[Baypiggies] Perot at NASA - Sr. Python Developer

Alex Martelli aleax at google.com
Tue Jun 30 07:50:58 CEST 2009

Not that I'm really interested (wallowing in the joy that is working
at Google), but I think it might help you to see why somebody like me
might not qualify by the silly standards you set out...

> Our client is developing a cloud computing infrastructure.  This has the
> backing of the federal government and they want to make it the flagship
> (standard).  Cloud Computing is their next generation datacenter with
> automated load following and virtual space all mapped together.

Considering that I've spent the last 4+ years of my life building
Google's cloud, one might suspect I'm qualified, but...

> Python development (at least 3 years)

Check, 10 years should do.

> Direct experience with highly-scalable web applications (minimum 5M+ monthly
> unique visitors or the ability to scale to that level)

5M pageviews per month is what we *give out FOR FREE* on the Google
App Engine (built on top of the cloud I helped build)...

> Leadership experience (managing developers in a highly collaborative R&D
> environment)

Having spent most of my time at Google as Uber Tech Lead (responsible
directly or indirectly for up to a few dozens of developers when I had
to, though that was only when we lacked director-level personnel -- my
boss, a senior VP, was way overloaded, so I took the people management
load off his shoulder even though I'd much rather have been
hacking!-), I think I could check this one

> Experience with Social Media and Social Networking on the API layer

Ah, that's the killer bit: while I've built clouds and managed large
groups of brilliant developers doing so, I have ZERO experience on
this "Social" silly thing (Google does have Orkut, which runs in part
on infrastructure I helped build, but I nevertheless have ZERO
experience with its APIs). So, since this is a MUST, even if I _was_
looking for a job I would never apply for this one.

In fact I'm quite loath to link my future to this "social networking"
craze, to the point that I've repeatedly resisted facebook's insisted
headhunting (prompted in part, I believe, by friends and ex-colleagues
of mine who work there -- they've experienced what it means to work
closely with me, even though I have ZERO "experience with social"
ANYthing "on the API layer", and must have pressed their recruiters to
keep badgering me even after several refusals on my part).

It's fortunate that your conditions include this "social blahblah"
experience as a MUST, since it means I of course won't apply and you'd
immediately discard me if I did (or else it means you don't know what
MUST means, which should steer ANY sensible person off this
organization, of course).

> Experience defining, implementing and refining data-driven APIs

Got that (BOY do I ever), but doesn't matter since I lack your
(idiotic IMHO) "social" `MUST`.

> Experience in open source, both as a developer and an active community
> participant

Got that, in MANY projects, but again it doesn't matter given the
meaning of "MUST".

> Agile development in full product life-cycles

AND that -- one of my hottest-burning passions, actually.

> Nice to have:
> Development of Complex, N-tiered systems, utilizing loosely-coupled
> components based on a message-passing architecture

Got that and then some, pity it doesn't matter.

> Familiarity with OAuth, OpenID and other open standards for authentication
> and identity


> Familiar with EC2, AppEngine, and basic cloud computing infrastructure

And ditto squared.

So -- one single, incredibly silly MUST condition about "social mush"
would stop ME from applying for this job even if I was LOOKING for a
job (which, let me repeat, I ain't) -- even though I'm WAY qualified
or overqualified on EVERY other 'MUST' _and_ 'NICE TO HAVE', *AND* a
lot you don't even bother to mention.

That's what MUST HAVE ***means***.  If I SELECT * FROM ... WHERE
'social' IN experience AND ... -- it doesn't matter how incredibly
well every other aspect matches: if 'social' is *NOT* among the
'experience' set, the row will be entirely and totally discarded no
matter what.

My best guess is that you, and the people who hired you to post this
job offer, are so incredibly clueless that you placed among the "MUST"
a condiiton that's actually, at best, "very nice to have" -- not
realizing what a HUGE difference that makes to any engineer who
actually thinks and behave like an engineer.

Good luck -- compared to the job offer you SHOULD be posting, you'll
either get a small or mediocre set of candidates, OR people willing to
completely ignore what you CLAIM is an "absolutely MUST have
condition", OR... lie through their teeth. Looks like you deserve each


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