Tag: culture

Trouble at Github

beardieThere is trouble in weirdy beardy land as the $2 billion startup GitHub is suffering from a brain drain because its top beardies don’t like their king.

Business Insider has been attempting to get the inside trouser measurement of the drama. So far 10 executives have cleaned out their desks and taken their action figures and amine posters home.

The problem appears to be that the King Beardy Cofounder CEO Chris Wanstrath (pictured), with support from the board, is radically changing the company’s culture.

In the old days there was a flat structure based purely on meritocracy and now Wanstrath has bought in supervisors and middle managers. He has abandoned the remote-employee culture and forced senior managers to report to the office.

Some longer-term employees feel like there’s a “culture of fear” where people who don’t support all the changes are being ousted.

Kakul Srivastava, vice president of programme management said that Github was getting bigger and it needed to build a new kind of Enterprise Company where the playbooks of old won’t always work.

riVnhnsiSrivastava (left) is a former Yahoo and Flickr exec and is part of Wanstrath’s management team. She joined GitHub in July to revamp its products and she also does not even have a beard.

Wanstrath became CEO in 2014 after GitHub was embroiled in a sexual-harassment scandal by a female employee who quit. GitHub’s own internal investigation determined that no sexual harassment took place, but said there were other leadership issues going on.

Now he is trying to overhaul Github, with full support from the venture capitalists who backed the company.

Microsoft whistleblower suggests Windows losing to Linux

Microsoft’s kernel is falling behind Linux because of a cultural problem at the Volehill of Redmond, claims one of its developers.

The anonymous Microsoft developer who contributes to the Windows NT kernel wrote a response acknowledging the problem and explaining its cause.

He later deleted the post because he felt it was too cruel and did not help make his point, which is about the social dynamics of spontaneous contribution. It was republished here  by those who did not agree.

The developer said that Windows was slower than other operating systems in many scenarios, and the gap is worsening.

He wrote that the reason was social and while there are naive people at Microsoft who try to make things better, they always fail.

Microsoft will only improve kernel performance for specific scenarios that people with the ability to allocate resources believe impact business goals.

However, there is no formal or informal program of systemic performance improvement.

The only reason Microsoft started caring about security was because pre-SP3 Windows XP was an existential threat to the business. Low kernel performance was not a threat.

The developer also said that there was little incentive to create changes in the first place. On linux-kernel, if you improve the performance of directory traversal by a consistent five percent, you’re praised and thanked. In Redmond, if you improve performance and you do get your code past the Ob owners and into the tree, your own management doesn’t care.

Making a massive improvement will get you noticed by senior people and could be a boon for your career, but the improvement has to be very large to attract that kind of attention.

In Redmond, incremental improvements just annoy people and are, at best, neutral for your career.

As a result people stop trying to do unplanned work after a little while.

Microsoft also has a problem keeping talented staff – as Google and other large Seattle-area companies keep poaching the best and most experienced developers.

Redmond has solved this by hiring kids straight from college to replace them. These developers mean well and are adequately intelligent, but they don’t understand why certain decisions were made, don’t have a thorough understanding of the intricate details of how their systems work, and most importantly, don’t want to change anything that already works, the whistleblower wrote.

These junior developers also have a tendency to make improvements to the system by implementing brand-new features instead of improving old ones.

He said that Vole had some old-fashioned hardcore talented developers and the NT kernel is still much better than Linux in some ways.

But Microsoft’s good workers keep retiring or moving to other large technology companies, and there are few new developers achieving the level of technical virtuosity needed to replace those who leave. 

Ed Vaizey pushes for digital radio migration

The world + dog, and especially + Aunty Beeb have been pushing and pushing for digital radio to become the standard and have been telling everyone they can that FM radio is going to be dead in the water.

But that’s clearly not the case. Walk around a London street or into a home and generally you’re going to see a bog standard radio with an aerial (and maybe even a tape player, remember THOSE?) playing Heart or Magic or Capital with the familiar fuzzy FM crackling. 

Anyway – if you’ve got internet access, like most of us here in Blighty, all the radio stations you can listen to on FM, AM or digital are all available for live streaming. Not to mention you can pick up internet user stations and listen to stations not only in the UK but across the world. As internet and technology gets increasingly mobile and going online gets easier than ever, with mobile bandwidth packages for smartphones and tablet PCs likely to get better and better, what is, really, the point of pushing DAB?

FM’s alive and kicking. That’s not stopping Ed Vaizey, slowalition culture minister, from today announcing the government’s plans for digital migration. Imagination Technologies has been quick to lend its support, too, with CEO Hossein Yassaie saying: “The UK can be proud to be the leader in the development and roll out of these technologies.”

“As with any new technology deployment, what is most required is certainty to further drive this technology into products across the mobile, consumer and automotive markets. Following this much needed announcement we are confident that our licensing partners in the digital broadcast market, their customers among the leading radio OEMs, and our PURE consumer brand, will be able to implement roadmaps in confidence and at an accelerated pace.”

This suggests, to us, that all along digital and DAB has been something of a cash cow. Imagination’s line on it boils down to “We’re glad the government is pushing digital because we flog digital products.” With internet infiltrating every aspect of the average brit’s life at the moment, do we really need digital radios? Really?

We’ve contacted Aunty to get a ballpark figure, an estimate, as to how much it’s spent of licence payer’s money on pushing digital.  Ed Vaizey’s plans to put the focus back on digital radio may be either too little too late or, frankly, redundant.

All flames welcome in the comment box below…