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In the olden physical library days, books were catalogued and numbered according to a common Dewey Decimal Classification system. Each book belonged on a specific shelf. You looked up books by author or by topic by consulting an index card system. The index card DDC information would then direct you to the right shelf. It worked! It worked because there were only so many books one could store in a library.

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The scale of the internet made such a catalog impossible, even though Yahoo originally tried it. Altavista, Lycos, Excite and a host of other companies worked very hard at…

Without a LinkedIn profile you don’t exist and you don’t have a career.

Your HR department probably has several LinkedIn recruiter licenses to find great candidates. You may even have asked your team to mine their networks for great candidates. For hiring managers, LinkedIn provides inspiration to specify the right job title or to describe the role. LinkedIn Recruiter appears to be serving companies well.

For many sales teams, LinkedIn has replaced the rolodex from over a decade ago. You may need some third-party add-ons to find the right email or phone number. The majority of the LinkedIn connect requests…

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Today I finished my favorite book of the year. The Education of an Idealist, a memoir by Samantha Power is the most interesting book I have read in quite a while. It tells the story of a woman, who immigrated to the US from Ireland as a child. After being a war correspondent, she aided Obama’s presidential campaign, served in the Obama administration as part of the National Security Council, and ultimately served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations. Describing her career in this manner would make for a boring book. Her memoir on the other hand is…

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At work, we primarily use Google Docs for collaborative writing. However, on my laptop Markdown rules the desktop. My todo list, my status reports, many emails, notes all start as a simple Markdown file.

My favorite editor is iA Writer. It is a great distraction-free editor. It supports some nifty features. For example, I can export directly to It allows for importing pictures, reference and embed other Markdown files, and even CSV files for tables. I wish it was easier to create a custom html template, and that iAWriter would support the folding feature on the MacOS version.


In the late 90s, I read that you could you learn more about the economy, while sitting in a truck stop in the middle of the country, than reading economic papers. One famous investor even regularly called the head waitress at a truck stop every month on the dot to know how business was doing. Coffee consumption and how much diesel is filled up at giant truck stops are a leading indicator of how the economy is doing. …

A few years ago, I wrote a longer write-up about Practical tips every engineer needs to know about managing a project. It discussed the role of a project manager, project stages, the project plan, communication, project meetings and common failure modes. Here I like to focus on the most important activity in the beginning of the project: building a common understanding of what the project is all about. This is best done by writing a simple one-to-three page document, the project charter, in plain English. It shall not be a powerpoint presentation, as bulleted lists leave too much room for…

It was September 2010. It was my first time flying into Orland International Airport. I was going to Kennedy Space Center on Merrit Island. I was excited. For an engineer, and child of the Space Shuttle program, this was a dream come true.

Except there were no rockets igniting. I wasn’t attending any launch. There was no buzz in the Space Coast air. On the contrary, I was witnessing a major transition in the US space program, close and up front. I was there to recruit engineers at a 2-day in-person job fair at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral…

All too often corporate America defaults to “let’s have a meeting” to make progress. The US productivity suffers tremendously from this meeting culture, as it is not very efficient. It is only trumped by its addiction to the bulleted powerpoint presentation. There are plenty of articles describing how to escape the dreaded meeting, or how to organize and run a meeting in a more productive way. However, a meeting in itself is not the problem.

At the same time, we keep reinventing communication and collaboration tools. IRC added emojis and rebranded itself as Slack. Google Docs rebuilt Microsoft Word online…

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On my recent flight from Miami to Santiago de Chile, I finally got to watch the latest Quentin Tarantino movie Once upon a time in Hollywood. A few days after, I am still a bit confused about what to make of the movie. On one end, I could not stop watching it. Even though it was slow going in a Dirty Harry type of slow, I was glued to the small airplane screen. However, because it was slow going, my mind kept wandering. “Quentin probably got a great kick out of some odd ball movie references he snuck in and…

Congratulations! Hopefully the tips from Mission: score an interview with a Silicon Valley company were helpful, and you have been contacted to talk to the hiring manager. Here are a few tips on how to ace the initial call.

Before the interview

  • Test your system. We often use a video call to interview candidates: Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts. Make sure your camera and microphone work. Do not use a phone for video conferencing. Sometimes we do hands-on exercises. Have a working IDE, editor and compiler installed. Lastly, take a few moments to clean up your computer background and desktop files.
  • Be professional

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