Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Your Perfect Company

One of the job hunt sites has a question "describe the company you'd like to work for."

After all this bitching about the wrong company, tell me about the right company. Has anyone worked for them?

I always wondered.. If you have so many out of work programmers, why don't they get together and develop something in their spare time? Something open source or even something commercial. It's not like you have to gather materials like manufacturing.

Say, what happened to dictionary.com and reference.com? They seem to be off the map.

www.MarkTAW.com
Sunday, June 15, 2003

The perfect company has a CEO that realizes his job is both sales and managment, neither to the detriment of the other. He realizes that he needs to hire people for their expertise, then remember the reason that he hired them.

He'll realize that nobody is perfect, and he may need to give his employees guidance now and then. He'll hire people that realize this as well.

He'll be firm yet forgiving, and let his employees know what's important and what isn't. He'll understand when something isn't necessarily worth doing well.

He'll recognize the value of money - that it's important to keep the company alive (don't spend like it grows on trees) but also that sometimes you have to spend money to make money (don't be penny smart and pound foolish).

[body.replace("He", "He/She"), yadda, yadda]

Given the nature of people, I believe a good company that needs more than a dozen employees will run itself like small companies in a collective - autonomous business managers with profit/loss accountability that answer on a macro scale to a single CEO.

That's a start, anyway...

Philo

Philo
Sunday, June 15, 2003

The perfect company has an __objective__. It is willing to work hard to meet the objective. The employees have a huge FU factor but stay because the work is challenging and they are seeing results. People take responsibilty for their actions and have an incentive to see the company grow and succeed.

As for why don't unemployed programmers band together and start something, because most are not that good. It takes alot more than being a great programmer to finish a project or start a company. It's easier to complain and post on web forums all day. 

Tom Vu
Sunday, June 15, 2003

The perfect company is full of people who want their workday to mean something.

Realist
Sunday, June 15, 2003

any job where it says:  "me", sole proprietor.


Sunday, June 15, 2003

Some truism I read somewhere is that a good CEO (or manager or whatever) hires people who can do the job, and then lets them do it.

So... nobody's actually worked for this imaginary perfect company? Perhaps there's a good reason for that.

Sadly, Tom is probably right about the unemployed programmers.

www.MarkTAW.com
Sunday, June 15, 2003

I don't know about perfect company, but I've worked in the perfect project team.

The team had a specific goal, with measurable objectives.  The team leader was really good at managing and communicating with the rest of the team; all of the team members were professional; they were "smart and got stuff done."  And finally, the project had time, budgetary and "political" constraints that required creative thinking to get around, but never inspired soul-crushing hopelessness.

Of course it couldn't last; I had to go back to school, but I learned something that fall:  It's not what you're doing that's important (I wasn't overly fond at the time of what we were working on), it's who you're doing it with, because I had a blast.

John Wilson
Monday, June 16, 2003

"It's not what you're doing that's important (I wasn't overly fond at the time of what we were working on), it's who you're doing it with, because I had a blast. "

That's very true. My variation on that is that it doesn't matter what field you're working in if the work itself engages you and the people you're working with are good people.

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, June 16, 2003

I'd agree with that.

Once you get in a state when all team members are working well off each other and enjoying it, productivity increases exponentially.

I've definitely noticed something that's tough to implement but fun will generally produce less bugs that some boring and repetitive task that's technically easy.

Better Than Being Unemployed...
Monday, June 16, 2003

Passion.

Respect for the individual.

Getting meaning from work : contributing to something which is making things better.

Fun!

Yanwoo
Monday, June 16, 2003

Aaah, the perfect company.

I would have loved sitting on one of those bean bags in the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center contemplating about GUIs. Or be present in Steve Job's garage when Apple started or on the OS-X team, or work on the creation of Windows NT at Microsoft or at Netscape in the early days. Or (forgive the switch, but I have a somewhat split career) work on Burt Rutan's Voyager or his current SpaceShipOne program. With Werner Von Braun on the Apollo program or building airplanes and helicopters in the early days of Douglas, Fokker, Sikorsky and Antonov. Live is just too short...

The perfect company is the place where you step inside and immediately feel the energy of great minds buzzing around. The kind that can only lead to something spectacular.

Jan Derk
Monday, June 16, 2003

I take it that you're talking about Monster. Because you're "gameing" it, you may want to say something that does not exclude any employer from considering you. For example, if you were to say that you want to work somewhere where everything is super-perfect, you may then be overlooked by employers who know that their environment is imperfect and who are looking for someone who can help to make it better. If you can't think of anything that you want to say, then you can leave the section empty: if you leave it empy then that section (including the section title) simply doesn't appear in the resume preview.

Christopher Wells
Monday, June 16, 2003

> As for why don't unemployed programmers band together and start something, because most are not that good. It takes alot more than being a great programmer to finish a project or start a company.

When I joined a startup as its first programmer, I looked after the software while the owner/CEO looked after everything else: he sold the software, and deciding what product should be implemented.

I think I'm a good programmer: I can finish projects, start projects, partition projects for multiple developers, supervise and train developers and the development process, learn whatever programming tools I need ... the one thing I have never done is choose a market and decide what product to implement.

Christopher Wells
Monday, June 16, 2003

> . Because you're "gameing" it, you may want to say something that does not exclude any employer from considering you. <

Yeah, it's acting. Figure out who they want to hire and become that person.

Mark Wieczorek

- Faster than a speeding bullet
- Stronger than a Freight Train
- Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound

Loves to work in challenging environments with miserable people who take out their misery on those around them.

> the one thing I have never done is choose a market and decide what product to implement. <

Really? I'm not even a programmer and I have dozens of ideas for software packages that I know I can make better than anyone else if I just bothered to learn programming.

Heck, I've seen two software packages that were based on Joel's "painless software schedules" article as well as two freeware versions of this board.

It's really just a matter of answering the question "what do I want that can make my life easier." If you've got a lot of free time on your hands, why not go for it?

How do you think Fog Creek started? Some time, some money (Joel tells us not much) and a vision. Apparently all you're lacking is the vision.

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, June 16, 2003

The bad companies to work for are the ones that manage their employees as if they are interchangable commodities.  Hire on the basis of a laundry list of skills and stick them in a cubicle.

A company needs to make money.  As an employee I want a place that where I enjoy coming to work in the morning and where I'll have long term career advancement.  These are not antithetical goals.  A good company will figure out how to align company and employee goals.

I do want to work where the technology is interesting.  When I first started working that might have been my primary factor in choosing an employer.  After a couple of decades with various employers I have decided that that is important, but of secondary concern.

None of my employers have been perfect, but one was much better than typical.  This company was started by a few programmers and technical managers getting together to start their own company.  None were unemployed at the time though.

mackinac
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Good companies are fun.  The question is : What is fun?
Perhaps one answer:  make work a game.  Then, what makes work fun like a game?


I'm going to post that as a new thread.

Clay N.
Monday, June 23, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home