Showing posts from May, 2016

Gig Work That Works: Flexibility and a Secure Paycheck

So, yesterday, I posted this article about The Value of Not Chasing Your Paidto HN. It is possibly not obvious, but I am the author. It is one of my many little blogs that I futz around with.

The back story on this particular blog is that I recommended Textbroker to a few people who were dealing with some personal challenges and none of them seemed to see in it what I saw. So I started a little blog that has a few posts and is not being updated much in order to explain to people how to get value out of it and why this is a good gig platform, not a bad one.

I posted that particular page to HN yesterday thinking there are plenty of freelancers on HN and there are some good ideas in it on how to think about your pay. I also posted it because I sometimes talk about gig work that works and how I think that is the wave of the future and the solution we need (instead of a UBI).

I guess it had a good title (go me, I so often suck at titles) because it got over 3000 page views, but it go…

Karma on HN

So, a recent remark suggested I place too high a value on karma -- ie on upvotes on HN. This is sort of funny to me because I actually place a much higher value on other things, but I have kind of given up on talking about them due largely to being told I am basically imagining things. Other people simply do not see what I see and no one values it when I try to describe what I see. It gets a lot of dismissal and push back. Thus, I have resorted to using karma as a metric I can point to that I cannot be accused of imagining. In other words, I value karma as a proxy measure, something quantifiable and relatively concrete in the eyes of other people. But I also value it as something that told me something useful about my relationship to HN, something I had somewhat inferred based on the behavior of other people, but did not fully comprehend until I tracked down some numbers that helped me flesh out the problem space.I joined HN in late summer 2009. I was a divorced single mom with a corp…

Theranos: The Cult of Personality

On HN, a current discussion of the ongoing Theranos drama involves some debate over whether or not Ms. Holmes deserves compassion. I don't know the answer to that question, but I often feel like these discussions are largely failing to recognize the root of the problem. I wish it were getting more attention. But I kind of suspect no one but me sees it this way.

I think part of the problem is this company was founded by a charming, pretty, very intelligent and very young woman. And most people doing the advising are male.

I am a woman and my experiences have been that this is a serious handicap for getting effective constructive feedback. Men don't really want to have a serious conversation with me about what works, what doesn't, why that is true, etc. If they talk to me at all, many of them are either 1) trying to be charming, even if they have no explicit goal of trying to sleep with me or 2) trying to be encouraging, as if the deeply rooted problems of sexism boil down…

The Backstory

Both on this blog and on Hacker News, I recently mentioned an incident at work where I told a colleague to "never speak that way to me again" and it went to HR and everything had a happy ending. I got a couple of questions on HN concerning the story. I didn't want to answer those questions on HN, but I thought I would give more of the story here. Maybe it will help other folks as a case study type dealie.

Like most things, the incident I summed up has a long back story. First of all, I was quite ill while I had that job. I did my best to not talk about that with my co-workers. I felt that talking about my medical situation at work would be really problematic.

However, not talking about it also caused social challenges. I simply wasn't energetic enough to be a social butterfly at work, and I didn't have a handy way to explain away oddities and reassure people that I wasn't really standoffish or rejecting them. I was just tired all the time and needed ever…

Lawyer lawyer lawyer LAWYER lawyer LAWYER.

So, some poor soul has asked a question on Hacker News concerning their first incidence of alleged sexual harassment. This is my reply: So, I am female. When working at a Fortune 500 company, I once emailed a colleague and copied our two bosses. I advised him to never speak that way to me again.

It went to HR. I got interviewed. I assume he got interviewed. He was not fired. He never spoke that way to me again. I eventually reestablished trust with this man and we got on well. I suspect he got sensitivity training. I was not told what went down. It was all handled very discreetly.

Please do get HR involved. Please do not listen to the people here who are advising you to nuke the man from orbit, it's the only way. Doing that will only deepen the problem. Men and women need to learn to interact at work. Promoting fear and loathing will not further that larger goal.

You get his side. You do some training. If it continues to be a problem, sure, fire him. But please do not use fi…

Aligning Your Goals and Your Monetization Strategy

This is a thing I have thought about for something like 15+ years: how to monetize my web projects in a way that makes sense to me. In this case, "makes sense" means that it a) has the potential to make good money and b) the way it makes money does not undermine the fundamental goals of the various things I am trying to do. For a lot of the reasons rehashed in the various versions of this ongoing conversation across the web, I always wanted to make the money off of micropayments.

Well over a year ago, I read a discussion on Hacker News where someone said he had agreed to a deal of "No cure, no pay" when trying to save a project. When asked why on earth he would agree to that, he replied:
It's a point of honour with me. Why send an invoice if it doesn't save their bacon? Better to align my goals with theirs. Make money with the customer, not off the customer is one of my mottos and that has worked well for me over the years.

jacquesm To me, that is it …