Once Again "I am Not a Moron" or Date Before Marry
Don't People Get What Being Online Means or EVERYTHING Gets Blogged
I just went through an interesting experience that I thought the one or two readers that I have might find amusing. Here's the whole elaborate sequence. Out of respect for the company involved I have omitted their name and don't bother asking because I won't say. I never told anyone that I worked for this company (technically I didn't since they never gave me an offer letter) so it's non-public knowledge anyway.
- Resume programming in PHP after a few year break.
- Get an email from a guy at www.php.net about one of my online manual corrections. This leads to my criticizing their search engine (www.htdig.com) and suggesting augment it with a human created results preprocessor.
- The email I sent (here) leads to my getting a random IM from someone in England saying "Hi ... Can I call you". Sure. We talk and he pitches me on working for his Knowledge Management company.
- I have a pretty serious full text search and KM background so I'm intrigued. The founder / CTO calls in a few hours and we have a good chat.
- One thing leads to another and pretty soon it's a "We're unfunded but will you work for stock type thing". Not the first time for me so ok. What else do I have going on right now?
- Start to work with these people over the next few weeks. I discover that I have a real personality clash with the founder. He doesn't want to listen, doesn't pay attention when others voice opinions, can't ever tell me why his technology is so good, has an over inflated sense of importance about his own technology, adds big & complex features randomly at the last minute. Hm... Do I really want to pick up and relocate for this? NOTE: I've had the evil dot com founder experience so I'm real, real sensitive on culture.
- He knows all along that I consult because, well, eating is a good thing. Being able to feed the cats is even better.
- I pick up a book contract with a prestigious publisher on a cool topic (details forth coming) and I start getting real traction on consulting. This obviously diminishes the time that I have to spend with them.
- I up and tell the founder that this just isn't going to work out. Perhaps I can consult for them. I was nice, professional and honest.
- Someone else in the company forwards me an IM conversation to the effect that I was both "a waste of time and a moron".
- Now look. Let's be professional here. You can call me a lot of things but look at my resume, the 3.5 years I spent building KM products or the 15 years in the search industry. My perspective on your product may be different than yours but IANAM (I AM NOT A MORON). As far as I can see you got a software patent on something that the PTO should never have issued, is things that full text people have always known and have already shipped products that did it (specifically I did back in November 97).
- Arrogant and foolish. In the few weeks that I helped out, I rebranded the product with a new tag line, forced them to accept that they need to focus on a market, wrote a product FAQ, participated in numerous silly phone calls, watched them ignore input, listened to foolish blather, edited the business plan exec summary, edited their VC powerpoint, paid most of the phone costs out of my pocket and had the President of the firm both reschedule and miss scheduled calls.
- Guess what? I'm still in the KM space as a consultant (as I was before this) and it's less than likely that I'll ever recommend them now.
- 7 little words in an IM conversation have cut them off from me forever.
Makes you think, huh? Once it's typed into a computer it essentially escapes into the digital wild and where it goes is always where you don't want it to.
Moral: Date (consult) for companies before you Marry (full time). At the interview level everything sounds hunky dory. Then you really get to know them and its, ahem, interesting.
UPDATE: Just got this email from someone there (I've exchanged maybe 15 emails ever with this person, I respect him but I don't really know him all that well):
I just got home and read the mail from X. I think Y has already taken care of the account issues.
Sorry to hear that. We've let go a lot of folks but never a good guy like yourself.
Damn. Take care.
I do not make this stuff up!