Hiring Engineers, a Process

Disclaimer: The process outlined in this post reflects my personal approach. Please consider this as a helpful insight into what it takes to get a hiring recommendation from me. As always the law and corporate policy applies.

This post has three purposes. First, to save me the need to explain every time how I interview and hire people. Second, to inspire others to break away from the conventional and ineffective hiring process most companies use. It’s a process that fails to identify non-conforming great talent. And third, when the time comes for me to look for my next adventure (and no, I’m too happy where I am – I’m trying to hire you!), I can point hiring managers here to know how I’d like to be treated.


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You, Me, and Node @WalmartLabs

Another adventure begins.

Two months ago I’ve joined @WalmartLabs to lead the mobile web services team. Surprised? I was. After working for one of the largest web companies in the world, all I wanted to do was go to a startup. That’s not exactly right; I wanted to be part of a tiny team with a big mission, a place where the size of the challenge is matched by the freedom and resources to address it. Oh, and a lot of node.js!

I am excited to share this and tell you all about it, especially on the heels of this morning announcement of the acquisition of Small Society. But I’m not going to lie to you: I have an agenda and I am trying to recruit you. If you are contemplating a career move and I “had you at node”, feel free to jump right to very end of this post to find more about the team we’re building.

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Goodbye Open (and Why I’m Staying at Yahoo!)

It’s that time again, to move on. The past three years have been a roller-coaster. Coming from a small startup after a decade in financial services technology, I got to learn, contribute, lead, and provoke open web development. My standards participation landed me a great job, relocated my family to the West coast, and introduced me to a lot of amazing people. It has been awesome.

Over the past couple of months I have been steadily phasing out my open specifications and standards involvement. The OAuth 2.0 core specification is the only thing I am still working on (OAuth is a keeper). Everything else has either fizzled away or lost its interest to me. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who talked to me or read my posts over the past few months.
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Clarifying Thoughts on OpenID

Muppets Two weeks ago I posted two items about OpenID. The first praised the significant contribution OpenID is making to the Open Web. The second raised questions about the direction the OpenID user experience is taking, and how the community discussion seems to be taking a very strong corporate voice. Needless to say, some people didn’t like my questions and what they thought I was implying. Ironically, they opted to send their comments in private.

Let me start by reiterating some points about my employer’s position, wearing my Yahoo! hat for a second, something I rarely do on this blog.

  • Yahoo!’s support for OpenID is unequivocal.
  • Yahoo! is an active member of the community, a specification contributor, and a sustaining member of the foundation.
  • Yahoo! has made a commitment not to invent any new or proprietary alternatives to OpenID.
  • We are also committed and actively seeking ways to support OpenID as a relaying party, accepting OpenID logins from other providers.

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Weekly Recap and All the Rest

(Or, What I’ve Been Up To Lately at Yahoo!)

Yahoo!This week was as much about what I got to write as it was about why I didn’t get (around) to write. And the funny thing is, it’s a good thing. I’ll explain.

But first, let’s recap this week’s posts. I started by talking about OAuth, where we are as a community, where we are going, and gave some ideas on how people can keep the effort moving forward. I continued with a brief discussion on using content negotiation for discovery, and concluded with the first post in a series about the new landscape of discovery: the XRD protocol stack.

Back to why I didn’t get to write more…

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This Poison Pill is Just What the Doctor Prescribed

It is unusual for me to use this blog for comments on current affairs, digital or otherwise. This blog is usually used for technical posts about open standards and social applications. But after reading the New York Times letter to Jerry Yang I had to point out just how completely ridiculous the arguments against the company and the so called ‘poison pill’ are. I was disappointed that a newspaper like the New York Times echoed some of these idiotic views and printed such an unbalanced and childish letter, even if it’s only on its editorial page.

Nobody needs me to explain how the stock market works and the risks involved. The fact that in the past 6 months alone we’ve seen such huge losses for shareholders of MSFT and GOOG proves my point. Making short term shareholder value such a critical issue makes the Times’ entire letter completely lose its credibility (oh the poor firemen!). Also, the argument about losing executives while factually true, is much less significant when viewed with the other more prominent departures across the industry.

But that’s not what I think everyone is getting so wrong.

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New Ground Rules

Being the first post in my new role as Open Web Evangelist at Yahoo!, it is important to disclose certain things. First, much of my new role involves representing Yahoo!'s interests in socially-related community and open standards.

Most importantly, everything on this blog, unless otherwise specified, does not necessarily represent the opinion of Yahoo!. As I always speak in one voice, what I write here is also the advice and ideas I am promoting internally. However, that does not imply in any way that my advice translates into actual policy.

The premise of the position is to help Yahoo! open up, but as is often the case in big companies, change is slow and I will be practicing the art of compromise. This is completely in line with the role I played editing the OAuth specification, but this time have more than just myself to be accountable to.

From all the conversations I had so far, before taking the position and now in my first week on the job, I am extremely optimistic. There is a real sense of urgency within the team to move forward and not only adopt open standards, but offer resources to the community to empower it further.

New Adventure, Same Quest

Ok, the startup is over – now what? The first thing after deciding to end my startup was to figure out what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to stay in the web world, but given my wide range of past experiences I didn’t know what role I really wanted. This was new territory for me as it was the first time in 17 years that I didn’t already know what I wanted to do next (and had it lined up and ready to go). So I asked myself a simple question: what was the most fun part of working on Nouncer? To which I had a quick and easy answer: OAuth.

Working on the OAuth specification, talking about it, promoting it, helping others to understand and implement it, and most importantly being part of the community, were the most exciting tasks this past year. Since I didn’t think anyone will pay me to sit all day having fun writing OAuth, XRDS-Simple, and other related specifications, I was looking for opportunities where I would at least be able to continue working on open standards in a small part capacity. Turns out I was wrong.

It is therefore my great pleasure to announce that I will be joining Yahoo!’s Social Platform team in the newly created role of Open Web Evangelist. Turns out someone does want to pay me to spend my days working on OAuth and other exciting open standards! The Social Platform team is lead by Michael Curtis and focuses on the social directory, social graph activation, the vitality platform, and the universal profile among other things. All this with the perfect timing of the Y!OS announcement (Yahoo! Open Strategy).

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