Jan Kubr

Archive for February, 2008|Monthly archive page

What you must have on your resume

In Uncategorized on February 26, 2008 at 20:17

“You should do this because it is good for your resume,” they say. “You should work for at least two years at your first job.” Why? Because it is will look good on your resume. Why? The readers of it will think you’re a stable person. Or something, I forgot the reason they said. But it didn’t start with, “It is better for YOU because..”

I say fuck that. Do everything to improve your skills, to become better in whatever you want to be best at. If it means changing a job every three months because all the companies you’ve been employed at are lame in what your passion is, so be it.

Your resume is just a side product.

Advertisements

Founders at Work quotes 2

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2008 at 15:11

Finally I finished reading Founders at Work. My biggest take away? It is incredibly hard to bring your startup to success. You need to work super hard for a few years and have incredible amount of perseverance and passion. And I doubt it is only the examples Jessica Livingston shows us in the book. It even discouraged me a bit to start a “real” startup.. At least without a strong co-founder or a very very good idea.

Building a startup is not about getting rich easily. If this is your main goal, you’re going to fail. You need to love what you’re doing and want to change the world. The money might come as a nice side effect. If you’re lucky.

The second thing I realized is the are million and one way to build a startup. If someone says something doesn’t work, he might actually mean, “It didn’t work for me.” It might work just fine for you though. And the other way round as well; purely replicate someone else without paying close attention to your own situation will kill you.

Brewster Kahle, WAIS Internet Archive, Alexa

“The Macintoshes were helpful because they had TCP/IP for them, where Windows didn’t. It wasn’t until Windows 95 came out 6 years later that Microsoft caught up.”

It made me think: Will Microsoft catch up again when there’s enough money in this “new web” stuff?

“We’re now in 2006, and it’s hard to believe how pathetic things are. We don’t even have books online yet. I don’t know why the world moves so slowly. Everybody says, ‘Oh, it’s moving so fast.’ And it’s like, ‘No, I don’t think so. It’s been forever.'”

Read the rest of this entry »

Recent Amazon S3 downtime and what did I do about it

In Uncategorized on February 22, 2008 at 15:21

Amazon S3 was inaccessible for a few hours last week. Although this was the first major problem of the service during the last two years and no data was lost, it wasn’t much fun. I did get a complaint from a Flempo user not being able to access their files (Flempo tasks and documents attachments, profile pictures, and custom logos are stored on S3).

Although it is very unlikely such a thing will happen again any time soon, I did think about an emergency strategy for such situations. It might be surprising, but I didn’t have local copies of the files stored on S3. I mean S3 is redundant and  highly available service, so what would be the point to back them up, right? And no one is doing this (I’ve asked people using S3 for quite busy web applications and they said they have their files only on S3). But here you go, the reason to have such a copy is that you have a place to serve your files from when S3 is not available. And there is a very good second reason: Say a customer accidentally deletes an attachment and asks me to recover it from the backup. Oh, but there’s no backup I would have had to say, too bad.

OK so now there is a backup. All the attachments, profile pictures, and custom logos are synchronized with a Flempo server hard disk folder three times a day. I’m not running out of space there any time soon and even then I can always compress the stuff or something. I’ll figure it out when the time is here. If you’re interested in how I did this technically, you only need to read this tutorial.

Flempo has just become more stable and reliable.

Do you want a part-timer?

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2008 at 15:29

No, not me. I mean in general. Would you like someone working for you part time? I thought working part time was a nice way to achieve flexibility at work. You commit to let’s say 30 hours a week and then you can shift your working hours more easily than when you work full time. I even thought many companies would rather have part-timers if they don’t have enough work for their people. But more and more I have the feeling that the only companies that want part-timers are those that can’t afford you full time. Everyone wants to own you, dominate your schedule, have you under control. Don’t let them.

What can Microsoft buy? (Hype vs. market value)

In Uncategorized on February 17, 2008 at 22:37

“For $44 billion, Microsoft could buy every Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley venture-backed start-up in existence. That includes Facebook at $15 billion. It includes Slide, RockYou, and every other elemental company.”

You think Microsoft is this boring dinosaur that might have some cash left and that’s the only thing why it still matters a bit. But if you realize they can buy all these startups with so much hype around them (“they are the future”), you realize that some cash is actually LOTS of cash. And what is it that money can’t buy these days?

(Via Sillicon Alley Insider.)

Nothing’s easy

In Uncategorized on February 16, 2008 at 9:50

..if you wanna do it right. And I don’t even think this is that obvious. There are no easy tasks, projects, jobs, or relationships. There are only sloppy approaches and lack of commitment.

European Ruby Conference 2008: Registration now open!

In Uncategorized on February 8, 2008 at 0:34

If you feel like coming here to the beautiful city of Prague for a low-cost conference about Ruby, meet your fellows, and enjoy some great time; go register for EURUKO 2008! If you have something interesting to tell other people about, don’t hesitate to submit your proposal on the website, too. This will be fun!

Did I just start another blog?

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2008 at 20:14

Yeah I did. Why? I just needed my tiny little page to post some geeky stuff I don’t want to up here because I’m afraid it’d put girls off. Hehe. Yeah.
Anyways, if you’re interested, here’s my new blog about Ruby with more reasons why in the first post.

Flempo: Saveable task filters with hackable URLs

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2008 at 15:09

I just added a neat feature to Flempo: You can save your task filters. If you set up a filter and follow the “Save filter” link next to it, you’ll be prompted to provide its name. Once you do that, the filter will be saved for you under that name. It’ll appear in the menu under the standard filters. Click here to see the example of saving a task filter in Flempo.

Note that the standard filters apply together with the custom ones. It means that if you go to “Current tasks” and then to your custom filter that filters assignees on Joe for example, Flempo will show Joe’s current tasks. This way you can display To-Do lists of your team members, so you can easily see what they are up to. Also if you work on multiple projects and/or for multiple customers, you can use the custom filters to switch context with one click. (That is why I made this in the first place, I’m in “Current tasks” or “Your todo list” and then I only click “Tasks assigned to Flempo”, “Tasks assigned to ProjectX” etc.)

Feel like hacking today?

Now to the hacking. I thought it would be nice if I could further filter on a custom filter. I’d be in Current Joe’s tasks, but I’d like to see Joe’s current tasks for a customer X. I didn’t really figure out how to keep the UI simple and provide this functionality at the same time. But then I realize the UI is there, but only in your address bar.

If you follow the filter link, you’ll see the URL will end with something like this:

filter=164&list_type=current.

If you set up a filter that shows tasks created by a customer X, the URL will contain

search_by=customer_id&search_for=5.

So if you want to combine these two filters, just concatenate the two parameter lists to

filter=164&list_type=current&search_by=customer_id&search_for=5,

go to that URL and bookmark it.

So yeah, this is my way to provide an advanced user interface without bothering the less advanced users. Hehe yeah I’m crazy

Founders at Work quotes part 1

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2008 at 22:27

I have been reading this great book Founders at Work which consists of interviews with many startup founders about their beginnings. I’ve read a little bit over a half and realized I’ve bookmarked too many quotes already. So I decided to put them up here in two parts instead of doing the traditional one “A book read” post.

Max Levchin, Paypal

Livingston: “What can big companies do to preserve a startup culture?”

Levchin: “I don’t know. Less PowerPoints. (…) As you grow larger, you need more structure and organization and meetings. My theory is that you sort of subdivide, and you make smaller units and you give them a lot of power and responsibility. You let them make it or break it. But I have no practical knowledge as to whether this works or not.”

“I think we didn’t know what we were doing. I think the hallmark of a really good entrepreneur is that you’re not really going to build one specific company. The goal – at least the way I think about entrepreneurship – is you realize one day that you can’t really work for anyone else. You have to start your own thing. It almost doesn’t matter what that thing is. We had six different business plan changes, and the the last one was PayPal.

“‘We’re trying this, this week.’ Every week you go to investors and say, ‘We’re doing this, exactly this. We’re really focused. We’re going to be huge.’ The next week you’re like, ‘That was a lie.'”

“‘We changed our business plan.’ And these guys were like, ‘What?’ They just put down $4 million to see something happen, and we said, ‘Sorry, we’re not going to do that; we’re going to do this.'”

Joe Kraus, Excite

“You never know anything. The hardest part in a startup is that you wake up one morning, and you feel great about the day, and you think, ‘We’re kicking ass.’ And then you wake up the next morning, and you think ‘We’re dead.’ And literally nothing’s changed.”

“Even up to the time when Excite was several hundred people and we were the fourth largest website in the world, it didn’t feel real. It doesn’t feel like you’re really doing something huge. On some level it feels like you’re fooling people – like, are we really doing this?

“It’s the whole sausage and sausage factory problem: when you’re outside and you only see the sausage coming out you think, ‘That’s pretty tasty.’ When you’re on the inside and you know how it’s made, it’s terrifying. (…) It’s never, ‘We set out this well-orchestrated plan, we’re executing it, it’s going exactly according to plan.'”

Read the rest of this entry »