Thursday, February 5, 2015

When you become a CEO don't stop being a human.

I had to think long and hard about writing this post.  I am choosing not to name names because the objective of the post is simply to educate future startup CEO's. A while back I joined a startup as their CTO, first as a 1099 contractor, and then as a full-time employee.  Actually full-time employee #2 or #3 I think.  About a third of the way into my first year as a full-time employee I got very sick.  Not a new illness, Ulcerative Colitis, something I had been diagnosed with many years before but which had been in total remission for almost 5 years.  Unfortunately when it decided to return, it returned with a vengeance.  To cut a long story short I spent 83 days in Hospital that year, and 42 the following year including one stint that lasted 30 days, and underwent 5 surgeries.  Initially my employer generously stuck with me, and I did what work I could while hospitalized or at home recuperating.  Eventually though, and not unsurprisingly my work output didn't warrant the salary I was being paid, and that's fair.  Here's where I think this companies CEO failed to act as a decent human being however. 1) He never visited me in Hospital, though I did get flowers on two occasions.  The only visitor I got from work was from my direct report, for which I am very thankful.  I also had a visit from the CEO of a former employer where I had worked for 8 years, again for which I am very thankful. 2) He terminated my employment by telephone while I lay in a Hospital bed, even though doing so in person would have taken a 30 minute drive at most.  3) The company initially offered me no severance.  Thankfully they did eventually agree to honor the terms of my contract.  If you're a startup CEO, please don't treat your employees this way, and if its apparent that a key employee can't contribute for a while due to health issues consider and discuss alternatives such as an unpaid furlough.  Thankfully I can report I am 100% recovered from this illness and busy with my consulting practice where I am earning more than I did at the startup in question.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

10 Tweeted Startup Tips

Of course that should have read, Probability, not Probably!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why I disagree with most offshoring

Every time I raise this topic, I'm usually confronted with the same old chestnut, "Don't you realize it's a Global economy".  Well in my opinion the Global economy for the most part only benefits Global companies such Apple and General Electric.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm no isolationist or protectionist, and I am 100% a capitalist, so I'm not here trying to tell companies what to do with their revenues.  My goal is just to articulate why I believe arbitrage of human labor, specifically with countries with whom the United States has a major trade deficit hurts us all, and why some companies engaged in offshoring are literally destroying their client base.

In simple terms and at a macro level the Global economy only benefits residents of a country if trade is ideally balanced, or a trade surplus in favor of the supplier exists.  When a trade deficit occurs you are quite simply shipping money overseas to grow someone elses economy at the expense of your own.  It's literally as if you are giving money to your competitor, to grow his or her business.  If the trade deficit with a given country is systemic then that money never returns.  The US has run Global trade deficits for decades, and our trade deficits with those countries that are haven for offshoring including India and China have equally long track records.  Put very simply when you offshore work to these countries you are taking money out of the US Economy and putting it into theirs.  Now if you do business in those countries or plan to expand into those countries great, otherwise you are directly impacting the amount of available money in your own market. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Running VMware Workstation 7.x on Windows 8

Well I just upgraded my development machine to Windows 8.  I then tried launching a Virtual machine in VMware Workstation, and got a nasty error that VMware couldn't allocate enough memory.  Panic ensued!  It suggested I go increase the total memory allocated to all Virtual machines.  When I tried to do this I was greeted by another error telling me VMware couldn't get a lock on its config.ini file.

The solution to this problem however turns out to be simple.  Right click on the VMware icon and on the Compatibility Tab set VMware Workstation to run as Administrator.