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Brian Duffy
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This notion that government regulation is "bad" by default is bizarre. I grew up in a rural area where my folks couldn't get cable TV until 2003. As late as 1965, the farmers living in that area (only about 50 miles from the capital of a major US State) had no electricity. They literally were living in the 19th century, using wind-powered pumps to draw water for livestock. The only reason they had telephone (party line service until 1991) or electricity is that the Federal and State government mandates forced them to do so. The internet is precisely the same issue. The folks who adopt the Republican/Telephone Company point of view consider think that they have the right to tell you where to shop, seek entertainment and information by virtue of the fact that they own the wires that connect the wider world to your home. The offensive aspect of this in my mind is the fact that they do this under the guise of protecting our private affairs from government meddling. Presumably this means that they think allowing the telephone company to minimize my freedom is all good.
Toggle Commented Feb 28, 2011 on The Importance of Net Neutrality at Coding Horror
I don't think that giving people the ability to make decisions for themselves translates into anarchy. Planning, designing, sticking to schedules, etc are all things that people will address themselves when motivated. I worked on a farm when I was in high school, and we had the ability to pretty much organize ourselves on our team however we wanted. There was 3-4 of us, all 14-17 years old and a farmer with a tractor pulling a baler and wagon of hay. Our job was to get it off the wagon and stacked appropriately in the barn before the next wagon came. How we did it was our problem. The key is people in many offices beat around the bush and don't say what they need to say. On the farm, if someone wasn't pulling their weight, they shaped up or shipped out. In many offices, people are able to leech off of everyone for months before anything is done. In offices where everyone is focused on the mission, that just doesn't happen.
Toggle Commented Jun 1, 2010 on The Vast and Endless Sea at Coding Horror
I disagree with your positon re: newbies. What you really need to succeed in a remote or any isolated work environment is a strong work ethic. The recipe for success is to find smart people that are motivated to work hard, maintain social connections and get things done, and add some good leadership. If you can attract and retain top performers in their craft, that's great, but isn't really relevant to remote work. I've worked with a few folks that I would consider absolutely brilliant in various roles who would wither in a remote work environment -- especially in an org with more than a dozen people. They need that social contact. Conversely, I've worked with folks who as a programmer or engineer weren't at the top of the heap, but had the people/social skills to thrive in any environment -- they would still be contributing if their connection to the rest of the team was morse code over shortwave radio. Most people lie in the middle, obviously.
Toggle Commented May 13, 2010 on On Working Remotely at Coding Horror
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May 13, 2010