August, 2007

Formos One Year Later

Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:38:24 am by Dustin
Filed under Dealing with People, General, Payroll, a little about life

One year ago today I started working at Formos. Yes, that is right I made it one year at a single job since college ended. Take that all you nay sayers. Actually there weren’t any nay sayers.

Formos has changed an enormous amount since I showed up. I was the eighth employee at the time and there are now a lucky 13. We were starting our second project ever at the time (which sparked the need for more employees). At this point we have finished about five complete projects and are now working on seven or eight others.

I would like to thank the owner, Matt Tunnell, for this last year.

Thank is all for now. Cheers.

The Art Of The Start (Book Review)

Mon Aug 13, 2007 6:36:18 am by Dustin
Filed under Book Review, Finance, Fun, General, Payroll, a little about life

Full Title: The Art of the Start, The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki
ISBN: 1-59184-056-2
Get it Cheap.

Summary: Guy goes through a few of the major aspects of starting a business such as writing a business plan, raising money, and recruiting great talent and explains the best pieces which should be focused on and those which should be forgotten. One example for the writing the plan comes down to who writes it. He suggests from his experience as a Venture Capitalist that many start ups try to write the plan as a team or in sections. This is a bad idea for many reasons (I will let him explain those) and says ideas should come from everybody but one person should physically write the plan. Another example is from creating mission statements. According to him they are useless time wasters. All of them have the same basic pieces (regardless of the organization) and are forgotten and not followed 10 minutes after being written.

What I thought: In a few emails with Guy I have found him to be a very nice person. That personality is also demonstrated in this book. This book is more of a guide to describing the best ways to forget about the things which are not going to make the company successful and start implementing ideas which will. A cut-the-crap-and-let’s-grow guide if you will. Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital put it best.

A successful entrepreneur requires three things: a garage, an idea, and this book.

Art of the Start

Portland Bridge Pedal Recap

Sun Aug 12, 2007 4:34:10 pm by Dustin
Filed under Dealing with People, Fun, General, Giving Tree, Health, a little about life

My day started a little earlier this morning then usual. I was up and leaving the house at 6:00. Why, you may be wondering. Today was the Bridge Pedal, a fun bike trip over all the bridges in Portland. I was down to the water front, checked in, and ready to ride at 7 with four friends Jason, Lauren, Diana, and Stephanie. All in all the ride was very fun, relaxed, and most of all entertaining. Here are a few riding stats:

  • Total Distance: 34.32 miles according to my bike
  • Time: 2:58:18, it was a relaxed pace
  • Average Speed: 11.54 mph, there were a ton of people in my way
  • Average Cadence: 48
  • Max Speed: 38.70, coming down the hill off the Fremont. I also hit the hit 38 coming on to the Marquam.

A few things to note about our trip.

When we got to the Ross Island Bridge at mile 10, the three routes (10, 8, 6 bridge – we were the 10) had just combined, and the four lanes of bikes had to merge into one to cross the bridge. There was about a 30-45 minute wait to get over the bridge. A little poorly planned, but we got over it.

At about mile 30, we were going past school down Willamette Blvd. Car traffic was limited to one lane the other direction and to stop cars from entering our course, there were small, wooden ‘road closed’ signs at each cross street. My friend Lauren, in hast to miss a small child who was having trouble steering, hit a few these signs. I did not see her do it, but it sounded like somebody had just died. She did not fall either. When she caught up to me about a block later we saw see had a splinter from the sign about the thickness of those #2 pencils you used back in grade school stuck in her leg. We decided it was time for a break. After denying help from an ambulance and realizing Public Safety is useless, she called a friend to take her to the hospital for stitches. Last I heard, she will live to see the day. The rest of us went on and finished.

There was another slow spot at the finish as all of those people decided as soon as they crossed the finish line it was time to stop and be in the way. I do have a nice photo finish picture which Diana took of me as we were walking our bikes over the line.

It was a very fun day. Pictures will be posted as they come.

Lake Roosevelt Weekend

Mon Aug 6, 2007 5:52:40 am by Dustin
Filed under Dealing with People, Fun, General, Health, a little about life

Wow what a weekend.

My weekend started at 10:00 Friday night when I jumped into my friends car with her and we started a six hour drive from Vancouver to Okanogan, WA. What is in Okanogan you ask? Well not much of anything except my friend’s best friend, and Lake Roosevelt is not far away.

We ended up getting to Okanogan at four in the morning when we crashed for about four hours then it was time to play. After some fabulous blueberry pancakes, we were on the road again for some swimming, boating, camping, drinking, and fun having at the lake. And that is exactly what we did.

There were a few firsts for me this weekend. I slept on the beach for the first time (in a bloody hole too – nice choices Amy, ugg). I water skied and got up, fell on my back, and was able to recover. I think if I went water skiing again I would really enjoy it. Also the power of the boat really does have an impact on your chances of getting out of the water. The first boat I tried it on I was not able to get anywhere; the second I was up first time – then fell. To continue my list I had pb&j on a hot dog bun; another first.

I am sure there is more to write here, but after about 15 hours of sleep in the past three days, nothing is coming to me. I am going to get ready for work now and try waking up.

How Are eVoting Systems So Hard To Make?

Fri Aug 3, 2007 5:57:43 pm by Dustin
Filed under Dealing with People, General

In the fast few years of elections, you may have read about the failures of eVoting systems – voting systems which use computers to register the votes of an election instead of the traditional process of using paper. The arguments for making the transition include speeding up the process, eliminating some interface issues (ie the Hanging CHAD), and increase counting accuracy to name a few.

To go along with with the past failures of such systems, tests in the UK and California failed (for lack of any better description) this week. A few issues which were noted as the ‘failures’ include confusion of the users (walking away for traditional methods) and security issues (various reasons for making the system vulnerable).

As I see it there are three major portions of this project which need to be developed:

  • Security – make sure nobody and no system can achieve unauthorized access to the system in any manner along the way.
  • Tally the Votes – umm, this is just a counter and a log. Any first semester Computer Science student should be able to do this one.
  • Interface – bring them together with some sort of user interface. This may be hard since one would have to design for all adult ages, education levels, computer abilities, etc, but Hell the current paper systems are usually crap from an interface design anyway.

I am not saying the two example of ‘failures’ were actually failures. Tests happen for a reason, and it is much better to find these issues now than November of next year. There seem to be way more unsuccessful systems than there should be.