Google to buy Netflix

Blast from the past — 5 years ago I proposed this event…

Turns out I may have only gotten the suitor wrong.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [5/12/2017] :

Alphabet (Google) has offered $180/shr for Netflix in a 1/2 cash 1/2 share buyout.

Netflix will join YouTube in Alphabet’s (Google’s) growing media powerhouse. Details of the deal were not available as of this writing. However, Alphabet’s bank account, (GOOG: Marketwatch) can more than deal with the purchase. NFLX CEO Reed Hastings remarked, “With Google’s, I mean Alphabet’s, introduction of their ChromeView — [their television plus intelligent agent set-top box] — Netflix will have even better domestic and growing world-wide exposure. I look forward to working with that team creating vivid and engaging content, both for our flagship Netflix platform as well as the quirky but wildly popular YouTube channel venue.”

Officers at Alphabet were unavailable for comment, but a quick tweet from CEO Larry Page “A natural fit: Netflix and Google” and positive remarks from Sundar Pichai seem to indicate that the deal will succeed. Anti-trust sources at the DOJ were also unavailable for comment.

Brittleware, Mushware, Someware, Noware

A constant sense of dread accompanies the work I do. It never leaves me. Right this instant transactions flow through code I’ve written which, if malformed—in any way—could trigger failures that percolate and permeate systems deep and vast.

Of course, contingencies are expected, precautions taken and fail-overs set to trip. But it’s never enough. Preempting every possible wrinkle cannot be done. Holes will always exist. It is these holes that haunt me.

Critical software operates the world over. RTOSs, real-time operating systems in aircraft, medical equipment, telecommunications, financial systems can run error free for years. This software is not that. It’s not mission critical, life-or-death code. It’s software tracking the most pathetic of information: e-commerce. The word feels toxic on my tongue.

E-Commerce reigns, second only to “social” software, as the bane of society. There are few industries I despise more. Yet, here I am, worrying about the next alert, the next “incident” predicated on some coding assumption I’ve made. As careful and cautious as I can be, there will always be some unknown unknown that creeps up to bite me.

I hate computers.

Office Evolution

Work from home. The end of the office. Zoom, zoom, zoom. Quit slackin’ off, I mean, get your Slack on. The great resignation. The great realignment. The death of the downtown and resurgence of the small town.

Yeah. Some of that. Maybe a lot of that.

But here’s something I recently came across regarding office culture vs virtual culture:

  • Offices have limited pools from which to draw talent.
  • Virtual teams can hire from across the planet.

Your 20 person development team, all collected into a big conference room, all working through this quarter’s NCTs—Narratives, Commitments, Tasks (oof, what a load of crap those things are), are here because they live within an hour’s drive of your office. They were hired because they live within driving distance. Sure they have some skills, but consistently showing up on time, getting their assigned work done, not rocking the boat—being a team player, is why your team is composed the way it is.

Now, what if you could hire anyone working from anywhere? Who might now be on your team? You could get some incredibly talented people working for you or with you.

Of course, your office-bound team all get paid roughly the same salary. Maybe 10-50% drift between junior and senior engineers. Paying the best developer three times what the worst developer gets just wouldn’t fly.

But if you could hire anybody… You’d have to pay for the best, right? Maybe the best it worth five times what your Software Engineer Level I is paid. Maybe your architect is worth ten times that.

And pretty soon, with a virtual office, you just don’t settle for poorly performing developers. Those you had to put up with with a brick office constrained by a local, limited talent pool.

And, as I’m writing this, I’m wondering why this company I work for has been on a literal psychotic spending spree when it come to developers. I’m thinking, fill the ranks and then cull the herd after you see who’s worthy, who’s worth it.

This dynamic is not one I’ve considered before. But now that I mull it over, I can see how the all-stars, previously restrained by their location and group-think regarding income, can start to demand much, much higher salaries. And work from anywhere they please.

(Not me of course, I’m the king of mediocre. I’ll be lucky to have a job come summer.)

-Mole

Thoughts? Would you move if you could get paid twice or four times what you make today? Where would you go? Do you see salaries diverging more and more as the skills quotient between employees diverges?

Cosmic Voices Take #2

Still waitin’ on that third shoe, the last in the Bad-Things-Trio, to drop…

In the mean time, Anonymole got a job offer, so he won’t be kicked out onto the street.

I used to work for some guys in Utah (worked for them twice actually). Serendipitously, I received a call today, from the main guy there. He offered me a job writing Node.js, Rust, S3, DynamoDB, MongoDB, none of which I’ve ever worked with before. But, hey, they know I can learn what needs to be learned and quickly become productive. And the offer was more than I could have wished for.

So, once this month has passed—the love/hate relationship that it is, I’ll be heads down, elbows deep in crazy new programming languages.

Wounded by Covid

I thought I’d eked by. I thought the ravaging flames of “corporate actions” had dwindled and snuffed out. I thought I had a future.

I thought wrong.

Turns out the totem pole continues to get Jenga’d from the bottom up. And my developer spirit, squatting there smug with a grimace like the Cheshire Cat, just got flicked to the burn pile.

“Call me.” The Prick (you remember him) MS Teams messaged me.

“ME?” (I’d never Teams chatted this guy, ever.)

“Yes”

“This is Anonymole.”

“Your position has been eliminated. You’ll make arrangements with HR to return the phone and laptop. It’s another heavy round of layoffs. Sorry.”

(Yeah, sure you are.)

I guess I’ll have more time to write now. Just what I always wanted.