“A geek who writes code — those guys are now the valuable guys,” Mr. Donefer said...

In 2007, Goldman hired him as a vice president, paying him $400,000 a year, according to the federal complaint against him.

He lived in the central New Jersey suburbs with his wife and three young daughters. This year, the family moved to a $1.14 million mansion in North Caldwell, best known as Tony Soprano’s hometown.

...This spring, Mr. Aleynikov quit Goldman to join Teza Technologies, a new trading firm, tripling his salary to about $1.2 million...

Yes, I am in the wrong area of the Financial Services (Insurance) and Yes, you should read this article. "Stepping in front of another buyer" seems to be as profitable as ever and never gets old in this business. For you non-financial services types, think of EBay Snipers...

Specs Without Tests Are Meaningless

Gerald Weinberg says "Things are the way they are because they got that way ... one logical step at a time." I personally think that the word "logical" is a bit tongue-in-cheek; what I think he means is "logical based on the pressures at the moment," because this maxim is his way of explaining how companies and teams get themselves into completely contorted positions: one "logical" step at a time. If you look at each step, given the conditions and pressures at the moment that decision was made, the individual decision is "logical," even though the sum total of all the decisions may put the team or company into a completely crazy place.

This article started off great and I particularly liked the Weinberg quote above but began to ramble off to a discussion of hiring and netflix culture. Worth a read though...

Eric Woodward and tr.im - A small study in Entrepreneuring...

Last week tr.im shutdown and hit the twitterverse from just below the surface of the Social Networking1 space like a Jellyfish sting.  This is not the first internet startup to shutdown.  There are many large and small that shutdown or are acquired and eventually whither and die of neglect.   Eric Woodward's tr.im was a popular url shortening service and one that I used on a fairly regular basis.  It had some nice features, but the "url shortening" space has become crowded with competitors of late.  Twitter, a thousand pound gorilla in the social networking space anointed one (bit.ly) the url shortener for Twitter and Eric saw this as the checkered flag in the race.

As interesting as the underlying issues are regarding url shorteners, I became much more interested in the Entrepreneurial aspects of the story after I stumbled across the Tech Zing podcast about tr.im in my Twitterstream.  Tech Zing is hosted by Justin Vincent & Jason Roberts and I've never heard of any of them before the tr.im event.  Ever the willing spectator for war stories and train wrecks I decided to give it a listen.   What I heard was a level headed serial entrepreneur2 discuss the realities of a startup.  It took me back to my days in start-ups.  No I am not an entrepreneur myself, just one of those breed that is recruited by entrepreneurs to realize their goals.  I lived through a few startups during the internet boom bust cycle (Viant, 12 Entrepreneuring & Linx LLC) and I can identify with Eric and the choices that all real entrepreneurs must make.  Those choices my include shutting down a business and cutting your loses.

Listen to techZing! 13 for Eric's story. [Note: Some of the questions from Justin and Jason are naive and cringe inducing but hang in there and listen to the entire podcast for Eric's pearls of experience.]

Some interesting points of discussion:

  5:50 - "Developing a small piece of software and selling it for a nominal amount of money is just not interesting to me..."
            Classic 2.0 business model... scale first layer in services later.
  9:00 - Trouble with outsourcing
13:20 - Rock Star developer vs. good teams
17:20 - I didn't start out to build tr.im....
22:00 - Loosing control of the process...
23:50 - Becoming the poster child for "Link Rot", "But it's not really in my DNA to hand my competitor my product for free"
24:20 - bit.ly as the insider and the nature and reality of competition
33:00 - Surprised by the reaction
43:20 - Everybody know the internet only has 3 business models
53:00 - Eric's background

1. "Social Networking",  "Microblogging"... Whatever you call the space that Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, et al are in.
2. Eric founded an early ISP in Canada, founding CTO of mail.com, founding CTO of myinternet.com, founded a domain portfolio company and currently founder of Nambu.