Category Archives: Business

How to apply for a remote technical job

Everybody wants to work from home (or the nearby workspace of their choice) and cut out those wasted hours of commute time. Governments and businesses should be encouraging this as well. It is better for the environment and for productivity. However, there are a few things slowing down the switch to an all-remote workforce. Today we are looking at the application process.

With a traditional application, recruiters can assess your writing skills and skim through a stack of paper you have provided. They can administer tests or challenges with little fear that you have someone else taking the test for you. They can evaluate how you handle tough situations and hold up under stress. Companies rely heavily on these because they work.

The remote application process is a little different. Many things that work in-person fail in a remote environment, but there are alternatives. A recruiter can potentially get a much deeper understanding of you and your skills much faster and find a position that is a better match than they ever could in a traditional process. That will only work, though, if you have provided all the information they need and made it easy to find.

Here are some things you can do to help recruiters get the information they need to make a good decision:

  • Keep all of your social media up to date and interlinked.
  • Pay attention to what you make public. Use PM’s when it makes sense.
  • Talk about lessons learned. Use a blog or public social media.
  • Journal your progress in learning new tech.
  • Participate in StackExchange, Quora or other forums.
  • Don’t be afraid to be wrong or ask noob questions. They show growth.
  • Dream out loud. Talk about the things you would like to build someday.
  • Talk about what is important to you: quality, speed, cost, learning, sustainability.
  • Share code snippets. Change file and variable names and other details that might impact security or an NDA if the code is not open-source.

 

Bring all of this together with a master list of links to everything about you.

  • Use deep links to multiple pages on the same site if necessary.
  • Never require more than two clicks away from the master list.
  • If a second click is required, the first click should lead to a page of just links about you.
    • A link to your gist.github.com/ is good.
    • A link to the project page for a project you built is good.
    • A link to a project you contributed a few tickets to is not helpful.
    • Link to the specific tickets you worked on or a list of just your contributions if the repo/bug-tracker site provides one.
  • Include links to the most significant projects first.
  • Include a 10-20 word description for each link explaining what it is and how it relates to you.
  • Link to this master about-you list from every place where people might land after searching for you online.

If you have other suggestions or questions, please comment. Comments are moderated, but I do read, release and reply to them.

I Want to Thumb-up Your Ad

Some ads are really well done. Some are not. Some are ok but so far off topic / awful I would like to ban them from my computer.

I have never been a fan of advertisement, but now that advertisement is my primary source of income I am a little more interested in making them better. ūüôā And honestly, ads can be really helpful if they are talking about a new IDE or something else I want to know about.

And that is the key. I want to control what type of ads I see. I really don’t want some algorithm based on my birthday, occupation, and other demographics. Those details put me in a¬†category¬†that I really don’t identify with. The same is probably true for you as well.

Give me the ability to thumb-up the ads I like and thumb-down the ads that I don’t. Pandora style. Actually Pandora would be a great place for this to start. Yes, I know that thumbing them all down will not get rid of all advertisements. I will just get stranger and stranger matches. I am smart enough to give you good feedback so I get better ads, and you will get feedback on which ads are hits and which are duds.

Deal?

 

Diamond Training – Looking Sharp

I am thrilled to see the Diamond Training site back in active production after sitting dormant for a little while – and with a much better color scheme as well.

Lot’s of great wisdom there. Looking forward to some exciting things happening there over the next few months.

http://diamondtraining.net/

 

Being A Leader: It’s All About Balance… Except When It Isn’t

Being a leader requires you to balance a lot of different, often conflicting priorities. You even have to make the call between a balanced, diverse (safe) approach and going all in.

You will have much greater success if you stay in the center of your lane, but you will have a much shorter life, if you stay in the middle of the road.

Here are just a few things you have to balance. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

  1. Speak and act with confidence. Be humble.
  2. Never do yourself what someone else is willing and better able to do. Be a servent.
  3. Listen to wise council and to the heart of your people. Stand firm for what is right.
  4. Provide stability. Push your followers to achieve the impossible.
  5. You are here to make decisions now and make them stick. Don’t be rash.

 

Being A Leader: It's All About Balance… Except When It Isn't

Being a leader requires you to balance a lot of different, often conflicting priorities. You even have to make the call between a balanced, diverse (safe) approach and going all in.

You will have much greater success if you stay in the center of your lane, but you will have a much shorter life, if you stay in the middle of the road.

Here are just a few things you have to balance. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

  1. Speak and act with confidence. Be humble.
  2. Never do yourself what someone else is willing and better able to do. Be a servent.
  3. Listen to wise council and to the heart of your people. Stand firm for what is right.
  4. Provide stability. Push your followers to achieve the impossible.
  5. You are here to make decisions now and make them stick. Don’t be rash.

 

Open Source Government

If there is one thing that liberals and conservatives, democrats and tea-party members, and everyone in between can agree on, it is that the government leaves a lot to be desired.

What is really awesome is to see businesses stepping up and filling the gaps often using new technology or new ways of thinking about old problems. This is awesome not just because the gap is getting filled, but also because it is getting filled by private companies.

If I don’t like how a company is doing things I can set up a competing company and do better. If the government is doing something, but not doing it well, I will have a hard time competing because they can tax my revenue to pay for their inefficiencies.

One company helping to open-source government a bit is Modria. They are keeping thousands of cases out of the very expensive court system, and helping thousands of people get the justice they seek while restoring relationships. More info here.

Yes, it is a bit expensive, and no I am not encouraging anyone to sign-up. I just thought this was a really cool way to use technology to make a formally government process a human process once again.

WordPress Event Types – WordCamps, Meetups, Workshops, and more

I could really use your help.

I am helping out with gathering event planning training materials. More on that in future posts. For today, I need a list of as many different WordPress specific events as possible to make sure we have a good list of materials needed.

So far I have: (h/t Jane)

  1. WordCamps Рanyone do anything non-traditional here? (traditional being multi-track series of talks)
  2. Meetups – what formats are used (networking, talks, monthly, weekly)?
  3. Hackathons or Hack-days
  4. New user training – one day / multi-day
  5. Theme workshops
  6. Devcamps
  7. Workalongs
  8. Help clinics
  9. Community Summit
  10. IRC meetings on #wordpress-dev
  11. Online meet ups (ie via Google Hangout) (h/t Andy)

What other types of events are you guys doing?

If you have done any of these other than a traditional WordCamp, would comment with a quick description? I am particularly interested in what goes into planning and running the event. What advice would you give to someone starting a similar event? What needs to be done/communicated before, during and after the event?

WordPress Providence Meetup Tonight

Local WordPress Meetups are a huge part of what makes WordPress the most popular web platform on earth. I help organize the Meetup in Providence, RI each month. It is a lot of fun, you get to meet a lot of great people and learn more about WordPress.

If you are in the Providence area, I would love to meet you there.

Two Ways to Make Money: What Few Can Do or What Few Will Do

Most people want to make money doing something they love doing. While that is incredibly helpful since you are more likely to become highly skilled at something you enjoy doing, two other things are required.

First, the results of your labor must be something that other people need or want. That is obvious enough that I will it alone for now.

The second is worth discussing, though. You will make more money by picking something that most people either cannot or would rather not produce on their own. Very few people have the skills to produce the type of web-sites I build. Because of that people are willing to pay me to do it. Very few people are willing to join the military. Because of that they are willing to pay my brother to do that.

If you are trying to pick an occupation or a product to make try to find something that others value, something you enjoy doing, but most importantly something that few people can and/or will do.

Stop Phrases: No, I did not.

This phrase can take several forms and still have the same impact.

  • No, I didn’t.
  • That is not what I said.
  • I didn’t say that.
  • I wasn’t mad.
  • You totally misunderstood.
  • You don’t get it.

Here is an example: *

Friend: Yesterday, when you stuck your tongue out at that kid…

Me: (interrupting) I didn’t stick out my tongue out at him!

Friend: It looked like you stuck out your tongue.

Me: I didn’t stick out my tongue out at him!

Friend: Oh… Then, who were you sticking out your tongue at?

Me: I didn’t stick out my tongue!

At this point my friend has totally forgotten the original conversation, is probably exasperated, and the conversation is over.

At least I didn’t have to hear my friend’s criticism, but I also didn’t learn anything.

The facts of the matter are:

  1. I did make a face that displayed my anger about the kid spilling my coffee all over me while he was running to get a first-aid kit.
  2. I was one of the few people in the group that was not aware that his friend was in a life threatening situation.
  3. I looked like a total jerk for worrying about my clothes in a situation like that.
  4. I proved that I was a jerk by arguing about words when my friend was simply going to suggest I apologize.

Again,¬† Stop Phrases end conversations! Sometimes you want to end the conversation, but you can learn a lot if you don’t.

If someone mistakenly thinks that you did, thought, or said something that you did not, stop and think. Is it possible that you did something that could be easily mis-perceived? Is it possible that they confused you with someone else? Is it possible that you did it without realizing it? Keep the conversation going. Ask questions. See if there is anything you can learn even if the facts aren’t right.

Even if you did not do exactly what your “attacker” says you did, something made them think that you did. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want people to even think I did something wrong, if for no other reason than that they might do something unkind to me or my friends and family.

Try to learn from every situation, even if… especially if… the lesson or the teacher is painful. ūüôā

This is the second in a series of posts about .

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* Sorry to disappoint, but the example above is total fiction. If it helps, I have witnessed countless situations very similar to this.