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The Soul of a New Company

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  • Gilad Ben-Yossef
    Howdie, Here s a little rant I wrote about a possible business model for companies that want to give the full rights to the software to their customers (not
    Message 1 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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      Howdie,

      Here's a little rant I wrote about a possible business model for
      companies that want to give the full rights to the software to their
      customers (not neccisarily in the Stallmanish GPL sense):

      http://firstpost.org/#1032335162

      Feedback is apreciated.


      Gilad.

      --
      Gilad Ben-Yossef <gilad@...>
      http://benyossef.com

      "Too many journalists think that C4I really stands for Inteligence,
      Communication, Control, Computers and Consiparcy."
    • Nadav Har'El
      ... Interesting. I remember you bringing up this concept on linux-il (I think) a few months ago. One comment I have is that the law practice framework you
      Message 2 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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        On Wed, Sep 18, 2002, Gilad Ben-Yossef wrote about "[hackers-il] The Soul of a New Company":
        > Here's a little rant I wrote about a possible business model for
        > companies that want to give the full rights to the software to their
        > customers (not neccisarily in the Stallmanish GPL sense):

        Interesting. I remember you bringing up this concept on linux-il (I think)
        a few months ago.

        One comment I have is that the "law practice" framework you describe can
        only work (I'm guessing - it's not like I was ever involved in any law
        practice) in a very small company, say not more than 5 or 10 people. I doubt
        that there could be a law practice of 1,000 people (for a software company
        this is not considered huge) where you'd still not have managers (people
        devoting 100% of their time to business and 0% to law [programming])
        secretaries, and the rest of the dreaded overhead you see in the typical
        hitech companies.

        I believe your law practice analogy has another interesting consequence.
        In a law practice (at least the kind I see in the movies) you have a
        relatively-large number of "partners" and the aim of the rest of the
        lawyers is to become a "partner". When you become a partner, it basically
        means you own a part of the company, you're no longer just a hired hand.
        There is no one "above" you in the heirarchy, and noone can tell you "you
        must do this, because I said so". I was rather shocked when I heard
        something along these lines (using different words) from one of my current
        bosses - it was almost my last at this work.

        Anyway, I wonder, is this a fishing expedition for partners for your new
        idea? Any chance of opening the "practice" around the Haifa area? :)


        --
        Nadav Har'El | Wednesday, Sep 18 2002, 12 Tishri 5763
        nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
        Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Live as if you were to die tomorrow,
        http://nadav.harel.org.il |learn as if you were to live forever.
      • Gilad Ben-Yossef
        ... This is 100% absoultly the intent and it also somewhat answers your previous question - there might be managers if/when the company is big enough, but
        Message 3 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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          On Wed, 2002-09-18 at 15:55, Nadav Har'El wrote:
          >
          > One comment I have is that the "law practice" framework you describe can
          > only work (I'm guessing - it's not like I was ever involved in any law
          > practice) in a very small company, say not more than 5 or 10 people. I doubt
          > that there could be a law practice of 1,000 people (for a software company
          > this is not considered huge) where you'd still not have managers (people
          > devoting 100% of their time to business and 0% to law [programming])
          > secretaries, and the rest of the dreaded overhead you see in the typical
          > hitech companies.
          >
          > I believe your law practice analogy has another interesting consequence.
          > In a law practice (at least the kind I see in the movies) you have a
          > relatively-large number of "partners" and the aim of the rest of the
          > lawyers is to become a "partner". When you become a partner, it basically
          > means you own a part of the company, you're no longer just a hired hand.
          > There is no one "above" you in the heirarchy, and noone can tell you "you
          > must do this, because I said so". I was rather shocked when I heard
          > something along these lines (using different words) from one of my current
          > bosses - it was almost my last at this work.

          This is 100% absoultly the intent and it also somewhat answers your
          previous question - there might be 'managers' if/when the company is big
          enough, but they will work for the 'senior hackers' and not the other
          way around.

          > Anyway, I wonder, is this a fishing expedition for partners for your new
          > idea? Any chance of opening the "practice" around the Haifa area? :)

          Yes! This idea viablity will live and die on the quality of the people
          invovled. I am very much fishing for partners and geographic location is
          not a problem, if the person is right. Need I grovel and say that I
          consider you worthy? :-)

          Gilad.

          --
          Gilad Ben-Yossef <gilad@...>
          http://benyossef.com

          "Too many journalists think that C4I really stands for Inteligence,
          Communication, Control, Computers and Consiparcy."
        • guy keren
          ... i have ben thinking about this type of work for a while (when you work for 5 years in a company that runs projects on behalf of clients - you always have
          Message 4 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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            On 18 Sep 2002, Gilad Ben-Yossef wrote:

            > Here's a little rant I wrote about a possible business model for
            > companies that want to give the full rights to the software to their
            > customers (not neccisarily in the Stallmanish GPL sense):

            i have ben thinking about this type of work for a while (when you work for
            5 years in a company that runs projects on behalf of clients - you always
            have this itch 'why do i work for them, instead of work for me?'), and i
            couldn't find good answers to the following questions:

            1. the boredom factor - its very hard to get interesting projects.
            companies mostly outsource stuff they don't want to do internally.
            the exception is the hardware-only companies (or any company not
            dealing with software). with them - you feel you're dealing with "the
            side show" - you never do the realy important stuff. and that often
            shows.

            2. the boredom factor - once you did a project of some kind, if your
            client is satisfied, you begin getting more projects of this kind. it
            becomes repetitive.

            3. the 'authority' factor - you have to like working under someone else's
            authority. the client tells you what to do directly, and sometimes on
            almost every move. not all clients are like that - but enough are.
            this authority problem happens also in traditional companies - but is
            more controlled, to an extent. you have too large disagreements with
            your bosses? you can quit. you can hardly do that when you have big
            disagreements with your client - the commitment is larger here.
            you also have a stronger ability to interview your future bosses - and
            decline to accept a job offer if they failed your interview. much
            harder to do that with clients (thought it is do-able).

            4. the selling factor - you need to _like_ socializing with strangers and
            dancing the 'you want me' dance. and quite often, they don't want you,
            and you have to learn to live with that. and thus you need to spend
            quite some time on that - especially if most projects you get are
            short. the shorter the projects are - the more time you need to spend
            on finding new clients.

            5. the financing factor - all partners in the firm have to have good
            financing - to get over the times 'beteween projects', and to allow
            them to build some software infrastructure that will help them deliver
            future projects faster.

            6. clients don't give much about software quality - often potential
            clients don't understand much about software quality, or simply don't
            give a damn, because "if it sort of works, that is good. especially if
            its cheap. and we won't buy it if it costs a plenty". they don't
            realy care about it being maintainable in the future ("what? we won't
            change anything in it in the future - or we'll start from scratch if
            we realy get clients for this") thus, you spend time to make your
            software better, and eventually lose future contracts to software
            houses that don't care about quality - only about a low price. and you
            later on see those lost contracts not getting delivered, and still the
            original bider does not return to you - they just bite their lip and
            keep waiting for the promised software to work - after all, they have
            their own "unexpected delays", so the deadline they set to the software
            being delivered is found to have been artificial.


            by the way, you left an open hole through which commercial software
            companies can work - new products in new fields. a new commercial company
            _can_ work on a new thing for a few years and make money out of it, and
            when it gets comodotized - disband, and go working on soemthing
            completely different. the problem is that this need to be planed in
            advance somehow - you need to still keep a core of the company in order to
            support existing clients - and need to put some money in store in order to
            finance this - or otherwize, sell the client base and support contracts to
            another company, that didn't get the clue yet ;)

            --
            guy

            "For world domination - press 1,
            or dial 0, and please hold, for the creator." -- nob o. dy
          • Omer Zak
            Gilad shared with us his thoughts and observations about how to turn a profit by spending time on software development. Since he gave the analogy of law firms,
            Message 5 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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              Gilad shared with us his thoughts and observations about how to turn a
              profit by spending time on software development.

              Since he gave the analogy of law firms, I couldn't help trying to
              visualize a software house which corresponds to the law firm in that TV
              series.

              Richard Fish - the methodology gury, usually does not actually write code.
              But he does stress doing things the right way (not in PHB sense, but in
              hacker sense).
              Ally McBeal - the brilliant female hacker. Her code is mixture of
              brilliancy - both in getting the job done, and in the quality of bugs
              which go into it.
              "Biscuit" - would be the type who does not think twice of embedding a
              string representing a Scheme script into an assembly language device
              driver, and invoking Guile from it.

              Other participants - left as homework.
            • Omer Zak
              Gilad shared with us his thoughts and observations about how to turn a profit by spending time on software development. One possible way of turning a big
              Message 6 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                Gilad shared with us his thoughts and observations about how to turn a
                profit by spending time on software development.

                One possible way of turning a big profit on Free Software, is to be expert
                on a particular big software package. People would then turn to you and
                utilize your expertise rather than invest 2-3 years mastering the software
                package by themselves.

                Until some bright and mad scientist develops a method to duplicate, inside
                another brain, the contents and wiring of brain neurons in one brain, the
                time spent mastering a well-used software package would be an effective
                barrier of entry. Yet, because this is Free Software, the barrier is not
                impenetrable.

                In fact, companies used to make the source code of big packages available
                to their customers (to read and integrate with, not necessarily to
                modify). Even Microsoft provided the source code of its MFC.

                An example of a business using this model: Cygnus - the experts of gcc
                and of the arcane art of porting it to new processor architectures.

                Another approach, which might work for a while:

                Accumulate a database of test cases for testing, validating and qualifying
                a software package. Offer to test new versions of the software package
                for a very nice fee.

                This model exploits a loophole in GPL (which probably cannot be plugged):
                if you create a test case to test GPLed software, you don't have to
                release it to the customers of the GPLed software.

                Then if someone needs to modify a GPLed software package (perhaps to fix a
                bug), he will have to run regression tests on it to ensure that he didn't
                break anything else. Then he'll have to turn to you and pay you to run
                your secret tests on the software.

                Such an approach would work until someone develops a GPLed database of
                test cases for the software package in question (such databases exist for
                Linux, if I am not mistaken).
                --- Omer
                WARNING TO SPAMMERS: at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html
              • Nadav Har'El
                ... Thanks for your insights, Guy. The difference between you and me (and perhaps Gilad, I don t know his background) is that you actually did consulting
                Message 7 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                  On Wed, Sep 18, 2002, guy keren wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] The Soul of a New Company":
                  > i have ben thinking about this type of work for a while (when you work for
                  > 5 years in a company that runs projects on behalf of clients - you always
                  > have this itch 'why do i work for them, instead of work for me?'), and i
                  > couldn't find good answers to the following questions:

                  Thanks for your insights, Guy. The difference between you and me (and perhaps
                  Gilad, I don't know his background) is that you actually did consulting
                  (a.k.a. outsourcing) for a few years as your main job; For me, consulting
                  never accounted for more than, say, 10% of my income, and I never had to
                  search for such gigs, so obviously I do not have your experience.

                  After reading Guy's insights, I thought of some problems in the law-practice
                  analogy. Gilad, care to comment on the issues below?

                  Here is the problem I see with the analogy: Guy said that only (or mostly)
                  the most boring jobs came to them, because companies usually have in-house
                  programmers doing the interesting stuff for them. You also get a lot of
                  small jobs because, again, companies tend to do the big jobs in-house.
                  All this does not happen with lawyers: most companies do not have in-house
                  lawyers, and when they need to (say) sue they contact a law firm. So
                  law firms get also the biggest and most interesting cases, not just the
                  petty cases (obviously, if you're an unknown startup firm, you will get
                  just the petty cases).

                  A related problem with the analogy is that individuals who needs law services
                  usually has to hire a lawyer. You cannot buy a shrink-wrapped compact-disk
                  of a litigator which you'll play for the judge, or some sort of software
                  to check your apartment contract or divorce settlement.
                  The situation with software is completely different: individuals *can*
                  buy shrink-wrapped software (or download some for free) and don't need
                  to hire a programmer to write one for them. In the rare cases when an
                  individual wants to hire someone to explain how to use some software,
                  little is at stake (unlike the apartment contract or divorce settlement,
                  or worse, a criminal prosecution) so the individual is not likely to pay
                  thousands of shekels like he does to a lawyer. More likely he'll want to
                  pay the next-door kid 50 shekels to solve the problem. This is not the
                  clientelle you can build a software "practice" on, if your partners expect
                  to make at least 100 shekels an hour...
                  Another relevant note that there are also laws that say that for some
                  purposes you *must* hire a qualified lawyer. There are no laws saying that
                  you must have a software engineer install your operating system for you...

                  So unlike law firms, a consulting company apparently is not likely to get
                  really big and interesting projects, nor is it likely to get the business
                  of individuals. I hope that leaves enough business for such a company to
                  be a viable idea...

                  Of course, in the future, what I wrote might change. Individuals might
                  get used to getting software for free but paying 200 shekels an hour
                  for support (similar to how Israelis got used to pay mechanics to fix
                  their car, instead of learning on how to do that yourself like many
                  Americans still do). Hardware companies might get more used to hiring
                  software outsourcing companies for writing their software.
                  But how can we have any effect on this future's quick arrival?

                  --
                  Nadav Har'El | Wednesday, Sep 18 2002, 13 Tishri 5763
                  nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                  Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Everybody lies, but it doesn't matter
                  http://nadav.harel.org.il |since nobody listens.
                • Nadav Har'El
                  ... Right. There s a chapter in the O Reilly Open Sources book (available freely online) about Cygnus and their business model. -- Nadav Har El
                  Message 8 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                    On Wed, Sep 18, 2002, Omer Zak wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] The Soul of a New Company":
                    > An example of a business using this model: Cygnus - the experts of gcc
                    > and of the arcane art of porting it to new processor architectures.

                    Right. There's a chapter in the O'Reilly "Open Sources" book (available freely
                    online) about Cygnus and their business model.

                    --
                    Nadav Har'El | Wednesday, Sep 18 2002, 13 Tishri 5763
                    nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                    Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Unix is simple, but it takes a genius to
                    http://nadav.harel.org.il |understand its simplicity.
                  • Tzafrir Cohen
                    ... Maybe try to sell an idea like software insurance (like what http://cunterpane.com/ try to push). This needs some financing, though. -- Tzafrir Cohen
                    Message 9 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                      On Wed, 18 Sep 2002, Nadav Har'El wrote:

                      > Another relevant note that there are also laws that say that for some
                      > purposes you *must* hire a qualified lawyer. There are no laws saying that
                      > you must have a software engineer install your operating system for you...

                      Maybe try to sell an idea like software insurance (like what
                      http://cunterpane.com/ try to push).

                      This needs some financing, though.

                      --
                      Tzafrir Cohen
                      mailto:tzafrir@...
                      http://www.technion.ac.il/~tzafrir
                    • Omer Zak
                      ... Think about that accounting package, which you bought for your business. It needs to be installed and customized according to the needs of your business.
                      Message 10 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                        On Wed, 18 Sep 2002, Nadav Har'El wrote:

                        > A related problem with the analogy is that individuals who needs law services
                        > usually has to hire a lawyer. You cannot buy a shrink-wrapped compact-disk
                        > of a litigator which you'll play for the judge, or some sort of software
                        > to check your apartment contract or divorce settlement.
                        > The situation with software is completely different: individuals *can*
                        > buy shrink-wrapped software (or download some for free) and don't need
                        > to hire a programmer to write one for them. In the rare cases when an
                        > individual wants to hire someone to explain how to use some software,
                        > little is at stake (unlike the apartment contract or divorce settlement,
                        > or worse, a criminal prosecution) so the individual is not likely to pay
                        > thousands of shekels like he does to a lawyer.

                        Think about that accounting package, which you bought for your business.
                        It needs to be installed and customized according to the needs of your
                        business. Similarly - for other packages with complex installation and
                        customization needs.

                        To customize the right way, you need to work with an expert, who knows to
                        ask the right kind of questions about your business situation, and who
                        knows the relevant configuration options of the software package in
                        question.

                        This is what lawyers really do! They customize the law according to the
                        needs and circumstances of their clients.

                        The best analogy to development of shrinkwrap software is the gang of 120
                        foul-mouthed politicians, who sit in that pretty building in Jerusalem,
                        donated by Rotschild. The process of specifying, implementing,
                        quality-control which goes there is very interesting to people, who like
                        this kind of ghoulish experience.

                        (Of course, the "software" created by them gets debugged elsewhere - in
                        places called "courts", especially the BAGATZ.)
                        --- Omer
                        WARNING TO SPAMMERS: at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html
                      • Oleg Goldshmidt
                        ... If I understand Gilad correctly (and we have discussed this IRL), the point is that even senior partners in a big law firm practice law themselves. At an
                        Message 11 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                          "Nadav Har'El" <nyh@...> writes:

                          > One comment I have is that the "law practice" framework you describe can
                          > only work (I'm guessing - it's not like I was ever involved in any law
                          > practice) in a very small company, say not more than 5 or 10
                          > people.

                          If I understand Gilad correctly (and we have discussed this IRL), the
                          point is that even senior partners in a big law firm practice law
                          themselves. At an extreme, they used to practice law, and just don't
                          have the time to do it any longer, although they still review cases
                          and participate in what we techies would call design reviews and
                          postmortems.

                          If you see a non-lawyer ina law firm he/she would be in HR, in the
                          library, or some such. The point is that somehow in tech world it is
                          considered quite normal that an MBA "rules over" the R&D staff,
                          because he is a "professional manager". Another, related point is that
                          in a law firm there will be no "marketing department" that will make
                          strategic decisions for the company. Such decisions will be made by
                          lawyers. How many traditional computer companies do you know where
                          engineers rule over marketing?

                          > There is no one "above" you in the heirarchy, and noone can tell you "you
                          > must do this, because I said so". I was rather shocked when I heard
                          > something along these lines (using different words) from one of my current
                          > bosses - it was almost my last at this work.

                          It was Gilad's last day. It will be mine soon (anybody needs a physics
                          PhD with quite a bit of software experience for a permanent or
                          consulting R&D work? I don't do windows though...)

                          > Anyway, I wonder, is this a fishing expedition for partners for your new
                          > idea? Any chance of opening the "practice" around the Haifa area? :)

                          Get in line ;-)

                          --
                          Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
                          =================================================================
                          "... Of theoretical physics and programming, programming embodied
                          the greater intellectual challenge." [E.W.Dijkstra, 1930 - 2002.]
                        • Oleg Goldshmidt
                          ... I suspect that the analogy exists on a tangential plane. Companies do not do big projects in-house and outsource small ones. Companies tend to do their
                          Message 12 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                            "Nadav Har'El" <nyh@...> writes:

                            > Here is the problem I see with the analogy: Guy said that only (or mostly)
                            > the most boring jobs came to them, because companies usually have in-house
                            > programmers doing the interesting stuff for them. You also get a lot of
                            > small jobs because, again, companies tend to do the big jobs in-house.
                            > All this does not happen with lawyers: most companies do not have in-house
                            > lawyers, and when they need to (say) sue they contact a law firm. So
                            > law firms get also the biggest and most interesting cases, not just the
                            > petty cases (obviously, if you're an unknown startup firm, you will get
                            > just the petty cases).

                            I suspect that the analogy exists on a tangential plane. Companies do
                            not do big projects in-house and outsource small ones. Companies tend
                            to do their core business in-house, and outsource auxiliary projects.
                            Network management part, software configuration, system
                            administration, development tools come to mind. Come to think of it,
                            this is exactly what lawyers and accountants do - provide auxiliary
                            services, rather than do parts of the clients' core business.

                            Thus, I suspect that Gilad's model may be applicable to "software for
                            use" rather than "software for sale".

                            > Of course, in the future, what I wrote might change. Individuals might
                            > get used to getting software for free but paying 200 shekels an hour
                            > for support (similar to how Israelis got used to pay mechanics to fix
                            > their car, instead of learning on how to do that yourself like many
                            > Americans still do).

                            I pay someone to wash my car, and I pay someone else to clean my
                            apartment. I am capable of doing both, but it is not worth my time.
                            Learning to fix cars is a big investment of time which is not worth it
                            unless you intend to make a living out of it or just enjoy it. It may
                            be that the same will happen in computers.

                            How many questions from friends and relatives who can't connect to the
                            internet, got a virus in their Outlook, or got a disk or a memory chip
                            fried have you fielded recently? A few weeks ago I helped an
                            acquaintance of mine disconnect the cables from her brand new computer
                            because she expected a carpenter to work on her desk. She would not
                            call me if she had a problem - even a trivial one - with her washing
                            machine or air conditioner. She'd pay a professional. I don't see many
                            ads in Yellow Pages advertising "Itzik OS installation services". This
                            may change when computers become as commonplace as piping in our
                            houses. The computer boom is very recent, remember? The boxes are
                            there, the services not yet.

                            Yes, these are "petty", boring things. That's what lawyer apprentices
                            start from and build reputation on before they become partners and
                            start getting big interesting cases. That's what paralegals do.

                            --
                            Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
                            =================================================================
                            "... Of theoretical physics and programming, programming embodied
                            the greater intellectual challenge." [E.W.Dijkstra, 1930 - 2002.]
                          • Oleg Goldshmidt
                            ... That s counterpane, for sure? -- Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@NOSPAM.computer.org ================================================================= ...
                            Message 13 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                              Tzafrir Cohen <tzafrir@...> writes:

                              > Maybe try to sell an idea like software insurance (like what
                              > http://cunterpane.com/ try to push).

                              That's counterpane, for sure?

                              --
                              Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
                              =================================================================
                              "... Of theoretical physics and programming, programming embodied
                              the greater intellectual challenge." [E.W.Dijkstra, 1930 - 2002.]
                            • Gilad Ben-Yossef
                              ... Actually, it would be very intersting to imagine what a company called cunt erpane might be up to... ... Isn t that Bruce Schnier (sp?) company?
                              Message 14 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                                On Wed, 2002-09-18 at 21:50, Oleg Goldshmidt wrote:
                                > Tzafrir Cohen <tzafrir@...> writes:
                                >
                                > > Maybe try to sell an idea like software insurance (like what
                                > > http://cunterpane.com/ try to push).

                                Actually, it would be very intersting to imagine what a company called
                                'cunt erpane'might be up to... <giggle>

                                >
                                > That's counterpane, for sure?

                                Isn't that Bruce Schnier (sp?) company?

                                Gilad.
                                --
                                Gilad Ben-Yossef <gilad@...>
                                http://benyossef.com

                                "Too many journalists think that C4I really stands for Inteligence,
                                Communication, Control, Computers and Consiparcy."
                              • Nadav Har'El
                                ... Maybe this is situation is common in startup companies where the entrepreneur was an MBA and retains some sort of management position, but it certainly
                                Message 15 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                                  On Wed, Sep 18, 2002, Oleg Goldshmidt wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] The Soul of a New Company":
                                  > library, or some such. The point is that somehow in tech world it is
                                  > considered quite normal that an MBA "rules over" the R&D staff,
                                  > because he is a "professional manager". Another, related point is that

                                  Maybe this is situation is common in startup companies where the
                                  entrepreneur was an MBA and retains some sort of management position,
                                  but it certainly isn't true in companies like the one I work in (Radware).
                                  In Radware, as far as I can tell, everyone in the R&D department has
                                  some sort of programming experience. Many of them, howevr, the managers,
                                  haven't really programmed in their current job. I suspect this could happen
                                  in a big law firm too.

                                  > in a law firm there will be no "marketing department" that will make
                                  > strategic decisions for the company. Such decisions will be made by
                                  > lawyers. How many traditional computer companies do you know where
                                  > engineers rule over marketing?

                                  Again, I must admit that I know nothing about law firms, and all I write
                                  now is based on movies and guesses.

                                  If you have a big law firm, say 100 lawyers, you're probably also working
                                  on big cases where several lawyers are involved (e.g., I assume more than
                                  one lawyer worked on the huge HP-Compaq merger). I assume these companies
                                  *do* have some sort of person or people who are responsible for deciding
                                  which multi-lawyer cases to take, and which lawyers to put on these cases,
                                  and for being on the lookout for new cases like that.
                                  The final decision can be brought to a partner vote, but I am guessing that
                                  there is a specific person orchestrating that huge new job, and that he
                                  does have some special clout with the partners. This is very similar to
                                  a typical marketing department: they are in charge of getting large new
                                  deals (not on selling small stuff) and while they don't have the power to
                                  make final decisions the other executives listen to them and usually do
                                  as they say.

                                  > consulting R&D work? I don't do windows though...)

                                  I guess that I won't take you as my housekeeper, then :)

                                  --
                                  Nadav Har'El | Wednesday, Sep 18 2002, 13 Tishri 5763
                                  nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                                  Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
                                  http://nadav.harel.org.il |
                                • Gilad Ben-Yossef
                                  ... What I introduced was a solution (maybe) for makign money from free software (FSDO free), not how to leat an exciting life... :) But this is not a real
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                                    On Wed, 2002-09-18 at 16:58, guy keren wrote:

                                    > 1. the boredom factor - its very hard to get interesting projects.
                                    > companies mostly outsource stuff they don't want to do internally.
                                    > the exception is the hardware-only companies (or any company not
                                    > dealing with software). with them - you feel you're dealing with "the
                                    > side show" - you never do the realy important stuff. and that often
                                    > shows.

                                    What I introduced was a 'solution' (maybe) for makign money from free
                                    software (FSDO free), not how to leat an exciting life... :)

                                    But this is not a real answer. I think the real answer lies in the
                                    nature of the people who are working. If you have several OK people and
                                    no sepcific specialities other then delivering on good projects then you
                                    get the less itnersting jobs. if the people (senior hackers, at least)
                                    are one of a kind experts in fields where there aren't many people and
                                    charge money to show it they will get enough interesting work to enjoy
                                    and the hackers which are not partners will work on the rest - which is
                                    Ok, because this is how you get exprience.

                                    I'll even go further to say that I think in software, unlike lawyering,
                                    what will happen is that the exprts will by hired to 'escort' a project
                                    inside the customer company, with their internal development team but
                                    providing the experties and benefit of experience.

                                    Why doesn't the customer just hires an expert for the team instead of
                                    hiring from outside? because in todays business money it is difficult to
                                    pay enough to such an expert, both in term of money and interest to stay
                                    in one place and you don;t really want to - mosst companies don't really
                                    need brain power of that high octane all the time. They need it most at
                                    the begining and quite less over the life of the project.

                                    >
                                    > 2. the boredom factor - once you did a project of some kind, if your
                                    > client is satisfied, you begin getting more projects of this kind. it
                                    > becomes repetitive.

                                    Then think on how to generalize and automatize doing this kind of work.
                                    Build infrastructure so good that doing these project becomes a breeze
                                    and get one of the 'apprentices' (I use the word on purpose - noticed
                                    how what I describe is very similat to the old guild system? ) to those
                                    projects for now.

                                    >
                                    > 3. the 'authority' factor - you have to like working under someone else's
                                    > authority. the client tells you what to do directly, and sometimes on
                                    > almost every move. not all clients are like that - but enough are.
                                    > this authority problem happens also in traditional companies - but is
                                    > more controlled, to an extent. you have too large disagreements with
                                    > your bosses? you can quit. you can hardly do that when you have big
                                    > disagreements with your client - the commitment is larger here.
                                    > you also have a stronger ability to interview your future bosses - and
                                    > decline to accept a job offer if they failed your interview. much
                                    > harder to do that with clients (thought it is do-able).

                                    You're someones bitch whatever you do. As someoen who just quit a job
                                    two weeks ago exactly because this sort of a problem I can say at least
                                    that being a wage slave is any better...


                                    >
                                    > 4. the selling factor - you need to _like_ socializing with strangers and
                                    > dancing the 'you want me' dance. and quite often, they don't want you,
                                    > and you have to learn to live with that. and thus you need to spend
                                    > quite some time on that - especially if most projects you get are
                                    > short. the shorter the projects are - the more time you need to spend
                                    > on finding new clients.

                                    Some projects will be short, some will be long. When you are working one
                                    of the other partners will work to get the next job, then you switch.
                                    This is how it is better then single consultant. Also, given enough time
                                    and IF you're good enough - people will start coming to you.

                                    >
                                    > 5. the financing factor - all partners in the firm have to have good
                                    > financing - to get over the times 'beteween projects', and to allow
                                    > them to build some software infrastructure that will help them deliver
                                    > future projects faster.

                                    The firm needs to plan to use the money wisely to prepare for bad times.
                                    What else is new?

                                    >
                                    > 6. clients don't give much about software quality - often potential
                                    > clients don't understand much about software quality, or simply don't
                                    > give a damn, because "if it sort of works, that is good. especially if

                                    For short range project this may be true. Then again, it is also true
                                    when you working in house for someone. What's the point?

                                    >
                                    > by the way, you left an open hole through which commercial software
                                    > companies can work - new products in new fields. a new commercial company
                                    > _can_ work on a new thing for a few years and make money out of it, and
                                    > when it gets comodotized - disband, and go working on soemthing
                                    > completely different. the problem is that this need to be planed in
                                    > advance somehow - you need to still keep a core of the company in order to
                                    > support existing clients - and need to put some money in store in order to
                                    > finance this - or otherwize, sell the client base and support contracts to
                                    > another company, that didn't get the clue yet ;)

                                    I think I did mention that it seems that for new products (if they're
                                    *really* new that is, not Yet Another X) then the closed source model
                                    seems viable for the first couple of year economicly speaking. I didn't
                                    try to 'close holes', I tried to described a situation as I see it.

                                    Thanks for the feedback!

                                    Gilad.
                                    --
                                    Gilad Ben-Yossef <gilad@...>
                                    http://benyossef.com

                                    "Too many journalists think that C4I really stands for Inteligence,
                                    Communication, Control, Computers and Consiparcy."
                                  • Nadav Har'El
                                    ... I wondered who in their right mind will start their company s name with a four-letter word :) -- Nadav Har El | Thursday, Sep 19
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                                      On Wed, Sep 18, 2002, Oleg Goldshmidt wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] The Soul of a New Company":
                                      > Tzafrir Cohen <tzafrir@...> writes:
                                      >
                                      > > Maybe try to sell an idea like software insurance (like what
                                      > > http://cunterpane.com/ try to push).
                                      >
                                      > That's counterpane, for sure?

                                      I wondered who in their right mind will start their company's name with a
                                      four-letter word :)

                                      --
                                      Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Sep 19 2002, 13 Tishri 5763
                                      nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                                      Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |If you drink, don't park; Accidents cause
                                      http://nadav.harel.org.il |people.
                                    • Gilad Ben-Yossef
                                      ... Mean either. As usual, I have no idea what I m talking about...; :-) ... Do you really think that most of the stuff that layers get is itnersting? you
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                                        On Wed, 2002-09-18 at 19:24, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                                        > Thanks for your insights, Guy. The difference between you and me (and perhaps
                                        > Gilad, I don't know his background) is that you actually did consulting
                                        > (a.k.a. outsourcing) for a few years as your main job; For me, consulting
                                        > never accounted for more than, say, 10% of my income, and I never had to
                                        > search for such gigs, so obviously I do not have your experience.

                                        Mean either. As usual, I have no idea what I'm talking about...; :-)

                                        >
                                        > After reading Guy's insights, I thought of some problems in the law-practice
                                        > analogy. Gilad, care to comment on the issues below?
                                        >
                                        > Here is the problem I see with the analogy: Guy said that only (or mostly)
                                        > the most boring jobs came to them, because companies usually have in-house
                                        > programmers doing the interesting stuff for them. You also get a lot of
                                        > small jobs because, again, companies tend to do the big jobs in-house.
                                        > All this does not happen with lawyers: most companies do not have in-house
                                        > lawyers, and when they need to (say) sue they contact a law firm. So
                                        > law firms get also the biggest and most interesting cases, not just the
                                        > petty cases (obviously, if you're an unknown startup firm, you will get
                                        > just the petty cases).

                                        Do you really think that most of the stuff that layers get is
                                        itnersting? you watch too much TV :-) I'll assume that 95% of what a
                                        *big* law firm handles is boring contract bullshit. That's the whole
                                        point of being a senior partner - you get to piock teh interesting and
                                        difficult cases and *IF* you're good enough, so good that people will
                                        hire you as an expert you'll get more intersting stuff.

                                        >
                                        > A related problem with the analogy is that individuals who needs law services
                                        > usually has to hire a lawyer. You cannot buy a shrink-wrapped compact-disk
                                        > of a litigator which you'll play for the judge, or some sort of software
                                        > to check your apartment contract or divorce settlement.
                                        > The situation with software is completely different: individuals *can*
                                        > buy shrink-wrapped software (or download some for free) and don't need
                                        > to hire a programmer to write one for them. In the rare cases when an
                                        > individual wants to hire someone to explain how to use some software,

                                        Shrink wrapped software happens on desktop systems, never on anything
                                        beyond that in real life. You can get a shrink wrap word proccessor.
                                        Where do you find a shrink wrapped software to run a bank, an assembly
                                        line, to automatically change the routing rules of your big network
                                        inresponse to QoS changes etc? you do have *soltions* for these problems
                                        but in reality you always need quite a lot of customization to adapt
                                        them to your needs (how many people here worked with ClearCase? how many
                                        people that did had a guy in the company which was hired for a full time
                                        job JUST to maintain the configuration control system? I rest my case).
                                        And I didn;t even mentioned the fact that 95% of the software produced
                                        world wide is actually done in house in places like banks, insurance
                                        companies, Boeing etc etc. Shrink wrap is very *visible*, for the same
                                        reason that desktop is very *visible*, but it's the biggest chunk.

                                        > little is at stake (unlike the apartment contract or divorce settlement,
                                        > or worse, a criminal prosecution) so the individual is not likely to pay
                                        > thousands of shekels like he does to a lawyer. More likely he'll want to

                                        Little is at stake? for the bank that needs a system to handle the
                                        clients money or the software company that needs a driver to be able to
                                        be there with their whole product on the dead line? No sir.. I think you
                                        are wrong :-)

                                        > Another relevant note that there are also laws that say that for some
                                        > purposes you *must* hire a qualified lawyer. There are no laws saying that
                                        > you must have a software engineer install your operating system for you...

                                        What's your point? there is not law that says I must fix my car at a
                                        licensed mechanic but I usually don';t pay the kid next door to do it
                                        either..

                                        >
                                        > So unlike law firms, a consulting company apparently is not likely to get
                                        > really big and interesting projects, nor is it likely to get the business
                                        > of individuals. I hope that leaves enough business for such a company to
                                        > be a viable idea...

                                        So just like a law firm, it is very much dependent on the people
                                        invovled and how good they are if the company will big and successful
                                        and get interesting project or not.

                                        >
                                        > Of course, in the future, what I wrote might change. Individuals might
                                        > get used to getting software for free but paying 200 shekels an hour
                                        > for support (similar to how Israelis got used to pay mechanics to fix
                                        > their car, instead of learning on how to do that yourself like many
                                        > Americans still do). Hardware companies might get more used to hiring
                                        > software outsourcing companies for writing their software.
                                        > But how can we have any effect on this future's quick arrival?

                                        The future starts now. We create it by the choices we make. The question
                                        shoudl really be - is the time is right? I think that the answer just
                                        might be a yes. We will see.... :-)


                                        Gilad

                                        --
                                        Gilad Ben-Yossef <gilad@...>
                                        http://benyossef.com

                                        "Too many journalists think that C4I really stands for Inteligence,
                                        Communication, Control, Computers and Consiparcy."
                                      • Oleg Goldshmidt
                                        ... Second that. You better hope your broker and bank and insurance agent use software that works, or there goes your retirement... Of course, your retirement
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                                          Gilad Ben-Yossef <gilad@...> writes:

                                          > Little is at stake? for the bank that needs a system to handle the
                                          > clients money

                                          Second that. You better hope your broker and bank and insurance agent
                                          use software that works, or there goes your retirement... Of course,
                                          your retirement may go up in smoke even if the software is fine, but
                                          having the right tools surely helps.

                                          And that's just money (which can lead to divorce). You better hope the
                                          hospital and the power plant have reliable software. And your car
                                          nowadays probably has quite a few chips in critical places, and
                                          someone has designed, programmed, and QAed each and every one of
                                          them. AFAIK some luxury cars have neural networks hooked to little
                                          cameras that determine the posture of the driver and the passenger and
                                          decide whether it is safe to deply airbags in case of a
                                          collision. Gosh, I hope the algorithm is right and the implementation
                                          is flawless...

                                          Oh, and that computerized search your lawyer's staffer is doing in the
                                          library shouldn't miss anything important, either... ;-)

                                          --
                                          Oleg Goldshmidt | ogoldshmidt@...
                                          =================================================================
                                          "... Of theoretical physics and programming, programming embodied
                                          the greater intellectual challenge." [E.W.Dijkstra, 1930 - 2002.]
                                        • Nadav Har'El
                                          ... I clearly said that little is at stake for *individuals*, what you called the desktop market. I supposed that law firms deal with individuals and their
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                                            On Thu, Sep 19, 2002, Gilad Ben-Yossef wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] The Soul of a New Company":
                                            > > little is at stake (unlike the apartment contract or divorce settlement,
                                            > > or worse, a criminal prosecution) so the individual is not likely to pay
                                            > > thousands of shekels like he does to a lawyer. More likely he'll want to
                                            >
                                            > Little is at stake? for the bank that needs a system to handle the

                                            I clearly said that little is at stake for *individuals*, what you called
                                            the desktop market. I supposed that law firms deal with individuals and
                                            their "petty" cases a lot, and what I claimed is that a software practice
                                            would have much less business coming in from individuals (as opposed to
                                            companies and organizations) for the reasons I stated.

                                            When I bought my apartment, I paid a couple of laywers in excess of
                                            10,000 shekels for not more than one or two days of their time. I don't
                                            see where *individual* customers could bring a software practice such
                                            large incomes. At the current state of affairs, people are not used to
                                            paying 10,000 shekels for, say, installing their home computer network
                                            or writing them a custom spam-filtering program ;)

                                            > > Another relevant note that there are also laws that say that for some
                                            > > purposes you *must* hire a qualified lawyer. There are no laws saying that
                                            > > you must have a software engineer install your operating system for you...
                                            >
                                            > What's your point? there is not law that says I must fix my car at a
                                            > licensed mechanic but I usually don';t pay the kid next door to do it
                                            > either..

                                            The point was another example that makes lawyers a necessary profession,
                                            while computer consultants are less necessary. I'm just thinking out
                                            loud whether your business idea can turn up a viable business. I simply
                                            don't know, but I guess there is no reason not to be optimistic :)

                                            > > Of course, in the future, what I wrote might change. Individuals might
                                            > > get used to getting software for free but paying 200 shekels an hour
                                            > > for support (similar to how Israelis got used to pay mechanics to fix
                                            > > their car, instead of learning on how to do that yourself like many
                                            > > Americans still do). Hardware companies might get more used to hiring
                                            > > software outsourcing companies for writing their software.
                                            > > But how can we have any effect on this future's quick arrival?
                                            >
                                            > The future starts now. We create it by the choices we make. The question
                                            > shoudl really be - is the time is right? I think that the answer just
                                            > might be a yes. We will see.... :-)

                                            I was talking of course, about the future of the *demand*. We can control
                                            *supply*, not demand. I guess that you believe that there is already enough
                                            demand for the services you think you can give. I have no idea if that is
                                            true, because as I said I never tried living off consulting.

                                            --
                                            Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Sep 19 2002, 13 Tishri 5763
                                            nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                                            Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |Linux *is* user-friendly. Not
                                            http://nadav.harel.org.il |idiot-friendly, but user-friendly.
                                          • guy keren
                                            ... there is a difference between outsourcing, and consulting - at least the way i see it. with outsourcing, you tend to get actuall projects to handle. with
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                                              On Wed, 18 Sep 2002, Nadav Har'El wrote:

                                              > Thanks for your insights, Guy. The difference between you and me (and perhaps
                                              > Gilad, I don't know his background) is that you actually did consulting
                                              > (a.k.a. outsourcing) for a few years as your main job; For me, consulting
                                              > never accounted for more than, say, 10% of my income, and I never had to
                                              > search for such gigs, so obviously I do not have your experience.

                                              there is a difference between outsourcing, and consulting - at least the
                                              way i see it. with outsourcing, you tend to get actuall projects to
                                              handle. with consulting - you give more specific consultation as to how to
                                              perform certain tasks - while other people would often implement those
                                              tasks. there are things that are 'on the grey line' (e.g. someone hires
                                              you to configure a router for them - is this consulting, or outsourcing?
                                              i'd say its neither, but i have no name for this kind of work - unless
                                              its a very large operation, that takes days or weeks to perform - i tend
                                              not to call it outsourcing).

                                              > After reading Guy's insights, I thought of some problems in the law-practice
                                              > analogy. Gilad, care to comment on the issues below?
                                              >
                                              > Here is the problem I see with the analogy: Guy said that only (or mostly)
                                              > the most boring jobs came to them, because companies usually have in-house
                                              > programmers doing the interesting stuff for them.

                                              that's not exactly what i meant. i was trying to (but failed to) make a
                                              distinction between two types of clients - those who develope sotware
                                              inhouse, and those who don't. for those who do - they will tend to shell
                                              out the less interesting stuff - and that is natural, cause their
                                              programmers want to handle that stuff. for companies with no in-house
                                              software development - they'll give you the full project - but it will
                                              usually (even if it interesting) be less 'ground breaking' then what their
                                              core business is about.

                                              the other issue is the repetitiveness. after all - an expert is someone
                                              who has already done something several times. the more you did this thing
                                              (assuming you gave good results) - the more you'll get asked to do the
                                              same thing _again_.

                                              --
                                              guy

                                              "For world domination - press 1,
                                              or dial 0, and please hold, for the creator." -- nob o. dy
                                            • guy keren
                                              ... ok. but from what i know about you - this is not what you are after. ... this is something that you d wish for. however, you ll find that its easier said
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                                                On 19 Sep 2002, Gilad Ben-Yossef wrote:

                                                > On Wed, 2002-09-18 at 16:58, guy keren wrote:
                                                >
                                                > > 1. the boredom factor - its very hard to get interesting projects.
                                                > > companies mostly outsource stuff they don't want to do internally.
                                                > > the exception is the hardware-only companies (or any company not
                                                > > dealing with software). with them - you feel you're dealing with "the
                                                > > side show" - you never do the realy important stuff. and that often
                                                > > shows.
                                                >
                                                > What I introduced was a 'solution' (maybe) for makign money from free
                                                > software (FSDO free), not how to leat an exciting life... :)

                                                ok. but from what i know about you - this is not what you are after.

                                                > But this is not a real answer. I think the real answer lies in the
                                                > nature of the people who are working. If you have several OK people and
                                                > no sepcific specialities other then delivering on good projects then you
                                                > get the less itnersting jobs. if the people (senior hackers, at least)
                                                > are one of a kind experts in fields where there aren't many people and
                                                > charge money to show it they will get enough interesting work to enjoy
                                                > and the hackers which are not partners will work on the rest - which is
                                                > Ok, because this is how you get exprience.

                                                this is something that you'd wish for. however, you'll find that its
                                                easier said then done. perhaps after a few years of doing both interesting
                                                and boring work - you'll get to this status. also, if there is a large
                                                demand on the field, then rather soon you'll find you have tougher
                                                competetion, which has learned many of your secrets - and thus loose some
                                                of your edge. then, if you'll want to keep your model (being one of a kind
                                                in a field) you'll have to switch to a new field - just like the
                                                'commercial product' folks would, the way i suggested it. now, it could be
                                                that your field will keep remaining small, because there is not a large
                                                demand for it, but wherever people do need it - they need a realy great
                                                expert. the danger in this case, is that your field will get extinct. only
                                                if you're luckly - will it remain small and still not get extinct for a
                                                long time. and i don't think you think that kernel hacking will remain a
                                                small business in israel for a very long time.

                                                > I'll even go further to say that I think in software, unlike lawyering,
                                                > what will happen is that the exprts will by hired to 'escort' a project
                                                > inside the customer company, with their internal development team but
                                                > providing the experties and benefit of experience.

                                                this is already happening. and then you get to work with people you didn't
                                                choose to work with - quite often, the same people you would reject for an
                                                interview in your own company. this kind of escort is good for you if you
                                                realy enjoy teaching. in such a case - it could even be ideal.

                                                > Why doesn't the customer just hires an expert for the team instead of
                                                > hiring from outside? because in todays business money it is difficult to
                                                > pay enough to such an expert, both in term of money and interest to stay
                                                > in one place and you don;t really want to - mosst companies don't really
                                                > need brain power of that high octane all the time. They need it most at
                                                > the begining and quite less over the life of the project.

                                                part of this, is because after a while, the people working there start
                                                getting the hang of things, and require your help less and less. at least
                                                that should be the optimum.

                                                > > 2. the boredom factor - once you did a project of some kind, if your
                                                > > client is satisfied, you begin getting more projects of this kind. it
                                                > > becomes repetitive.
                                                >
                                                > Then think on how to generalize and automatize doing this kind of work.
                                                > Build infrastructure so good that doing these project becomes a breeze
                                                > and get one of the 'apprentices' (I use the word on purpose - noticed
                                                > how what I describe is very similat to the old guild system? ) to those
                                                > projects for now.

                                                this requires carefull planning and financing. when this happens, the
                                                'code programmers' are the ones that need to work on the infrastructure -
                                                and then you have to delegate the job of working with the clients to the
                                                lesser programmers - which is not so easy a process to manage - althought
                                                i believe it is do-able - althoguhts requires shelling some money to pay
                                                for the salaries meanwhile.

                                                > > 3. the 'authority' factor - you have to like working under someone else's
                                                > > authority. the client tells you what to do directly, and sometimes on
                                                > > almost every move. not all clients are like that - but enough are.
                                                > > this authority problem happens also in traditional companies - but is
                                                > > more controlled, to an extent. you have too large disagreements with
                                                > > your bosses? you can quit. you can hardly do that when you have big
                                                > > disagreements with your client - the commitment is larger here.
                                                > > you also have a stronger ability to interview your future bosses - and
                                                > > decline to accept a job offer if they failed your interview. much
                                                > > harder to do that with clients (thought it is do-able).
                                                >
                                                > You're someones bitch whatever you do. As someoen who just quit a job
                                                > two weeks ago exactly because this sort of a problem I can say at least
                                                > that being a wage slave is any better...

                                                you just prove my point - that you could quit your job quite easily. if
                                                you had the same case with a client, it'll be much harder to 'fire' that
                                                client without hurting your reputation.

                                                > > 4. the selling factor - you need to _like_ socializing with strangers and
                                                > > dancing the 'you want me' dance. and quite often, they don't want you,
                                                > > and you have to learn to live with that. and thus you need to spend
                                                > > quite some time on that - especially if most projects you get are
                                                > > short. the shorter the projects are - the more time you need to spend
                                                > > on finding new clients.
                                                >
                                                > Some projects will be short, some will be long. When you are working one
                                                > of the other partners will work to get the next job, then you switch.
                                                > This is how it is better then single consultant. Also, given enough time
                                                > and IF you're good enough - people will start coming to you.

                                                to do the same things you already did - not to do things you've never done
                                                - unless its a very new field (like linux kernel programming in israel
                                                currently is - but then again, people who do kernel as a marginal thing,
                                                would come to you to write them another device driver, or make a small
                                                twick to the kernel, or configure it more optimally on their box. those
                                                who do their core business in kernel programming - will be more reluctant
                                                to give that work to outsiders).

                                                > > 5. the financing factor - all partners in the firm have to have good
                                                > > financing - to get over the times 'beteween projects', and to allow
                                                > > them to build some software infrastructure that will help them deliver
                                                > > future projects faster.
                                                >
                                                > The firm needs to plan to use the money wisely to prepare for bad times.
                                                > What else is new?

                                                this is harder to do without an initial investment - you'll have to juggle
                                                much more then people which have enough money to start things up until
                                                they earn a reputation.

                                                > > 6. clients don't give much about software quality - often potential
                                                > > clients don't understand much about software quality, or simply don't
                                                > > give a damn, because "if it sort of works, that is good. especially if
                                                >
                                                > For short range project this may be true.

                                                not necessarily. for the one performing the outsourcing, it is
                                                _advantageous to deliver a product of poor quality, and then live off it
                                                by maintaining it for a long duration - this is the kind of thing that
                                                causes a 'lock in' in the outsourcing market.

                                                now, if the company that hired you to do the job has people that don't
                                                know much about software - they can not check its quality (theoretically
                                                they could hire a 2nd company to check the quality - they do that when
                                                they hire a testing team from a 2nd company - and that's becoming more and
                                                more common) - but that does not check if the software is easy to
                                                _maintain_.

                                                secondly, this 'no check for quality' happens because quite often, the
                                                benefits of good quality are hard to translate into money - and most
                                                companies don't think too much about the long run, or don't have enough
                                                knowledge to test the _quality_ of the software.

                                                > Then again, it is also true
                                                > when you working in house for someone. What's the point?

                                                the point is that i only need to convince one employer about the
                                                importance of writing quality software (might need to re-convince when a
                                                new manager comes to town - but in a stable company, that does not happen
                                                every day - and i don't have any wish to work for very unstable
                                                companies). with outsourcing, i have to convince each potential client
                                                seperately about that.

                                                actually, this is why i work for a very small company, rather then for a
                                                large company. in a large company, i'd have to convince more people - some
                                                of which are not technical people (or not technical people any more).

                                                --
                                                guy

                                                "For world domination - press 1,
                                                or dial 0, and please hold, for the creator." -- nob o. dy
                                              • Muli Ben-Yehuda
                                                ... I take exception to this statement - every time I ve been contacted for consulting, it s been because the company simply didn t have the knowledge of
                                                Message 23 of 26 , Sep 18, 2002
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                                                  On Thu, Sep 19, 2002 at 03:23:27AM +0300, guy keren wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > that's not exactly what i meant. i was trying to (but failed to) make a
                                                  > distinction between two types of clients - those who develope sotware
                                                  > inhouse, and those who don't. for those who do - they will tend to shell
                                                  > out the less interesting stuff - and that is natural, cause their
                                                  > programmers want to handle that stuff. for companies with no in-house

                                                  I take exception to this statement - every time I've been contacted
                                                  for consulting, it's been because the company simply didn't have the
                                                  knowledge of experience to handle whatever task was at hand. I agree
                                                  with you for some fields, but consider something like kernel hacking -
                                                  a company is likely to do the less interesting ( == easier) stuff in
                                                  house, and hire an expert for the really difficult ( == harder)
                                                  stuff.

                                                  > the other issue is the repetitiveness. after all - an expert is someone
                                                  > who has already done something several times. the more you did this thing
                                                  > (assuming you gave good results) - the more you'll get asked to do the
                                                  > same thing _again_.

                                                  So you do it better/cheaper/faster. As long as you're allowed to
                                                  innovate and learn from past mistakes, I don't see a problem with
                                                  doing the same thing more than once, because it isn't the same...
                                                  --
                                                  Muli Ben-Yehuda
                                                  syscalltrack hacker-at-large
                                                • Chen Shapira
                                                  ... 1. I m not sure about the white-pages, but when I look in the ads section of Ha-Ir (the local Tel-Aviv paper) or in the university computer lab, you see
                                                  Message 24 of 26 , Sep 19, 2002
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                                                    > How many questions from friends and relatives who can't connect to the
                                                    > internet, got a virus in their Outlook, or got a disk or a memory chip
                                                    > fried have you fielded recently? A few weeks ago I helped an
                                                    > acquaintance of mine disconnect the cables from her brand new computer
                                                    > because she expected a carpenter to work on her desk. She would not
                                                    > call me if she had a problem - even a trivial one - with her washing
                                                    > machine or air conditioner. She'd pay a professional. I don't see many
                                                    > ads in Yellow Pages advertising "Itzik OS installation services". This
                                                    > may change when computers become as commonplace as piping in our
                                                    > houses. The computer boom is very recent, remember? The boxes are
                                                    > there, the services not yet.

                                                    1. I'm not sure about the white-pages, but when I look in the ads section of
                                                    "Ha-Ir" (the local Tel-Aviv paper) or in the university computer lab, you
                                                    see tons of ads "Install Windows and Office at your home. Fast and friendly
                                                    service. Reasonable prices". My friends would never call them, though. They
                                                    can call me for free.

                                                    2. My dad is a dentist, he is getting millions of questions a day on the
                                                    lines of "it hurts over here. what should I do?", even if "over here" refers
                                                    to the stomach. Omer's dad is an engineer, we keep asking him to design
                                                    furniture for us. My aunt has a great garden (although she isn't
                                                    professional), any time my home plants look less green, I'm calling her for
                                                    advice. If I had a friend who was a car mechanic, I'd be all over him with
                                                    questions. The only reason you aren't asked about washing machines is
                                                    because your job has nothing to do with washing machines.
                                                  • Adi Stav
                                                    ... Wow. Consider me both thrilled and interested -- did you have anything specific in mind?
                                                    Message 25 of 26 , Sep 19, 2002
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                                                      On Wed, Sep 18, 2002 at 03:14:00PM +0300, Gilad Ben-Yossef wrote:
                                                      > Howdie,
                                                      >
                                                      > Here's a little rant I wrote about a possible business model for
                                                      > companies that want to give the full rights to the software to their
                                                      > customers (not neccisarily in the Stallmanish GPL sense):
                                                      >
                                                      > http://firstpost.org/#1032335162
                                                      >
                                                      > Feedback is apreciated.

                                                      Wow. Consider me both thrilled and interested -- did you have anything
                                                      specific in mind?
                                                    • guy keren
                                                      ... you ve got a slightly ping glasses vision of things, then, i gather. my expereience differs. i ve sometimes been contacted to perform tasks they didn t
                                                      Message 26 of 26 , Sep 20, 2002
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                                                        On Thu, 19 Sep 2002, Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote:

                                                        > On Thu, Sep 19, 2002 at 03:23:27AM +0300, guy keren wrote:
                                                        > >
                                                        > > that's not exactly what i meant. i was trying to (but failed to) make a
                                                        > > distinction between two types of clients - those who develope sotware
                                                        > > inhouse, and those who don't. for those who do - they will tend to shell
                                                        > > out the less interesting stuff - and that is natural, cause their
                                                        > > programmers want to handle that stuff. for companies with no in-house
                                                        >
                                                        > I take exception to this statement - every time I've been contacted
                                                        > for consulting, it's been because the company simply didn't have the
                                                        > knowledge of experience to handle whatever task was at hand. I agree
                                                        > with you for some fields, but consider something like kernel hacking -
                                                        > a company is likely to do the less interesting ( == easier) stuff in
                                                        > house, and hire an expert for the really difficult ( == harder)
                                                        > stuff.

                                                        you've got a slightly 'ping glasses' vision of things, then, i gather. my
                                                        expereience differs. i've sometimes been contacted to perform tasks they
                                                        didn't know how - and other times, to perform tasks they didn't have time
                                                        to do, or even didn't want to perform.

                                                        as for kernel hacking - a copany is likely to want to do it in house, if
                                                        its the core of what they do - as someone here already mentioned. in such
                                                        a case, they will want you do:

                                                        1. help them get started, if they don't have experience with that.
                                                        2. help them with advice on which things to do - whle they actually do the
                                                        coding, so they will learn.
                                                        3. help with specific components, that they could later 'take over'


                                                        one thing to consider, thought - the number of times you were contacted -
                                                        if you took them all, would that suffice for a living for a long duration
                                                        (= over 1-2 years)?

                                                        > > the other issue is the repetitiveness. after all - an expert is someone
                                                        > > who has already done something several times. the more you did this thing
                                                        > > (assuming you gave good results) - the more you'll get asked to do the
                                                        > > same thing _again_.
                                                        >
                                                        > So you do it better/cheaper/faster. As long as you're allowed to
                                                        > innovate and learn from past mistakes, I don't see a problem with
                                                        > doing the same thing more than once, because it isn't the same...

                                                        i didn't say "only do one thing once". i said "don't want to do the same
                                                        thing 5 times". there's a difference here. also, 'doing the same thing
                                                        several times' has a higher number of 'several' for small things, then for
                                                        large things. you can do the same very small task (few hours long) 10
                                                        times and not necessarily get bored, but if you do the same larger task
                                                        (say, several month) more then 2-3 times, you will get bored. and if you
                                                        do the same large task (several years) more then twice, you'll most likely
                                                        not like it. heck, even doing this large task twice might be considered
                                                        'too much'.

                                                        by the way, i take it for granted that every one has different 'bordom
                                                        factors' (did i mention GUI programming todya? ;) ), so that is why the
                                                        kind of business gilad talks about could work for some, while not for
                                                        others (from this perspective specifically).

                                                        --
                                                        guy

                                                        "For world domination - press 1,
                                                        or dial 0, and please hold, for the creator." -- nob o. dy
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