Making a difference in the large corporate world

While chatting informally with some co-workers, I heard some of them talking about their frustrations about not feeling recognized for their work or working on projects they don’t think makes a difference.

Corporations, which usually mean people in management roles, value those individuals who go beyond doing what they are told to do and look up from their daily work and try to plan for what they want to accomplish in the next 9 months.

As engineers, we are judged on our productivity but more importantly for our potential and influence. For any piece of work we produce, how many other engineers does it influence? Is the engineer helping others to be more productive? Can the engineer take on bigger projects?

When we work on any project, we should ask ourselves what is the BHAG? What is the elevator speech if I happen to be standing next to the CEO and she is asking me what my project is about.

If you are working on a project that you think is not adding a lot of value, finish up the project, document it well and ask to be assign to something else. Better yet, dream up something you are really passionate about, and pitch your idea to as many people as you can.

Re: HTML5 Dev Conf: JavaScript Programming Style and Your Brain with Douglas Crockford

Watch his talk on YouTube

  1. Programming is one of the hardest things humans do
  2. Programming uses Head and Gut, we don’t really know how we do it
  3. JavaScript: Good Parts. Bad Parts.  It was done in 10 days and released to the wild
  4. JSLint : defines and professional subset of JavaScript
  5. JSLint will hut your feelings
  6. Example: braces should be consistent.  Javascript forces on the right because there are cases (return statement that forces this)
  7. We are constantly making mistakes, this is why rational people don’t do programming
  8. “That hardly ever happens”, is another way of saying “It happens”
  9. A good style can help produce better programs. Style should not be about personal perference and self expression

Yahoo Open House on Node.js, Olympics, Personalization

’Tis the season to talk tech, have some drinks, and hang out at Yahoo! 
This Thursday we’re hosting our Pre-Holiday Engineering Open House and Good Time.  If you made it to our first open house, then you know not to miss this one!
We will be talking tech, serving cocktails + mulled wine + snacks, and having an appearance by our very own Sanjay Claus and Elves.  Seriously?  Yes, Seriously.
We will have lightning talks on:
* Node.js  — How Yahoo is rebuilding our biggest sites on Node.js
* The Olympics — how we serve the crazy load and keep medal counts, video, blogs, and articles flowing and up to date
* Personalization — a bit about how we rank and serve a personalized list of stories to you
Come on down this Thursday evening and chat informally with the engineers that make it all happen.  Have a snack and a drink.  It will be a fun and enlightening time…  Then take Friday off ;)