Golden Frog – Early 2014

This was my favorite toy as a kid!

When Klink hired me as a contractor, it was supposed to be for 3 months. As the holidays for 2013 were approaching, that three months ran out.

I had a meeting with my boss. He told me that they hired me because the original Mac developer went AWOL one day, and the person that they had wanted to work on the Mac went on family leave, and would be gone three months. She was coming back to work, so they had originally wanted my contract to terminate after 3 months.

(Shudder. I knew that the contract was temporary, but it is still chilling to hear somebody talk about you as a plugable resource.)

However, I had impressed them so much as a Mac developer, that they were going to keep her where she had good skills (backend work), and would like to make a permanent offer for me.

He asked me what I wanted in salary, and I told him, and also said that I wanted Klink to buy me a work machine, since I was using my personal laptop at this point.

Right before the holidays, he presented me a written offer for $5000/year less than the number I had told him. There was no secondary compensation at all. No bonuses; no equity. There was a health plan, and a 401K plan, but still, the offer was pretty disappointing. Not having a job in my back pocket, I accepted, but started working on another position immediately.

As 2014 unfolded, the new Mac for me to work with never developed. And then we lost our lease on our office, because our shadowy corporate masters did not want to sign a 3-5 year lease on a new place. The office moved to a shared office co-op. I asked if I could work at home, since I had worked at home a lot before, and it would mean less space in the shared office. I agreed to be available on Skype, and come in once a week or so for meetings.

So the first part of 2014 was a whirlwind. I am not going to write about chronologically, since everything was happening at the same time. It was hard to keep up with.

One day, I got a phone call for a company looking for a Mac developer. Golden Frog was a local company, and they had a file syncing client to their cloud storage system, much like Klink (or Dropbox or Amazon Drive or Box or Google Drive…) I downloaded the app and took a look.

The app icon was a cartoon version of a Tonka dump truck. It offered what you would expect, but had no “Klink this!” feature, which would establish a link to an arbitrary folder to your sync set. Still, seemed like what I was currently working on. Digging around in their app bundle, I figured out that they were using the same python library to keep track of file system changes.

The recruiter set me up with a phone call with the manager. She described to me the organization and business plan. There were 20 people in the engineering department, all reporting to her. A small number were working on DumpTruck, but the others were working on their proprietary VPN product. In the conversation, she mentioned that the senior engineers were not listening to the product team/upper management, and that she had no visibility to what the QA and release engineering teams actually did.

She also informed me that I was too senior; the budget was for a junior engineer.

I then questioned her:

Me: How many direct reports do you have?

Her: 20

Me: Are there any other managers?

Her: No

Me: What kind of product scheduling methodology do you use?

Her: We are trying to move to Agile, but have some rought patches.

Me: When was the last time anybody took a significant vacation

Her: I don’t know.

I knew I did not want to be an engineer here anyway.

Me: So let me guess as to what is happening here. The engineers are confrontational because they don’t think that they have time to do real work, and there To-Do lists are way too long. QA is complaining because they already have too much to do, but they don’t know what to test with anything new. They are also pushing for automation, but have nobody who can do that work. Release Engineering is pushing for a continuous-delivery system, but since there is no automation, and probably no budget, it is falling on deaf ears. And your management is upset because the team appears to not be delivering anything.

(10 second pause)

Her: Go on.

Me: I am going to boldly assert that I can help you, but as a manager. I have experience managing both engineering and QA teams, and have managed full-cycle development. I have done performance evaluation, product design, and systems design. If you were to hire me, we could work together to make this team much better.

Her: Your guesses as to what is going on around here are scary.


Her: We don’t currently have any budget for another manager, but let me get with my management and talk to them. I’ll get in touch later.

I scared her. I never heard from her again.


One thought on “Golden Frog – Early 2014

  1. Pingback: War of Attrition – 2014 – Recruited by Tech

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