Atari. 3COM. Apple (1992). Borland. Silicon Graphics. Sun (twice). Others that I have forgotten.
Personally, I’d rather work in a barn.
But hasn’t it been renamed to 1 Hacker Way so it’s ok now?
I read “The Soul of a New Machine” by Tracy Kidder, about the development of the Data General Eclipse MV/8000 in 1980. The “use programmers and engineers like toilet paper” mentality apparently goes way back…
There were probably computer companies that thought themselves enlightened by providing developers with company chairs instead of making them bring their own from home.
“We don’t understand what you’re doing, so it can’t be very important.”
Are they bad working environments? Those of us a long long way away from the Silicon Valley don’t know about these things.
I have seen the main dev office at FB. It is like a barn.
Don’t let the man get you down.
Try a startup for a while, if you need to feel empowered.
It’s amazing how good it feel to literally be able to single-handedly change the direction of the whole company as a single engineer.
I’d hire you any day my good man.
Startups have many things going for them. I went from Apple to the 5th person at a start-up (doing mobile software in 1994, which was a little bit early by a decade or so for the real mobile market). There, I learned about leases, buying cubicles, getting Internet connections, phone systems and a hundred other things that you need to just take care of in a small company, because no one else is going to do it. I wrote a ton of software, too.
Startups have the down-side that the hours are crazy, and you’re likely to be out of a job. I hate stress.
I like to say, “I don’t know how you get work done inside a barn,” but actually I’m afraid that I do know. I’ve worked in various types of barns. The ones that are consensual and just automatically an outgrowth of the team you’re on have been great, and I’ve done these 3-4 times. The mandated barnyards (where HR or management or some overpaid architect has decided on barns via the Cargo Cult method, or maybe out of simple contempt for the average knowledge worker) have ranged from awful to utterly disgusting (“If I have to work in *that*, I’m leaving”).
I don’t know which type of barn FB is.
“The “use programmers and engineers like toilet paper” mentality apparently goes way back…”
I was talking the other day to an ex-engineer who works these days in company restructuring / selling / advising, etc. He said something interesting: “The engineering can always be replaced.”
THAT mentality (and good engineers who solve problems for free because that’s what we’re good at doing) is part of why the profession is so badly treated by the management class and accountants. They don’t understand… and you can always cut another one off the back of a cornflakes box.
Trouble is really good engineers, who really get it, or who have a unique and deep knowledge of a specialised field are rare, and need to be looked after. Much drudge engineering can be replaced. REAL engineering, the real, rare, creative special stuff from people who REALLY KNOW…. that can’t be replaced. The stuff where 10 – 100 people in the whole world know… that’s what can’t be replaced. But management drones and bean counters don’t quite understand that.
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