Want to collaborate?

Right now, you can get in touch with me for a few things:
Giving resume feedback
Guest lecturing
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More of a tree shaker than a jelly maker. Helping geeks feel safe in the world. What's next?
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I'm available for
Oct 29, 2021
Oct 29, 2021
https://geekincentives.substack.com/p/ratings-as-incentives Performance review ratings create incentives for behavior to change. What would happen if we created those incentives on purpose instead of by accident?
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Sep 23, 2021
Sep 23, 2021
Can someone tell me a story of something they have been able to do on PolyWork that wouldn't have happened elsewhere? I'd like to invest some time/energy, but I have no idea where I might find value.
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Aug 10, 2021
Aug 10, 2021
"But my idea is widely applicable so I want my post to be general as possible..."

One of the fundamental dilemmas in presenting ideas is that you'd like them to have as much reach as possible suggesting an abstract presentation. At the same time a reader needs a reason to read (watch/listen to) your post.

Make it general & abstract & you don't miss anybody but you also don't get anybody to read it either. Tell one specific story & readers will miss the bigger picture. What's a content creator to do?

Here's a trick. It doesn't require any more writing than you're doing now, just a bit of editing. Write the piece the way you'd usually write it:
  1. Problem
  2. Solution
  3. Example
  4. Consequences
Then just before you press "Submit", move the first part of the Example so it leads the piece:
  1. First part of Example
  2. Problem
  3. Solution
  4. Second part of Example
  5. Consequences
Often this edit is literally cut and paste. Now you have something to catch the reader's attention. They are emotionally and intellectually engaged. The first few sentences pose a puzzle, a mystery. What comes next?

Lead with the first half of an example. Give readers a reason to dig into your thoughtful abstract analysis. Then show them how it applies. They will generalize from there for themselves. Being specific is being general.
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Aug 09, 2021
Aug 09, 2021
Gusto (among other things) helps employers pay employees. We file with tax agencies on behalf of those employers as well as pay accrued taxes owed. This turns out to be a fiddly process in the US, with each of the 1300 (?!) agencies having slightly different rules about format, workflow, timing, business rules, & just about everything else you can imagine.

In February I was asked to review the plan for the team responsible for payments and filings. The team is interesting because it encompasses tax operations, who shepherds payments & filings, compliance, who makes sure our rules stay up-to-date with the changing (did I mention the rules change all the time?) requirements, payments, who supervises moving money, and engineering/product/design, who implements the systems to orchestrate all this fun & games. I said, "They aren't set up for success. Here's how you'd set them up for success."

Big mistake. I was asked to manage the team. And so, for the first time since 1988, I'm a manager. The good news is that I am hiring. We are looking for engineers who are:
  1. Quality and detail-oriented. When you're paying a million people and reporting to 1300 tax agencies, small mistakes quickly become big problems with real-world consequences.
  2. Understand tax filings and payments. Did you know there are tax agencies that still accept filings on CDs? I didn't until recently. If you don't already know about the myriad twists and turns of filing and paying taxes, then you'll need to learn fast.
  3. Teamwork. Our team includes engineers, tax accountants, and tax filing professionals. You'll be collaborating with all of them daily.
  4. Software design. We need an excellent software design to accommodate all the variations within themes while retaining absolute confidence in the software.
  5. Ruby/Rails. If you don't know it, you'll need to learn fast.

This isn't the kind of work you can do tired, so we work intensely during regular work hours and then rest. You'll have the freedom to choose your tasks weekly from among the tasks that advance the team's goal. You'll get 1x1 coaching from me weekly. We value diversity, so if you are a member of a group under-represented in software engineering I particularly encourage you to apply.

Because regulators, you'll need to be based in the U.S. or Canada. Our team is fully remote with a week per quarter sitting together.

The best part of working at Gusto is that we create value for our customers and charge for it. Simple relationship, aligned incentives.

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Apr 01, 2019
Apr 01, 2019
Excited to join Gusto as Fellow! 🎉
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Fellow, Gusto