Books, shirt, free to whoever wants them at STL JUG tonight

The world is my warehouse. Here are a few items I’m storing in the warehouse (giving away) tonight at the St. Louis Java User Group:

The Hawken book is a classic, a wise read for anyone serious about growing a business. I’ve read it at least three times in full.

The Walsh book is a great introduction to the many hundreds of things a person needs to know, to start a web startup. I’m not starting a web startup; but if you’ve thought about doing so, come get this book free.

The T-shirt is from the EFF, a great cause that I support every year… but I have too many T-shirts already, and I prefer to wear plain (text free) clothing.

Update: Given away successfully.

Unrealistic Cost Expectations, and How to Fix Them

I suppose there have been hiring companies with wildly unrealistic cost expectations forever; the internet just makes it more visible. Take, for example, this job post for PostgreSQL expert, which I republish here for criticism and comment, anonymized:

We are looking for a postgre expert with indepth Oracle skill to help with the following project:

1) migrate all data and structure from Oracle 9i to PostgreSQL 8.3.
2) create a script to capture daily differentials on Oracle db and export the changes to PostgreSQL
3) create a script to automate the import the Oracle differential export into PostgreSQL on a daily basis
4) full documentation

Will provide both Oracle and Postgre dev box to work with, interested party please send email to (REDACTED)

Job budget between USD 300 to USD 400. However need this delivered within one week from job acceptance, or before Dec. 31, 2009, whichever come first.

To clarify for anyone reading this, this is not my job post. I am not looking for a PG expert. Do not contact me to apply for this work.

This fellow wants:

  • An experienced guru
  • In two quite complex technologies, one of which is a very expensive technology
  • To do a non-trivial project, and presumably, to be responsible for the results actually working
  • Who can do their project Right Now
  • Over the Christmas holiday, at least here in the US
  • For a $400

It seems to me that this person, in addition to creating some annoyance on the mailing list where they posted it, simply has wildly unrealistic expectations. As a result, they are likely to end up disappointed with any real person applying for their work. They will quite likely get multiple applicants, eager to attack the job for the budget shown; so I am not suggesting that noone will do it.

Instead, I estimate that most likely a week will come and go, $400 will come and go, and they will not have a working system. With some struggle and legwork on the hiring end, they may get the end result for a surprisingly small multiple of the proposed budget… but if they started with a more realistic amount in the first place, they’d likely get there faster and with less work on the hiring end.

A broader lesson, that I’ve learned through experience in the trenches, is that if you don’t have a good feel for the price range, start with no price range. Then talk with the first handful of applicants, listening carefully. With a couple of hours (for a simple request), you’ll probably have at least some realistic sense of the size of your project. With this knowledge, you can make more realistic and credible job posts, yielding more and better applicants.

Were you hoping for an approach to fix someone else’s unrealistic expectations? Sorry, I’ve not found a good way to do this. The best you can do is to find and fix your own.

Book Giveaway at Lambda Lounge, Dec. 3

This Thursday is the next meeting of the Lambda Lounge, I’m giving away another stack of books:

Kyle is giving away these books

I love books. I love them so much that my house became crowded with them. Then I realized that The World is My Warehouse.

Please take a book, free. There are some excellent books in this pile, most notably the “Generative Programming” book and Bitter EJB.

Update: All but a couple of the books were snapped up at the meeting.

Book Giveaway at BarCampSTL, Nov. 7

A while back I wrote that The World is My Warehouse, and I’ve been making that more true ever since. One tiny example is the stack of books below, which I’m giving away tomorrow at Bar Camp St. Louis.

Cordes books to give away at BarCamp

Please be polite, and only take one book per person.

Two of the books are about procrastination. You are welcome to them; but my advice on procrastication is:

  • Don’t read about procrastination. Rather:
  • Do some work,
  • Produce¬†something of value,
  • or engage in worthwhile leisure.

Update: The book giveaway was a success, the books are gone. It further inspired at least one other attendee to give away some books also.

Published in 1987

Rummaging through old books (giving many away, selling others, discarding others) in an attempt to lighten the load I carry through life, I came across a rather weak book from 1987:

‚Ķ in which I appeared in print for the first time. One short (1.5 page) chapter therein is from a submission I wrote for a contest for Compute! magazine at the age of 13. I didn’t make it in to the magazine, but was included it in this compendium, for which I earned total royalties of around $1. Some editing error (on their end) caused a few lines of text to be dropped from the middle. Click on the book above, to enjoy my 1.5 pages of fame.