The Near Futurist
2Feb/12Off

5 Surefire Ways to Turn Off Candidates Applying For a Job

I spent 7 years at Google during a massive hiring boom where I did close to 400 interviews (phone and in-person), and I'm not even a recruiter! Along the way, I picked up a few tips here and there that I try and apply when interviewing candidates for StumbleUpon. So for those of you who are trying to interview, or for those who want to commiserate with bad experiences of your own, I present the five surefire ways to turn off candidates applying for a job:

1. Make sure your job listing including roman numerals and job ID #'s to show just how much of a cog the person will be.

Nothing turns off an enthusiastic and enterprising candidate than seeing their position boiled down to something that fit neatly into a bureaucrat's forms. For example: Senior Web Developer IV Job #322032-B(2)

2. List one job, but interview the person for a completely different job.

Nothing is more disheartening to an excited candidate who comes in to apply for a position, and have the interviewer go through their questions about a different role entirely. To a candidate applying for a Product Manager position, for example, nothing will kill their enthusiasm more than asking them why they are interested in being a project manager, how long they've wanted to be a project manager, etc.

3. Regardless of whether the person is a fit or not, wait weeks to respond, or worse yet, never respond.

Every day you wait in giving back a response to a candidate is a day that they stew and wonder and start to have negative thoughts about the company, which inevitably they share to their friends and colleagues. And what company trying hard to recruit the best and brightest wants that?

4. Act like you are doing them a favor by interviewing them.

A job application is about finding a mutual fit between person and company, not just about the company finding the right person to fill the role. Falling into this trap can cause the interviewer to start to take a superior role in the interaction, leading to a poorer experience for the applicant, but also for the interviewer who won't get honest and frank answers from the applicant.

5. Low-balling offers or trying to squeeze everything out of a salary or package negotiation.

For the company, the last few dollars left on the table will mean very little. To the candidate, relatively speaking, they mean a great deal. Don't try to squeeze every last dime out of a salary or package negotiation. It turns the candidate off, and leaves them wondering what else they will have to fight tooth and nail for.

Interviewing candidates can be a tricky affair, but lots of obvious pitfalls can be avoided simply by applying some common sense and long-term thinking to your interview process!

 

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2Feb/12Off

5 Surefire Ways to Turn Off Candidates Applying For a Job

I spent 7 years at Google during a massive hiring boom where I did close to 400 interviews (phone and in-person), and I’m not even a recruiter! Along the way, I picked up a few tips here and there that I try and apply when interviewing candidates for StumbleUpon. So for those of you who are trying to interview, or for those who want to commiserate with bad experiences of your own, I present the five surefire ways to turn off candidates applying for a job:

1. Make sure your job listing including roman numerals and job ID #’s to show just how much of a cog the person will be.

Nothing turns off an enthusiastic and enterprising candidate than seeing their position boiled down to something that fit neatly into a bureaucrat’s forms. For example: Senior Web Developer IV Job #322032-B(2)

2. List one job, but interview the person for a completely different job.

Nothing is more disheartening to an excited candidate who comes in to apply for a position, and have the interviewer go through their questions about a different role entirely. To a candidate applying for a Product Manager position, for example, nothing will kill their enthusiasm more than asking them why they are interested in being a project manager, how long they’ve wanted to be a project manager, etc.

3. Regardless of whether the person is a fit or not, wait weeks to respond, or worse yet, never respond.

Every day you wait in giving back a response to a candidate is a day that they stew and wonder and start to have negative thoughts about the company, which inevitably they share to their friends and colleagues. And what company trying hard to recruit the best and brightest wants that?

4. Act like you are doing them a favor by interviewing them.

A job application is about finding a mutual fit between person and company, not just about the company finding the right person to fill the role. Falling into this trap can cause the interviewer to start to take a superior role in the interaction, leading to a poorer experience for the applicant, but also for the interviewer who won’t get honest and frank answers from the applicant.

5. Low-balling offers or trying to squeeze everything out of a salary or package negotiation.

For the company, the last few dollars left on the table will mean very little. To the candidate, relatively speaking, they mean a great deal. Don’t try to squeeze every last dime out of a salary or package negotiation. It turns the candidate off, and leaves them wondering what else they will have to fight tooth and nail for.

Interviewing candidates can be a tricky affair, but lots of obvious pitfalls can be avoided simply by applying some common sense and long-term thinking to your interview process!

5 Surefire Ways to Turn Off Candidates Applying For a Job was originally published on The Near Futurist

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28Nov/11Off

Fun Facts: U.S. Presidents

And now, for no particular reasons, some fun facts about the U.S. Presidents. Enjoy!

George Washington
Loved horses. Before riding he insisted that the horse be cleaned from head to hoof. He even had his helpers brush the horses teeth.

John Adams
Most of Adam’s teeth had fallen out. He refused to wear dentures, and thus, talked with a lisp.

Thomas Jefferson
Originated the custom of shaking hands with the President of the U.S. Before his term people bowed to the President.

James Madison
Was the first President to regularly wear trousers instead of knee breeches.

James Monroe
Was the first President that was inaugurated outdoors.

John Quincy Adams
In warm weather, customarily went skinny-dipping in the Potomac River before dawn.

Andrew Jackson
Had a pet parrot named Poll. The parrot screamed curse words at his funeral.

Martin Van Buren
Autobiography does not mention his wife once.

William Henry Harrison
Was inaugurated on a bitterly cold day and gave the longest inauguration speech ever. The new president promptly caught a cold that soon developed into pneumonia. Harrison died exactly one month into his presidential term, the shortest in U.S. history.

John Tyler
Fathered 15 children (more than any other president)--8 by his first wife, and 7 by his second wife. Tyler was past his seventieth birthday when his 15th child was born.

James Polk
Sedated only by brandy, survived gall bladder surgery at the age of 17.

Zachary Taylor
Didn't vote until he was 62 years old and didn't even vote in his own election because he was a soldier & moved so often he couldn't establish legal residency until he retired.

Millard Fillmore
Was the first President to have a stepmother.

Franklin Pierce
Had a long battle with alcoholism. Heavy drinking over the years undermined his health.

James Buchanan
Is the only unmarried man ever to be elected president. Buchanan was engaged to be married once; however, his fiancée died suddenly after breaking off the engagement, and he remained a bachelor all his life.

Abraham Lincoln
Often depicted wearing a tall black stovepipe hat, carried letters, bills, and notes in his hat.

Andrew Johnson
Never attended school. His future wife, Eliza McCardle, taught him to write at the age of 17. (Bonus fact about Andrew Johnson: He only wore suits that he custom-tailored himself.)

Ulysses S. Grant
Died of throat cancer. During his life, Grant had smoked about 20 cigars per day.

Rutherford B. Hayes
Had the first telephone installed in the White House. Then he talked to Alexander Graham Bell, who was 13 miles away.

James Garfield
Both ambidextrous and multilingual, could write Greek with one hand while writing Latin with the other.

Chester Arthur
Had quite a wardrobe: 80 pairs of pants.

Grover Cleveland
Underwent a secret operation aboard a yacht to remove his cancerous upper jaw in 1893.

Benjamin Harrison
Was so afraid of electric lights that he used to have White House staff turn them on and off.

William McKinley
Was the first man in his hometown to volunteer when the Civil War broke out. He worked in a regiment commanded by another future president, Rutherford B. Hayes.

Theodore Roosevelt
The teddy bear reference derived from refusalstrongbth her cub while on a hunting trip in Mississippi.

William Taft
Weighed more than 300 pounds and had a special oversized bathtub installed in the White House.

Woodrow Wilson
Is the only U.S. president to this day to receive an earned Ph.D. His degree was in History from Johns Hopkins University.

Warren Harding
Played poker at least twice a week, and once gambled away an entire set of White House china. His advisors were nicknamed the "Poker Cabinet" because they joined the president in his poker.

Calvin Coolidge
Had chronic stomach pain and required 10 to 11 hours of sleep and an afternoon nap every day.

Herbert Hoover
Published more than 16 books, including one called Fishing for Fun-And to Wash Your Soul.

Franklin Roosevelt
Was related, either by blood or by marriage, to 11 former presidents.

Harry S Truman
The letter "S" comprises his full middle name. It represents two of his grandfathers, whose names both had "S" in them.

Dwight Eisenhower
Military leader loved to cook; he developed a recipe for vegetable soup that is 894 words long and includes the stems of nasturtium flowers as one of the ingredients.

John F. Kennedy
Had a sister, Rosemary, who was mentally retarded. She had a lobotomy, at that time not known to be that bad. She is still living and is eighty-five years old.

Lyndon B. Johnson
Was notorious for taking guests on 90-mph rides around his 415-acre LBJ Ranch in Texas in his Lincoln.

Richard Nixon
Received more votes than any other person in American history. His three Congressional terms, two terms as Vice-President, his narrow defeat by JFK in the 1960 presidential, his run for the California Gubenatorial, his first election to the Presidency in 1968 and his landslide deafeat of Geroge McGovern (the largest in Presidential history until that time) makes Nixon the most voted for American politician ever.

Gerald Ford
Once worked as a fashion model. Ford was a model for Cosmopolitan and Look magazines in the 1940's.

Jimmy Carter
Was the only president who commanded a submarine.

Ronald Reagan
Broke the so-called "20-year curse," in which every president elected in a year ending in 0 died in office.

George Bush
Was the captain of the baseball team at Yale University.

Bill Clinton
Brought a First Cat--Socks--from Arkansas when they moved into the White House. Socks was the first White House pet with a web site.

George W. Bush
He and his wife Laura got married just three months after meeting each other.

Barack Obama
He and Bill Cosby are the only people to ever get free food from Ben’s Chili Bowl.

References:
Filed under: good stuff 1 Comment
28Nov/11Off

Fun Facts: U.S. Presidents

And now, for no particular reasons, some fun facts about the U.S. Presidents. Enjoy!

George Washington
Loved horses. Before riding he insisted that the horse be cleaned from head to hoof. He even had his helpers brush the horses teeth.

John Adams
Most of Adam’s teeth had fallen out. He refused to wear dentures, and thus, talked with a lisp.

Thomas Jefferson
Originated the custom of shaking hands with the President of the U.S. Before his term people bowed to the President.

James Madison
Was the first President to regularly wear trousers instead of knee breeches.

James Monroe
Was the first President that was inaugurated outdoors.

John Quincy Adams
In warm weather, customarily went skinny-dipping in the Potomac River before dawn.

Andrew Jackson
Had a pet parrot named Poll. The parrot screamed curse words at his funeral.

Martin Van Buren
Autobiography does not mention his wife once.

William Henry Harrison
Was inaugurated on a bitterly cold day and gave the longest inauguration speech ever. The new president promptly caught a cold that soon developed into pneumonia. Harrison died exactly one month into his presidential term, the shortest in U.S. history.

John Tyler
Fathered 15 children (more than any other president)—8 by his first wife, and 7 by his second wife. Tyler was past his seventieth birthday when his 15th child was born.

James Polk
Sedated only by brandy, survived gall bladder surgery at the age of 17.

Zachary Taylor
Didn’t vote until he was 62 years old and didn’t even vote in his own election because he was a soldier & moved so often he couldn’t establish legal residency until he retired.

Millard Fillmore
Was the first President to have a stepmother.

Franklin Pierce
Had a long battle with alcoholism. Heavy drinking over the years undermined his health.

James Buchanan
Is the only unmarried man ever to be elected president. Buchanan was engaged to be married once; however, his fiancée died suddenly after breaking off the engagement, and he remained a bachelor all his life.

Abraham Lincoln
Often depicted wearing a tall black stovepipe hat, carried letters, bills, and notes in his hat.

Andrew Johnson
Never attended school. His future wife, Eliza McCardle, taught him to write at the age of 17. (Bonus fact about Andrew Johnson: He only wore suits that he custom-tailored himself.)

Ulysses S. Grant
Died of throat cancer. During his life, Grant had smoked about 20 cigars per day.

Rutherford B. Hayes
Had the first telephone installed in the White House. Then he talked to Alexander Graham Bell, who was 13 miles away.

James Garfield
Both ambidextrous and multilingual, could write Greek with one hand while writing Latin with the other.

Chester Arthur
Had quite a wardrobe: 80 pairs of pants.

Grover Cleveland
Underwent a secret operation aboard a yacht to remove his cancerous upper jaw in 1893.

Benjamin Harrison
Was so afraid of electric lights that he used to have White House staff turn them on and off.

William McKinley
Was the first man in his hometown to volunteer when the Civil War broke out. He worked in a regiment commanded by another future president, Rutherford B. Hayes.

Theodore Roosevelt
The teddy bear reference derived from refusalstrongbth her cub while on a hunting trip in Mississippi.

William Taft
Weighed more than 300 pounds and had a special oversized bathtub installed in the White House.

Woodrow Wilson
Is the only U.S. president to this day to receive an earned Ph.D. His degree was in History from Johns Hopkins University.

Warren Harding
Played poker at least twice a week, and once gambled away an entire set of White House china. His advisors were nicknamed the “Poker Cabinet” because they joined the president in his poker.

Calvin Coolidge
Had chronic stomach pain and required 10 to 11 hours of sleep and an afternoon nap every day.

Herbert Hoover
Published more than 16 books, including one called Fishing for Fun-And to Wash Your Soul.

Franklin Roosevelt
Was related, either by blood or by marriage, to 11 former presidents.

Harry S Truman
The letter “S” comprises his full middle name. It represents two of his grandfathers, whose names both had “S” in them.

Dwight Eisenhower
Military leader loved to cook; he developed a recipe for vegetable soup that is 894 words long and includes the stems of nasturtium flowers as one of the ingredients.

John F. Kennedy
Had a sister, Rosemary, who was mentally retarded. She had a lobotomy, at that time not known to be that bad. She is still living and is eighty-five years old.

Lyndon B. Johnson
Was notorious for taking guests on 90-mph rides around his 415-acre LBJ Ranch in Texas in his Lincoln.

Richard Nixon
Received more votes than any other person in American history. His three Congressional terms, two terms as Vice-President, his narrow defeat by JFK in the 1960 presidential, his run for the California Gubenatorial, his first election to the Presidency in 1968 and his landslide deafeat of Geroge McGovern (the largest in Presidential history until that time) makes Nixon the most voted for American politician ever.

Gerald Ford
Once worked as a fashion model. Ford was a model for Cosmopolitan and Look magazines in the 1940’s.

Jimmy Carter
Was the only president who commanded a submarine.

Ronald Reagan
Broke the so-called “20-year curse,” in which every president elected in a year ending in 0 died in office.

George Bush
Was the captain of the baseball team at Yale University.

Bill Clinton
Brought a First Cat—Socks—from Arkansas when they moved into the White House. Socks was the first White House pet with a web site.

George W. Bush
He and his wife Laura got married just three months after meeting each other.

Barack Obama
He and Bill Cosby are the only people to ever get free food from Ben’s Chili Bowl.

References:

Fun Facts: U.S. Presidents was originally published on The Near Futurist

Tagged as: No Comments
22Sep/11Off

Mint: a refreshing new way to do web analytics

Yesterday, I discovered a site that was using Mint for its web analytics. My first responses were, in order:

  1. "Someone is using a web analytics package other than Google Analytics?"
  2. "Oh I'm sure this thing sucks, how can it be good?"
  3. "HOLY CRAP."
Mint web analytics

A fresh and minty way to look at web analytics?

Because GA has become so prevalent and synonymous with web analytics, I often forget that there are others out there. And Mint is one of these often overlooked packages. But let me tell you: IT ROCKS.

OK, there are a number of reasons I find myself liking Mint, but in the interest of expediency, here are my Top Ten Reasons Why I'm In Love with Mint:

  1. Your data, you host, you control. With Mint, it's not a hosted solution; it's a download-and-install-on-your-server solution that uses your service and databases to track. That means that any tracking that happens is done by you, and any analytics data is generated, stored, analyzed, etc. by you and you alone. There's something comforting about all your web analytics data not being in the hands of a giant, multinational corporation (albeit one of the better ones).
  2. It's beautiful. The developer of Mint (yes, it's just one person) has taken much care to make the interfaces look beautiful. If you're staring at numbers and charts a lot, aesthetics go a long way.
  3. It's simple to install, simple to use. Installation took me all of 30 minutes, and using it is just an URL on my site. It's fast (or as fast as my site is) and the UI is laid out nicely and intuitively.
  4. It's inexpensive. $30 is all you will pay to have stats for one of your domains. Not $30/month, but $30. That's it. The joy of it not being a hosted service!
  5. It's extensible. With Peppers, you can add any number of plugins to extend the functionality of the tracking service on your site. It ranges from the mundane (Doorbell, which dings anytime you're viewing stats and a new website visitor stops by your site) to the I-didn't-know-I-needed-that (Birdfeeder, which tracks your feeds properly, something GA never got quite right) to the critical (Backup/Restore will make sure you are prepared in case something bad happens to your site/data).
  6. It's maintained. The developer, Shaun Inman, is regularly updating not just the main tracking service but all the relevant plugins very regularly.
  7. It provides you with a compatibility suite to figure out if it will work before you buy. It's like a test-drive. Here, take it for a spin, see if it works with your situation. No? No harm done. Yes? Only $30. More businesses should operate this way.
  8. It's fast. Since the speed of Mint relies solely on how fast your actual website is, you don't suffer from the issue of "Waiting for google-analytics.com..." showing up in your users' browser status bar.
  9. It works even when my site is framed. When my content is served up within an iframe (like in Google Images or StumbleUpon), Internet Explorer and Safari will not allow a third-party cookie to be written, thus foiling any attempt to track via Google Analytics (or any other hosted tracking service). That means my data is accurate, and I don't spend time debugging why some of my content is not being tracked.
  10. It's flexible in licensing. Yes, it only costs $30. But you can decide which domain it runs on, and change it anytime you like. That means I can move it around when it comes time to do so.

So there you have it. If you are looking for great web analytics, and maybe you've grown just a bit wary of hosted solutions like GA, I encourage you to check it out. And when I said, "HOLY CRAP," I wasn't just stunned at what I had found. I was also describing a fantastic little Mint plugin.

Enjoy your Mint!

22Sep/11Off

Mint: a refreshing new way to do web analytics

Yesterday, I discovered a site that was using Mint for its web analytics. My first responses were, in order:

  1. “Someone is using a web analytics package other than Google Analytics?”
  2. “Oh I’m sure this thing sucks, how can it be good?”
  3. “HOLY CRAP.”
Mint web analytics

Because GA has become so prevalent and synonymous with web analytics, I often forget that there are others out there. And Mint is one of these often overlooked packages. But let me tell you: IT ROCKS.

OK, there are a number of reasons I find myself liking Mint, but in the interest of expediency, here are my Top Ten Reasons Why I’m In Love with Mint:

  1. Your data, you host, you control. With Mint, it’s not a hosted solution; it’s a download-and-install-on-your-server solution that uses your service and databases to track. That means that any tracking that happens is done by you, and any analytics data is generated, stored, analyzed, etc. by you and you alone. There’s something comforting about all your web analytics data not being in the hands of a giant, multinational corporation (albeit one of the better ones).
  2. It’s beautiful. The developer of Mint (yes, it’s just one person) has taken much care to make the interfaces look beautiful. If you’re staring at numbers and charts a lot, aesthetics go a long way.
  3. It’s simple to install, simple to use. Installation took me all of 30 minutes, and using it is just an URL on my site. It’s fast (or as fast as my site is) and the UI is laid out nicely and intuitively.
  4. It’s inexpensive. $30 is all you will pay to have stats for one of your domains. Not $30/month, but $30. That’s it. The joy of it not being a hosted service!
  5. It’s extensible. With Peppers, you can add any number of plugins to extend the functionality of the tracking service on your site. It ranges from the mundane (Doorbell, which dings anytime you’re viewing stats and a new website visitor stops by your site) to the I-didn’t-know-I-needed-that (Birdfeeder, which tracks your feeds properly, something GA never got quite right) to the critical (Backup/Restore will make sure you are prepared in case something bad happens to your site/data).
  6. It’s maintained. The developer, Shaun Inman, is regularly updating not just the main tracking service but all the relevant plugins very regularly.
  7. It provides you with a compatibility suite to figure out if it will work before you buy. It’s like a test-drive. Here, take it for a spin, see if it works with your situation. No? No harm done. Yes? Only $30. More businesses should operate this way.
  8. It’s fast. Since the speed of Mint relies solely on how fast your actual website is, you don’t suffer from the issue of “Waiting for google-analytics.com…” showing up in your users’ browser status bar.
  9. It works even when my site is framed. When my content is served up within an iframe (like in Google Images or StumbleUpon), Internet Explorer and Safari will not allow a third-party cookie to be written, thus foiling any attempt to track via Google Analytics (or any other hosted tracking service). That means my data is accurate, and I don’t spend time debugging why some of my content is not being tracked.
  10. It’s flexible in licensing. Yes, it only costs $30. But you can decide which domain it runs on, and change it anytime you like. That means I can move it around when it comes time to do so.

So there you have it. If you are looking for great web analytics, and maybe you’ve grown just a bit wary of hosted solutions like GA, I encourage you to check it out. And when I said, “HOLY CRAP,” I wasn’t just stunned at what I had found. I was also describing a fantastic little Mint plugin.

Enjoy your Mint!

Mint: a refreshing new way to do web analytics was originally published on The Near Futurist

10May/11Off

If I were casting the original “Star Wars” today after having watched too much Joss Whedon stuff…

Luke Skywalker
Sean Maher
Han Solo
Nathan Fillion
Darth Vader
Voiced by Ron Glass
Obi-Wan Kenobi
Joss Whedon
Princess Leia
Princess_Leia_chained_to_Jabba_small
Felicia Day
Emperor Palpitane
Anthony Head
anthony_head
Chewbacca
Adam Baldwin
Lando Calrissian
D.B. Woodside
dbwoodside
Yoda
Voiced by Simon Helberg
C3PO
Alexis Denisof
R2D2
Seth Green

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5Oct/10Off

Better Public Toilets

A *really* public toilet!

I’d like to propose some changes to something so fundamental, so part of our every day lives that we often overlook them:  public toilets.  When I say public, I mean any toilet that is used by more than one person regularly (bachelors: there’s no improving your apartment’s toilet until you break out the Fantastik and get a-scrubbing).  These include toilets in public venues, toilets at work, toilets at school, even toilets at home if you plan on more than your immediate family to use them.


OK, a digression: this topic is certainly not the normal fare when one is attempting to look to the future, but hey — as the kid’s book says, “Everyone poops.” Get over it.)


Idea 1: tear away seat covers
Rather than get a seat cover from the dispenser above the toilet, carefully rip it in just the right place, gingerly place on the toilet seat, have it fall in, get another, place it again on the seat, and sit only to find it’s askew and you’re now doing your business at an angle — why not just have tear-away seat covers that the next person can simply remove the first layer, sit, drop the kids off at the pool, then flush and away they go.

Idea 2: child seats
I have three children, and currently going through the joy that is potty training with the last one (sighted: promised land!)  But using a public toilet is always a challenge — a 2-year-old’s body is not designed to use a regular adult toilet.  The solution: fold-down child seats.  They normally stay out of the way for adult use, but come in very handy when rushing your child in for a “hurry, Daddy, hurry!” emergency!


Idea 3: self-raising seats
Baby boomers are getting older, and I’m no spring chicken either.  A nice feature to offer those who have trouble getting into sitting position is a self-raising seat.  These spring-loaded bad boys are elevated and as the toilet user goes to sit, the springs ease the fall down to septic level.  When done with your business, a press of a lever unlocks the seat and raises you back up to semi-standing position.  Just talking about it makes me want to get one, though I’m far from needing it!


Idea 4: foot pedal flushing

OK, we all do it anyway by standing on leg precariously, raising the other leg carefully to hit the flush lever at waist level — why not just put the flush on the floor?  Home versions of this exist, why not create an industrial version that allows the user to simply use their foot to flush?  Germ-free, or at least all the germs on the sole of your shoe.  Just don’t go licking it later.


Do you have any ideas or thoughts about how to improve public toilets?

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3Oct/10Off

There is no “new” – only “stuff we haven’t tried again in a while”

I have lived long enough at this point to have seen a few things come and go. When it comes to technology, the Internet, gadgets, and the way people interact with these things, there is nothing quite so important to its success as a market and a general public that is ready for it. My own professional past is a story of “right technology, wrong time,” but my own recollection of this started even before I began my career; it started for me in college.

When I arrived at the University of Florida my freshman year, I wound up in the honors dormitory. Naturally, when my classmates on the third floor of Weaver Hall were looking for extracurricular activities, they tended towards the geeky and sedentary. My friend Mike and I found ourselves at the computer lab, where we were signing up for accounts on the university computer system. We were lucky enough to be able to choose our usernames, and while he chose a clever homophone of his last name, I drew a blank, and ended up putting down the name of the guy I had just finished hanging a poster of in my dorm room: EINSTEIN. See, I told you it was the honors dorm.


As EINSTEIN on the university VAX/VMS system twenty years ago, we had access to all sorts of utilities and tools that mostly enabled us to communicate and collaborate and sometimes even have fun with each other. Some variant of all those tools are now in the mainstream of technology:

  • A program we used called “SEND” was used to message back and forth with someone on the system, very much like the modern-day chat.
  • While logged in, you could set your process name to something clever, the modern precursor to setting your status in IM or even tweeting.
  • Of course there was email, which surprisingly hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years.
  • We also had access to UNIX machines, which had a utility called “talk” which looks like an early form of collaborative editing a la Google Docs or Wave.
  • A bulletin board system, similar to a common “wall” or “news feed”.
  • The finger command on UNIX machines allowed you to see who a person was, whether they were online, and what their .plan was, if any.  Facebook and LinkedIn are probably the closest modern-day approximations to this concept.
  • Multi-user dungeons or MUDs allowed people to create characters, explore their surroundings, and go on quests.  Sounds to me like World of Warcraft, Second Life, and other MMORPGs.

So then the question I have to ask myself is:  what other things did we do as naive computer science geeks that the online market of today could be ready for?

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17Sep/10Off

IDEA: Dateroulette

Why not combine speed dating with chatroulette? You could enforce timing so you don’t spend too much time with one person and you can meet lots of people quickly, but they could also be pre filtered to be potential compatible matches. Also, far less surprise penises.

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