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Scientists Optimistic About Getting a Mammoth Genome Complete Enough To Clone

bkr1_2k Re:There are at least three I know of across the U (187 comments)

That wasn't the case with our ferret. She would run all over the place and end up right back at her pen when it was time to sleep (which was most of the time).

Hell house cats are about as tame as they come, right? But cats turn feral after a certain amount of time without a fixed home. Hell I had a cat, since birth, that always ran off at night in Korea but would walk down the street, roof top to roof top, as I walked home from work then sit in the front door waiting for me to come in the house. When we moved to the US, he got one look at "wilderness" and disappeared, to be seen only twice more over the next year. He had clearly turned feral but, from the look of him, was no worse off.

Anecdotal? Sure, but I think we make a lot of assumptions about things that we believe without having any scientific basis to back up our beliefs. I think you'd find, if you dumped a bunch of ferrets in the wild, plenty will find their way home, others will survive just fine in the wild and make new homes, and still others will not survive. Pretty much the way it is in "the real world" already. No matter how much we try, we're not taking the "wild" completely out of any domesticated species as a whole. There will always be individuals that retain their instincts and natural capabilities. Enough to keep the species alive? That probably depends upon the species.

5 days ago
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What Happens When Nobody Proofreads an Academic Paper

bkr1_2k Re:Big woop (170 comments)

This is important "news for nerds" because of the fact that this "peer reviewed" article had a such an egregious error in it that should have been easily spotted if, in fact, the paper was ever actually reviewed.

What does this imply for OSS that is "peer reviewed by millions" as we are wont to point out?

about two weeks ago
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Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

bkr1_2k Re:type of assignment (319 comments)

Considering how many employed coders I've met that didn't understand OS commands, shell scripts of any kind, or anything beyond their little realm, I'd say it's pretty common for students not to know how easy it is to tell they cheated.

about two weeks ago
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Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

bkr1_2k Re:yea no - happened in Middle School (319 comments)

And that's the difference. The rest of the world considers collaboration to be normal while, for whatever stupid reason, the US thinks collaboration is cheating. I learned far more from fellow students than I ever did from professors.

I never cheated on a test but I most definitely "cheated" by US standards on homework.

about two weeks ago
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Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

bkr1_2k Re:Or just practicing for an actual job (319 comments)

Isn't that the purpose of code reviews, though? I mean, you can grab a few lines to do a specific function, test it, maybe use as is, maybe improve, then have other people review the code. Or is that not done in the real world any more?

about two weeks ago
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MPAA Bans Google Glass In Theaters

bkr1_2k Re:Anyone still going to the movies? (357 comments)

You obviously don't live in the DC metro area. Of the 20 or 30 theaters I've been to in the area, I think maybe 5 have been even remotely like your descriptions. Most are doing everything they can to improve the experience, including extra wide recliner seats, better (though expensive) food options, better sound, better theater sizing, and a bunch of other "improvements".

about three weeks ago
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MPAA Bans Google Glass In Theaters

bkr1_2k Good luck MPAA (357 comments)

Since the MPAA doesn't pay the theater employees there's no chance in hell they're going to be able to enforce this any better than they do pre-existing recording technologies. Most people working at movie theaters wouldn't know what google glass is if it slapped them in the face. This is utter nonsense.

about three weeks ago
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Breaching Air-Gap Security With Radio

bkr1_2k Re:Not that hard to defeat (80 comments)

The whole problem with the concept is that in most (every one I've been in the last 20+ years in 4 different countries) secured facilities cell phones or any two way communication device, including 2 way pagers, weren't allowed. Many have electronics detectors mounted on the walls that detect RF emitters in the are. I've personally seen people's cell phones destroyed after forgetting to remove them from pockets.

The whole thing has been around for over 40 years and been dealt with appropriately throughout that time. This is not a real issue as it requires physical access to at least one device and a breech in existing protocols beyond that first physical access.

To the person suggesting more shielding, that is an option that is in place but very expensive.

about three weeks ago
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Tim Cook: "I'm Proud To Be Gay"

bkr1_2k Re:News for Nerds? (764 comments)

Equal opportunity under the law is (in the USA). Get back to us when that's available.

about three weeks ago
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Tim Cook: "I'm Proud To Be Gay"

bkr1_2k Re:Yawn (764 comments)

It's funny I think that this is the way it should be and it makes me mad that people cry "victim" as much as they do but the reality is that until people stop getting beat up/killed/arrested/harassed just for being gay (as a whole, not individuals who also happen to be assholes) then it does matter when people publicly come out.

The problem is that we non-homosexual folks talk about our lives with our heterosexual partners we're not considered to be "wearing our sexual orientation on our sleeves" but when a gay person does, they are. When society no longer considers discussing your partner in casual conversation as "wearing your orientation on your sleeves" then people won't have press conferences to come out as gay. Until then, get used to it because it's going to happen more and more. Because it should.

about three weeks ago
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Cutting the Cord? Time Warner Loses 184,000 TV Subscribers In One Quarter

bkr1_2k Re:See sports in person (392 comments)

Or Netflix, Hulu, or any number of other alternatives, including broadcast TV websites.

Or, maybe, read a book, build something, get out and exercise, or other non-electronic options.

about three weeks ago
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Cutting the Cord? Time Warner Loses 184,000 TV Subscribers In One Quarter

bkr1_2k No surprise here (392 comments)

The writing has been on the wall for several years now. Traditional TV viewing is going to be extinct in the near future. Too many people want to move to mobile devices, have video on demand, and other options. The cable/distribution companies need to get on board or die with the old business model. There are at least a few signs that they're starting to understand that.

about three weeks ago
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Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

bkr1_2k private mail domain (173 comments)

One more reason I'm dumping gmail and moving to a private mail domain. F them, their snooping, and their "we know what you want" attitude.

about a month ago
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What It Took For SpaceX To Become a Serious Space Company

bkr1_2k Re:A big war chest isn't enough sometimes (96 comments)

Has anyone indicated that SpaceX is making a profit yet? From the article it wasn't obvious that they are now or in the next couple of years.

about a month ago
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What It Took For SpaceX To Become a Serious Space Company

bkr1_2k A potload of money (96 comments)

It took a ton of money and the vision of a leader looking more than 3 years into the future. Anyone with enough money and willingness to throw that money at a "problem" will be able to compete.

about a month ago
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Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

bkr1_2k Re:Of course! (571 comments)

There is no working prototype. This is a theoretical break through. They haven't proven anything yet.

about a month ago
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California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

bkr1_2k Phone companies (233 comments)

How long until the phone companies start killing phones for late payment or cancellation of service? This does not bode well for freedom to choose your carrier or for unlocking phones.

about 3 months ago
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Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

bkr1_2k Easy solution (368 comments)

The easy solution is to not do business with them. I had to call every month for a year due to overcharging for television service I didn't have and "multiple computers" back when they tried that nonsense. I eventually told them I'd had enough and they wouldn't get another penny from me and to cancel my service. I never once saw any kind of credit issue from it though they did try for the next year to get me to reinstate my service.

I haven't used any of their services for over 10 years now and haven't missed it a bit.

You want to change their policies? Speak with your wallet!

about 3 months ago
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US Pushing Local Police To Keep Quiet On Cell-Phone Surveillance Technology

bkr1_2k Re:Stingrays (253 comments)

I don't believe you need a warrant to follow people. These are tracking devices, not tapping devices. There's a huge difference, legally. These are the equivalent of the cops following you everywhere you go, not listening to what you're saying, but just seeing where you're going and who you're associating with when you go out. Now they can just do it electronically.

Whether or not it's acceptable that the police have either capability is another matter altogether.

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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How to Recognize a Good Business Person

bkr1_2k bkr1_2k writes  |  more than 6 years ago

bkr1_2k (237627) writes "A recent Slashdot article implied there was some way to "know a good programmer". I disagree with the premise of the article, but that's not the point of this article. This article was inspired by a response to one of my comments about how to tell a good business person when you're looking at working for a startup or young company.

First, since I'm writing this primarily for Slashdot, my credentials. In short, my credentials are no better than anyone else's. I have worked primarily for large companies. I am an electrical engineer with a background in linguistics prior to my technical career. I have been a program manager on small programs and a technical lead on some of those as well as working very large projects. I have never been a "hiring supervisor" but I have managed people both in the military and out. I have taken some business courses focusing on starting technology businesses and I have started several small companies, the most recent of which has promise if I can keep my team motivated.

So what does it take to recognize a "good" business person? How can you tell if the management can take that floogelbinder and make it the next iPod? What are some key aspects of management that you can tell during an interview that will give you insight whether or not to take the risk and invest your time and your career in this ragtag group of upstarts?

We've all worked for bad managers. Some of us have been lucky enough to work for good managers. That's the first place to start. What are key elements to good management that you can glean from an interviewer? Obviously you can see true communication skills during an interview, but can you see time management? What about delegation of tasking and authority to evenly distribute the work load? Can you see humility and willingness to accept different approaches for problem solving? Can you see real planning and long-range vision? While these are important aspects for a good working environment, they may not be able to tell you whether or not the management team can parlay ideas into successful products, even if you can determine them during the interview process.

A business plan is crucial to successfully getting a startup from idea to reality and it will have several key aspects that you can find out about with some simple questions. If you can get a hold of the full plan for your reading pleasure, do so. That's unlikely so here are the major things to think about in a business plan and some things that will tell you how much thought has gone into the business side of an idea rather than just the technology side of it.

Company focus- does the company have a cohesive vision to guide them through the turmoil of initial startup? Not all companies have a mission statement, and some don't need them, but they are very helpful for providing a direction when things start to flounder, as they always do. How will management refocus attention and re-motivate employees when the going gets tough?

"Milestones"- where is the company with respect to attaining its final objective? Have they reached certain short-term milestones? What are the near-term milestones they have planned for and how are they going to meet them? What are their long-term milestones? IE do they have a 3 month plan, a 6 month plan, a 1 year plan, a 5 year plan? Milestones are technical as well as fiscal but both should be considered when you find out about this. Consider if they can realistically meet technical/marketing/etc goals with the staff they have (or forecast having.) Are they overstaffed because they feel flush with VC and will therefore overrun budget? Does their apparent size or forecast size match up with your technical opinion of what is required?

Products & Services — what is their product? Is it a single idea, or a family of products with room for growth? Is it a piece of equipment for sale or is it software? If it's hardware, what are their plans for full-rate production? If it's a service, have they planned for a reasonable rate of growth? Have they planned for an explosive rate of growth? What about customer support?

Underlying Technology — is it cutting edge or run of the mill? Is there room for growth in the technology? Is there a big competition from similar technology (who wants to say they were on the betamax team?) If there is competition, how do they plan to win? (Remember, Betamax was a better product from a purely technical perspective, so that's not a good enough answer.) Will it have to integrate with other technologies or will it stand on its own? Do any supporting technologies need to be created to make theirs viable?

Market Analysis — similar to the competition of other technology, what is the competition already in the field for their direct technology. (If you're planning a shipping company you need to consider FedEx and UPS etc.) What is their market? Who is the target demographic they are trying to reach and what are their secondary markets? What are the financial numbers they're considering? Eg is the market $100k per year or $100M? Are they saving someone money or expecting to "create" a new market? (Saving someone money is much more likely to be a successful product.)

Business model — Are they planning product sales, licensing, services, or some hybrid of these? Have they considered the pros and cons of each model? What are the pros and cons as they see them? (How do they compare to your idea of what the pros and cons would be?)

Sales & Business Development Plan — how are they going to market the product? Do they have customers already? Do they have a marketing team in place? What is the time frame they expect to meet for each major marketing goal?

Financing Strategy — are they looking for VC, employee "buy-in", angel investors, a little of everything? Have they met with any of these and what is the status of funding? Can you look at their presentation if it's ready?

Risk — what is the risk they are taking? What are the hurdles they've considered in the realm of finance, competition, and market changes (eg home builders in the USA are not building right now) and do they have a plan for dealing with those?

Timeline — what is the schedule they expect to meet for their major milestones both financial and technical?

There are several other key components to a business plan, but these are the most relevant for someone working at a lower management/employee level in a technical position. The goal is to ascertain whether or not the "business" people have actually thought through the process of creating a business or just thought they had a good idea and it would carry them. If they can answer questions about these subjects competently, odds are you've found a team that has the potential to go all the way. It's not a guarantee, but it's a lot more reassuring than those who can't answer them. One final thing to consider is that if they can't answer them, you asking questions along these lines could point them in the right direction. You can tell them to call you when they've made the appropriate plans, or you can possibly help guide the company and secure yourself a bigger piece of the pie when payday comes.

Most of the business plan information listed above comes from the course Fundamentals of Technology Start-Up Ventures from the University of Maryland at College Park and the associated textbook. I would recommend anyone interested in working for a startup take a similar course or at the very least read some books on business plans and technology start-up ventures. That way you'll have more insight into what it takes to making a business successful, or at least understand what you need to consider."

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