Posted on May 5, 2016 by

Job Hunt

Earlier this week I announced that I started work at ESPN. Only a handful of people knew that they had extended an offer and even less knew that I had accepted. This comes after almost six months since I left my previous position. While it is an accomplishment, I did not do it completely myself. This was actually the only job that I didn’t seek out, it kind of fell into my sight. I follow Hunter Walk. He used to run Product at Youtube and now is a Partner at Homebrew, a venture capital fund. I was introduced to him at a YouTube for Good panel at Vidcon ’11. When he shared a post from Ryan Spoon, SVP of Digital Product, Design and Audience Development at ESPN, I reached out. Fast forward a month and half and now I work there. But that’s just a part of the story. The happy go lucky… everything just happens. It wasn’t that easy to get here. I’m going to share the rest of it.

After I left my previous position I continued waking up the same time as before, I kept my workout routine. I spent time researching companies, finding them on AngelList, LinkedIn, Crunchbase. At first I focused on companies in Denver, and later expanded to Los Angeles / Bay area… later expanding to New York and Seattle. As some might notice the end of the year might not be best time to look for work because of the holidays and usually that’s when budgets are winding down, but this also the time where some know head count and are pushing for new positions.

I sent and applied like it was my job, mainly because I wanted one. I never expected to be without a one for so long. I really thought that it was going to be a faster turn around because of my background and experience. So I thought I would be a bit more transparent on which companies I spoke to and where there was a drop off in the process, either from them or me.

1. Recurly: Phone screen, 1 call, passed on me
2. Textplus: 2 calls, it was part-time, I passed
3. eFolder: Phone screen, call interview / technical challenge, built on Java decline going forward
4. Honda: Outsider recruiter, no reply
5. Toast: Final interview. Passed on it. built on Java, in Boston (Later raise 30 million from GV earlier this year)
6. Deutch: 2 calls. Agency, I did not want to move forward
7. Oblong Industries: Final in-person interview / no offer
8. FirstData: Via a LinkedIn Recruiter, 3 calls and a phone interview [Thought of it as back up opportunity as it was contract and I continue looking for work] No offer
9. Brandwatch: Phone screen, 2 video calls, and tech challenge. did not like product
10. Apple: Apple News phone screen / 1 phone call and video chat and then spoke with an iWork team manager. They passed, I was not right for either role
11. Tesla: 3 phone calls, technical challenge, no offer
12. LegalZoom: Phone screen, technical phone screen, 2 video interviews, 1 in-personal interview, then ask for a follow-up interview to talk about me learning mySQL, I passed on the offer
13. Clicktime: Phone screen: seems like my asking pay range was higher than they were willing to pay.
14. 22nd Century: contract, 2 phone screens, technical call mis-schedule and fumbled, I told them I was no longer interested.
15. ustwo New York: 3 video interviews. Final Interview. Solid feedback, too similar to those in the team / no offer)
16. Earnest: Phone screen, 1 call with manager, position filled while interviewing.
17. Pandora: Phone screen and 1 call with a manager: manager did not like that in 5 years I would like to be working on Product instead of QA.
18. When I Work: 3 calls did not like the location/ remote work,while it can be a plus I prefer collaborative work environments.
19. Snapchat: Video interview mainly because I was sent email by accident that I had passed their technical challenge.
20. Acorns: Phone screen, not right for the role
21. Managed by Q: Phone screen
22. Neatly: Phone screen, not right for the role
23. Sprout Social: Phone screen: did not like the product
24. MassRoots: Phone screen, they wanted a QA person, then delayed when they wanted to talk, not really interested but it was in Denver.
25. Dialpad, formerly Switch Communications: Phone screen, we both knew it wasn’t going to work out
26. Sighten: Phone screen, interesting but they wanted a more skilled programmer/QA Manager person
27. Slack: Phone screen, passed on
28. Payoff: Phone screen, technical call, technical challenge. Did not like the service
29. Kiswe: Phone screen, tech interview and 3 video calls. Liked the company but in the middle of Jersey, no relocation package
30. Lootcrate: Phone screen, tech interview. told I need more experience in ruby
31. Charles Swab: Phone screen. We both knew this was not right for me
32. Kinsa: Phone screen, tech interview. Did not seen eye to eye on a lot of stuff
33. SONOS: Phone screen, 3 tech interview-call, Final in-person interview. No offer. They were looking for a more senior person / I lacked managerial skills.
34. Event Farm: Phone screen, tech interview. low pay not really feeling the company
35. SoundCloud: Job asked for a QA Engineer, during the phone screen it seems like they wanted a SDET instead, I don’t have those skills
36. Roli: Phone screen. Views on patents weren’t eye to eye and concerned about getting a work visa in the UK.
37. Imgur: Phone screen, no response / reply
38. Westfield Labs: Phone screen. I was from out of town, no relocation
39. Homehero: Phone screen, tech interview, call with CTO… no follow up
40. Pivotal: Phone screen not what I wanted, Agile is ok but not an advocate for it
41. Vixlet: Phone screen, technical interview. No relocation package, outside recruiter wanted me to move to LA in less than 2 weeks. “Just make it happen, I would!”
42. ESPN: Offer
43. Recruiter from Portland: didn’t go anywhere. enterprise company not consumer facing products
44. Amazon [Alexa]: Phone screen, technical call, tech challenge. Not strong enough in ruby
45. Echostar/Sling TV: Phone screen/ in person interview/ offer)
46. Twitter: Phone screen, technical call, technical challenge. passed on, wanted a more senior person
47. Whisper: Phone screen
48. Headspace: Phone screen, video call, did not hear back after a few emails that I had an offer but wanted to continue the process before I accepted
49. Blinker: Phone screen, call with VP of product did not move forward because “I did not have enough enthusiasm while talking about cars”
50. 8tracks: Phone screen job posting was withdrawn because of cash flow problems
51. Makerbot: Phone screen. I then rescinded my resume because I accept the position at ESPN

To recap… I sent out my resume to tonnes of places, which I spoke to 51 companies between Mid November and early March (excluding Holidays, but did speak to some while in Australia, no lie)

Out 51 companies only 7 of them followed through to a final interview.
Here is the break down:

51 Phone Screens
41 First calls/ technical call
27 Second calls
13 Video interviews
9 Third calls
6 Tech challenges
7 Final interviews

I did 6 final interviews
4 in person
2 job offers

Why write this? I felt like there is so much pressure from other that are doing better or at least that’s what it appears. I was out of work for a long time, but most wouldn’t have notice. I rarely mentioned it. At times I was heartbroken when I had devoted so much time into a company talking to them and nothing came out of it. I sulked for a day or two but then continued to apply and talk to new companies.

There is also a growing trend to talk about diversity, transparency, and wage gap in tech. More and more people are talking on how to get better pay by knowing what a fellow person with similar skills is making, instead of just taking the salary offered. I’m not at that part yet, but at least I’m trying. I thought because I had 5 years of experience it was going to be easier. Turns out it wasn’t. Maybe someone will read this and realize that persistence and some luck is usually what gets you ahead in life.

Posted on March 21, 2016 by

Thinking out loud

Note: I wrote this last Friday and debated the weekend if I should post. I believe that I should but it may be removed at any time

The week before Thanksgiving I left my job.

I had saved up enough that I would be fine for several months. I went to visit family and friends. I wasn’t worried. I had interviews lined up… and with that I had options. I could decide which roles and companies worked best for me. As the phone screens and first interview continued, the list dropped off; wasn’t interested, they weren’t interested, the role sounded boring, I wasn’t a good fit, I was too similar to someone they had just hired, I wasn’t going to be given the freedom to advocate for the user, it was built on Java, it was B2B business, the list goes on.

In these past few months I’ve begun to notice my privilege much more than usual. Having to figure out if I had enough money for groceries or rent wasn’t my main concern… going on a 2 week vacation with my partner to Australia without blinking an eye? It was all taken care of.

To keep me from having idle hands I’ve picked up a few audio and ADR jobs here and there. But they were mostly just favors and to have something to do on the days I did not have screener calls, video chats or was traveling for in-person interviews. It was mostly just using and expanding some less used skills As well as trying to expand new skills such as understanding Swift, I also helped translating some letters for an outreach program to Spanish.

But as time continues I… I’m getting antsy. I don’t enjoy not “working” or doing something of importance. This is not new, it’s one of the reason I moved to Denver. With less prospects and a dwindling savings and no other recourse I took the job. I moved with resentment. At first I tried to like the city and the job, but after a few months it was clear it wasn’t for me. I tried to change my attitude and when that didn’t work, I had to change my situation.

Which leads me to now. I am being offered a contractor position at a “start-up-like” subsidiary to huge publicly traded company. The project is one of those bet-the-future -of- the- company things so I would be coming in at a pivotal time. The role sounds good and I would have freedom to advocate for the user, mainly in user interaction and experience… but at the salary offered, it would be a pay decrease due to lack of benefits (no 401k, PTO/sick days, or health care). Typically, contractors are moved into the org within 6 months, but from the looks of it the company’s health plan is subpar at best. The pro being that I would get to stay in a nice-ish city.. I wouldn’t have to move for the second time in 2 years and after giving it an actual shot…I’m starting to enjoy living here. Update: They have offered for better pay but no benefits and from the looks of it culture is lacking

I was also offered another job, at a huge subsidiary of a much larger company, and they too are in a pivotal point. Recent changes seem to indicate that they understand that drastic measures need to happen with the way people view things. It’s 2 1/2 year project. Pay is about right, benefits are good, culture seems to great. It’s one of my interest, though one of my least enthusiastic interest, but an interest nonetheless. After the project is over, depending on head count I could be transition into an employee. It sounds great. And it is… except it’s a small city…. much smaller city, even than Denver.

While Denver was a big change for me seeing that have only lived in huge cities (Los Angeles and New York).. I am a city person. I enjoy being able to have something to do; I like different cultures and activities and being around a hodgepodge of people. Living near Downtown and within walking distance to most music venues and some smaller breweries. Trying to at least cling on to the most minute music scene the city has to offer. But this new city has no music scene to speak of, the city is in the low 100,000 of residents. Which to me is miniscule seeing the the population of LA and NYC are the millions.

Just looking at the whole picture the smaller city job is better for the sole fact that my earning potential over the course of my career will be better, the subsidiary also has that name recognition.

One of the bigger issue with these is that I don’t want to be in this same place in a year. I don’t want to just take a role because I need it. I want to enjoy and be able to grow in a company. I see that happening a bit more in the latter company (as well having better health plan) but what do I do after work? My lifestyle and interest are vastly different from what is offered in a much smaller city. The job in Denver keeps me here, there is room to grow a bit, but their healthcare plan seems more of a pay decrease.

Option 3: Turning both down and keep waiting.

This is the hardest option. Because I have offers and turning them down sounds crazy. Companies want me and for the most part I want some parts of those companies. But they are not offering me everything I want. I would take lower salary for better benefits (healthcare [I can manage my own money in mutual fund and IRA ROTH])here in Denver. Or a higher salary with crappy benefits… but the role needs to be one in which I am not pigeonholed. The city needs to have enough things that interest me.

I moved to a smaller city after living in Los Angeles, and New York. I made it in New York. I moved back to Los Angeles just to go to school. The saying goes “If you make it in New York you can make it anywhere.” This is true… but will I survive living in a super small city where some of the interests are not for me. Can I adapt to a town? The only reason I started to look for job outside of Denver was the lack of opportunities for me with my skill set and interest, focusing mainly in trying to return to Los Angeles or the Bay area. Somehow expanded it to Seattle which the few times I have visited seems like a great place. The grunge music scene is one of my happy places <3 You Sub pop.

While writing this I got an email about a second interview via video call for a well funded start-up in LA…. ::flails hand up in the air:: I don’t even know anymore.

I understand the huge amount of privilege this is. I have privilege and have had it my entire life. that someone in the position could be contemplating turning down jobs because of lack “life” outside of work or it would be a pay cut because of the amount I would pay out of pocket for healthcare. But these are things we should talk about. (Side note: Reason for single payer healthcare, neé universal healthcare should be a thing) But I have been working in this industry now for 6 years and still doesn’t match what I was making when I worked in the music industry after 5 years of hustle (taking inflation into consideration).

When my moral was a bit lower, I contemplated the option for working (more like volunteering full time) for the DNC. With the impending election that seems to be growing to a much bigger deal as the GOP continues to implode, I think this would be the option to take to take a few months off and do somewhat of my civic duty for the country.

I don’t know which option to take… Even writing this down has given me any more insight into what I should do.

Posted on July 7, 2015 by

It Bothers Me that it Doesn’t Bother Me

Ever since I’ve started working, I’ve always had this… this unrelenting drive for things to be their best. The best take. The best proposal, the best set up, mic placement… nitpicking at the details. In the last few years… talking about the most minute design issues. The thickness of the borders, the glyphs, buttons, tap targets, UX / UI… etc. I wanted if I couldn’t change the design, for it to look as best as it could. I fought every single battle. Every single ticket, bug, issue. I debated, I wanted the best out there because I worked on it. That was a reflection of me… My work. I was able to point at it and say… This is what I worked on and was completely fine in doing so.

But that was when I decided on what I worked on, with which clients or I was somewhere where I just work on one product (on many platforms).

But now I work on many projects, with different clients… I don’t have much say on design, I have to choose my battles and then when I do it half-heartily. I know I will be veto. I can’t straight out say, this is something I worked on, I fought for this feature, this UX.

A few weeks back, during testing I notice that there was an issue that an icon would switch color when doing a specific function. It was on an older OS and by the breakdown logs, only a small percentage of users would ever see it. I wrote a ticket, but I marked as trivial. I wrote the email stating that I have found a trivial issue and I was signing off on the build. It was ready to go public.

Later that night I was bothered. I was bothered that it didn’t bother me. Yes, it was a small issue. Yes, only a small percentage of users would see it. Yes, it was trivial. But it wasn’t right. We weren’t treating the user with respect. I didn’t even try to feign to fight of the user.

For the first time I’m not working on projects that I have hand selected and that I emotionally or mentally invested in. It’s different. I have always done my best work because I had picked the project, the client, where I wanted to work. My name was there and it was public. I, Kenn R, worked on this hard and this was released because I know this is good and the user will like it. Now I find the issues and someone else decides if they are enough to stop shipping. It’s different. I need to continue quality work, but I don’t get to decide what is fixed, what can slide through. And this is starting to affect how I perceive projects. My quality and productivity are being affected because mine says doesn’t carry as much weight anymore. I’m finding it harder to focus on the minute, and fear that will eventually hamper even some medium issues.

It bothers me… that little things like this will not longer bother me. The reason I am good at these things it’s because the little things bothers me. I have to be bothered. I have to care. In the past, I’ve taken some Adderalll here and there, but only at the tail end of project to finish strong, to not relent so close to shipping, but now, I think that a small dose might be something I might need. Even if it’s just the placebo effect. Something needs to change and for the time being I want to stick it out. I will not always be able to work on projects that I personally invested in or love. But I need to be better that the last few weeks of work. Not because the project deserves it, but because I am better than that.

Posted on June 9, 2015 by

Music Is a Commodity but It Doesn’t Have to Be

I wrote this last month after using Tidal for a while. Before and after Jay Z  “bought” it. But didn’t publish it then, but decided to do so now.

Much has been said about Tidal and Jay Z the “illuminati 15.”

I get what what they are trying to do in a way.

They want music to stop being such a commodity, they want to elevate music back to being an art form. An art that is paid for. They want it to have value, but first we need to know why we are where we are. People do not pay what things cost but what things are worth.

Music 45s and LP’s of yore had to have good songs. They had to sell and each one was recorded live. They had “value,” they had worth.

Then labels wanted more songs to charge more. Filler songs came to be. You could buy a single or you could buy a full album. There was no pick or choose. This was the state of music until the early 2000’s.

Napster and digital music change that. One could just pick the song you wanted. There was no more need to buy full albums at $15 or $20 when you could get the 3 good some from it.

Kanye in a interview mention why his latest album wasn’t “good.” There were deadlines from his label. He had to “rush” creativity, recording.

When someone as big as Kanye talks about deadlines imposed on them for the creative process one starts to wonder why not just own the label… Well then we get to the point where nothing is release. See the sequel to the Chronic by Dr Dre. It’s been 10 years since we known the Album is coming but there is no end in sight. Jay Z became CEO of Roc Nation and owns the the masters of his first studio album (reason he was able to pull it from Spotify when he announced TIDAL)

I’m going to use person experiences and friend to show how Jay- Z could have done it better.

Label have contracts, mechanical licenses… all these thing are left out. No talks about them because it’s not sexy. It’ boring paper work. Most musician don’t even make most of their money from ablumn sales… they make money from touring, live concerts, appearances, promo, merch. When the act is big enough they can negotiate who owns the master or the songs. (Writers of song don’t necessary preform their own songs, artist can write songs for others. and make money that way.)

If you want to make music not a commodity you have show the creative process. Show writing of the songs. How you preform, show you producing.

This can also be a double edge sword. Some artist don’t write their own songs… their label goes to a publishing house and pick their songs.

My example is an old college friend. He cut his teeth in his craft. He produced, recorded several CDs for local musician. He is one man band, you can see a video of what he does at every concert below

As you can see it’s a performance by himself. I bet you bar none it took him hours just to set up… Weeks, if not months to figure out what items he could use to create a sound. I know personally that we would spend nights working in our dorms working in Logic to find the right sound for things.

Yes, we should value music more. It’s a art form. Let’s start by cutting out filler. Albums might have less songs and might take longer to deliver, but fans will appreciate it. You’re not long taking advantage of them, int heir eyes.

Apple just released Apple Music, but an interesting part of it is Connect… There are behind the scene of how music videos are made, video diaries, photos of lyrics, things that Tidal should have done. They didn’t, their narrative was not right. But Apple Music and Connect is different, they want musicians to post these behind the scene, they want to show the creative process, the art form of creating music. Drake even announced that he will release his new album on it. It’s going to be interesting seeing where this goes especially with curation from Zane Lowe.

Posted on January 15, 2015 by

The One Where I Move to a Different State and Don’t Tell Many People

It’s been ten years since I moved back to LA. I remember packing up what was my life at the time and moving to a new place that used to be home. To a school I had only seen in pictures and not knowing a single soul.

For the next decades as would half heartedly try to move away, for several reasons. Some for school, some for possible jobs, some to run away, and just wanting to live in Europe. But there was always something that stopped it. Kept me in LA.

Until now.

The bulk of my friends that transition from uni to real life are all in stable relationships, getting married, having kids, being “grown up.” Settling down and good for them.

I’m still doing my thing and will probably do so for a while longer.

This transition comes from a bittersweet 2014. While it was one of my successful one in personal growth, and experiencing new culture, traveling, it was one of my hardest. It was difficult to discuss and to seek those to share experiences with. One day I might share it… but right now It’s still soon to try to reopen an old wound.

So I told a few people in November that I had accepted a new job and that it was out of state. I told them I didn’t want a farewell party… I just wanted to tell them personally.

It’s just a gradual transition,  a change. There doesn’t have to be a grand affair, a big going away party… Even now, It’s been a weeks since I’ve moved and posting a very low-key post on a Thursday morning.

I’m not even surprised that I have moved in January. Literally marking 10 years in LA before moving away. Life is too coincidental at times.

Posted on October 28, 2014 by

What’s in a Name Revisited

A few years ago I wrote about Why I go by Kenn, particularly Kenn R, instead of Ken and my rarely used last name. The gist of it, 1. Kenn is less formal, and more casual than my given name of Kenneth. 2. I’m no longer the person Kenneth was, a star soccer player that had his dreams die in a soccer injury. 3. “R” is a very non descriptor for ancestry.

While I tend to work hard and find myself in a very culturally diverse city, people in power still tend to be affluent white males. I have not had a problem with getting work or trying to break into this sector because, well, I have headed it off before it became an issue.

But that is a completely different topic and I don’t believe I am someone with the experience to talk about it. There are many stories in the tech scene of racial, discriminating, I have been fortunate not to be in. So I won’t talk about it and just amplify the voices that have.

A few months back, I hit was a milestone, for the first time I have been online for more that half of life.

It got me thinking about everything from my first AIM screen name to where I am now. In all that time I have only really gone by three identities. “heyitskenn” being the one that I have used from the start of college to a just a few months ago.

I was an earlier adopter of Twitter, Tumblr, and various other small social networking sites and often I would get the username I wanted,”heyitskenn.” But for a while I was looking for change, I notice that a lot of people that I have been chatting for a while either had their name or 3 to 5 letter handles. It’s also notice that it seemed weird that “heyitskenn” was my online identity. I started to outgrow it.

After chatting with an old project manager at Twitter and getting in contact with the a person that was squatting on the “kennr” I started to see if I could move my entire social identity to kennr.

One problem. I had waited too long. People had already claimed it around the web. Contacting and even offering to pay for the username fell on deaf ears.

Many would just say to have a different username on different platforms. And they would be wrong, unless you actively want people not to find you. I like consistency, uniformity.

I settled for k3nnr. Which isn’t horrible, but not as clean as kennr.

I could not take “k” as single letter handles on Twitter are 1. Very, very limited and there is only 26 of them, 2. Usually very, very early Twitter adopters / employees got them 3. While I’m a bit pretentious, it’s too much.

When did the change happen?

Social networks that were used, but not that frequent where the first ones. This was a few days before going on my South America trip, culminating with Tumblr, SoundCloud, Instagram, and Twitter a few days after I returned from it, middle of July. The rest less important accounts happened in the last month. (Side note: Websites that don’t have the functionality of the changing usernames, really? How is that a thing in 2014?)

It wasn’t hard. No one really noticed, those that did easily, switched to the new and for them easier handle.

For the foreseeable future, I do see myself using k3nnr. That is until I can ever get kennr on all other platforms… I kid… kind of.

Posted on October 7, 2014 by

Devil’s Advocate

While I’m still trying to catch up from my break from the internet during June and most of July, I came across a TechCrunch article by MG Siegler, Playing Devil’s Advocate.

The answer, it seems, is that most of those people were likely too close to the projects to see what was right in front of them. They fell victim to group think, or worse, they started to rationalize their own bad projects.

Basically someone in your company, group, needs to be the one the is skeptical. But not just skeptical, skeptical to the point of cynicism. While this might seem counter productive, especially in small companies and startups, I believe this a good thing to have and a lot of companies avoid it.

Some of the main reasons I have heard is that someone that does this is not a team player. They are creating rifts within the company.

I don’t believe so. This person and/or people should be in QA. Quality Assurance is often overlooked by many companies, especially manual testers. Most companies try to automate test, or A/B test everything and there is nothing wrong with that. I myself have written and use automation scripts for personal projects and at work. I have pushed for some features to be A/B tested before finalizing them to get broad user feedback. Using many technologies is good for companies, but automated steps can’t bring up user experience, the quality of the product. As we’ve seen with recent software releases, it’s a very important issue.

At the end of the day, that’s what the article is talking about is companies need to stop shipping crappy products, products that are half thoughts and not fully fleshed out. MVPs, or minimal viable products are no longer acceptable. It’s “ship”, not “shit,” wrote Cat Noone, Co-founder & Chief Design Officer at Liberio.

A good quality engineer will be vocal about UI/UX. They will play an important role as protector of the company from shipping a bad product but advocate for the user. It’s not an easy job. You have to deal with knowing why something was done, but also understand the expectations of a typical user. There will never be bug-free updates. QA and project managers should have the last say when something is shipped. Usually it’s with no blockers (usually nasty bugs or crashes) and no bugs that impede the functionality of features in the application. After something is shipped, you go back to testing and pushing for bugs to be fixed. Usually having users report the same bugs is helpful to increase priority.

I have seen companies disregard QA and just ship product because of deadlines. I have seen companies consider QA input on product and it was better for it.
From experience, my role as a QA engineer was started with just testing, then evaluate, if the bugs that remained that impeded user functionality enough then I stopped the release. As I became more confident with what was being tested, I raised concerns, first by simple suggestions on how to make things seem from the user perspective. Ultimately, talking about workflows and the use of interactions, taking into consideration preexisting expectations, working closely with designers, product groups and at times even external groups.

QA should not be disregarded or a group that is sidelined. They are the people that care about the company and the user. They are literally the first users of the product and should be brutal about it.

It was a different perspective when talking to actual users about the product I helped ship. They talked so highly about features that I knew were half broken, or if you deviated a bit, can crash an entire embedded system. But to them, they enjoyed it. It worked as they hoped and intended. They cared for it. The yelling matches, the fights, the endless conversations with product managers and designers to make things better, chatting and compromising with developers all worth it, for the user.

I may know that the product is held together by shoestring and tape, but it works for a user and they love it. That’s why QA engineers work hard for. For the user. They are a real life version of Tron.

Posted on September 3, 2014 by

The Importance of a Mentor

I haven’t written in a while. It’s not because I have nothing to say or share, or even jotted down. Ultimately, I just wonder if it mattered.

There’s this constant wonder within myself if anything matters, what I do, how if I share, something if says something, if I don’t say something. Some sort of doubt.

People from thinking of me as Alpha male with Beta tendencies, while I see myself more as a Beta male with Alpha tendencies.

As an audio engineer, I was much more confident, I knew exactly what I was doing and how. I knew my limits and where I could fake things to make them seem like I was the best person for the job. It all concluded by getting a job at Capitol Records. Under that I was able to consult on 2 major CD releases and acquire two minor studios.

It was my highlight of my life at the age of 22. Being at the top of the world and I could not do wrong.

So I walked away.

Now with a different career, I have been pursued by certain companies, some startups, some well established software makers, some somewhere in the middle but I can’t help to feel like an imposter. Knowing that my skills aren’t just quite there. This was a with a company I met with earlier this year. If a bug slips by in consumer software, it’s cool, a fix can be pushed in a day, a week. In this type of company a bug could prove to be dangerous to people’s lives. I walked away.

Another company offered me a great salary to live in the city I have dreamed of living (no, it’s no in the US). But I would have been the first. The first person to set quality standards, at a medium size company with over 100 people with millions of VC money and highly visible to boot. I felt it would have been too much a challenge. I didn’t think I was the right person. I could go into this well establish company with teams working well with their methodologies and change them. It just wasn’t in me, even though it was all I wanted. Somewhere where the company values aligned with mine, the passion was the same.

And even now… while taking some time off I have gotten emails and calls from certain companies and wonder, “Are you sure you want to talk to me?” Are you sure haven’t mistaken someone else’s resume for mine?”

All I can adhere or find a correlation between these two careers is that when I was in the music business, I had a mentor. I was taken under someone’s wing. I was taught the ropes and had someone to ask for advice.

As a person in tech, I don’t have that. I don’t have a person I can go to and ask for help. The things I know are skills I had to learn on the job or to get a job. I’m not sure how to go about finding a mentor.

While in Portland a few weeks ago, someone told me something that resonated with me:

“If you got as far as being called, getting an email, or an interview, you should be able to stand on your merits, experience, and education by now.”

Yes, the way I got into tech wasn’t as common as others, but I’m here now. And it seems like I’m either doing something really good as to grab the attention of all these companies, or they are scrapping the bottom of the barrel for talent.

With the quality of software these companies have to put out, I am sure hopeful it’s the former rather than the latter.

Posted on December 18, 2013 by

Fountain Pen

Computers have a unique way of making writing a bit mentally lazy — indulging in a stream of consciousness writing. One doesn’t take the extra few minutes to think about what one is going to write or think about the missing pieces and how they all fit together It is, perhaps, because, we can cut, paste and modify with relative ease. We are constantly in “draft” mode and any addition and subtraction of words is nothing more than a mere act of readjustment.

In comparison, writing with a fountain pen brings a different kind of rigor — forcing you to slow down, think, visualize and compose the story before committing it to paper. Giving you a reason for writing, purpose to convey something. I find myself becoming measured and careful about what I want to say. Cutting and pasting, isn’t that easy. Every mistake, often results in a new draft which in turn forces me to self edit. Of course, with that comes tired hands, or as some would say, the gratification of physical exhaustion.

To be clear, I am not trying to say that one method of writing — on computers or on a piece of paper —is better than the other. After all, I might draft on a piece of paper, but in the end my medium of publishing still is the Internet. And for that I do need a computer.

Posted on October 22, 2013 by

I Did It For Me

Today marks my 1 year anniversary at Gobbler.

It’s odd… I’m in my late twenties and this is only the second job where I have stay for longer than year, the other being at Line 6. But I’m going to tell you a secret… I quit there, three times.

I was going to write a long essay on work ethic and why I prefer working at a start up, culture, blah, blah… but as many know I’m direct and to the point.

  • I get to try out great audio software (sometimes even before it’s announced)
  • I get to give direct feedback to these companies.
  • I get to talk to great audio engineers and creative professionals
  • I get to create music to test and design work flows.
  • I get to solve a problems that I had when I was a freelancer, I know the pain points.
  • I get to do what I’m good at with no overbearing managers.

To quote Walter White:

I did this for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really — I was alive.

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I’m going back to work.

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