You've read What I Look For first, and
- You've sent me job description(s) for one or more specific roles, and
- I've expressed interest in at least one of them.
Video calls seem to have become the default since the advent of COVID-19, but this still bears mentioning: Audio-only calls do not work for me. Audio is the worst possible medium because it combines the urgency of real-time conversation with the frustration of insufficient (social) bandwidth. I find conversations considerably easier when we can see each others' facial expressions and body language.
What I Look For covers many of the topics we'd discuss in an intro call. By starting there, you can save both of us a lot of time, and we'll be able have a much more interesting conversation.
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.
2. Can I interest you in working at Amazon?
No. (You have a CRM. Please use it.)
3. 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, and early startups rarely seem interested in my particular skills.
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.
4. Please send me an updated resume.
That's not a question. 😜
Seriously, though, you're looking at it. Since the mid-2000s, my work has been on the web. My resume is, too. 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. (Probably. See next question.)
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 at this stage of my career, the people I know tend to be relatively senior, and we'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 2020.)
8. Are you willing to commute?
In theory, yes; in practice, no. (If you have an office in Portland, I can stop by once or twice a month—but unless I can get there quickly without driving and your HVAC is phenomenally good, I am Team WFH.)