[Chicago] Chicago Digest, Vol 64, Issue 6

Jeremy McMillan aphor at me.com
Fri Dec 3 04:20:18 CET 2010

Hey Pete! Don't get so down.

1) Your example of the sophomore algorithms textbook problem  
absolutely begs looking up the answer. Unless you expect to solve all  
your programming problems locked in a basement with no Internet access  
research skills are very complimentary to raw programming ability. Of  
course, I'm not talking about copying the answer from the back of the  
book, but rather doing a quick survey to measure your own instincts  
against the state of the art and take the better solution.

2) I think a lot of people seem to be defending programming tests at  
an interview. I think your original complaint was that they wanted the  
programming test at the end of a phone interview. I don't think that's  
appropriate unless the job is not a face-to-face job.

3) You really have already convinced yourself, and I think you will  
prevail taking the high road. The "handshake capitalism" is lubricated  
by mutual trust based on the good faith effort all parties can easily  
observe from their counterparts. If someone spends 5 minutes of effort  
to get an hour worth of (silly or not) code from you, then you have  
correctly observed that the hiring company isn't showing you that kind  
of commitment. It's a corollary of the Pig and Chicken story from  
Scrum lore.

4) You could have fun with the programming. Embed some commentary,  
make it funny. There's lots of latitude in variable/class/method names  
and you could turn your Python into a kind of poetry. Maybe I'm on  
crack, or just my 4 year old's mentality is affecting me, but If I  
were you, I'd definitely be dropping some Dr. Seuss-ized code.

On Dec 2, 2010, at 11:20 AM, Peter Fein <pfein at pobox.com> wrote:

> Date: Thu, 02 Dec 2010 09:03:42 -0800
> From: Peter Fein <pfein at pobox.com>
> To: The Chicago Python Users Group <chicago at python.org>
> Subject: Re: [Chicago] Sanity Check
> Message-ID: <4CF7D16E.7010008 at pobox.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> On 12/02/2010 08:35 AM, Jason Huggins wrote:
>> On Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 9:59 AM, Peter Fein<pfein at pobox.com>  wrote:
>>> Hmm, sounds like a case for consulting or a small apps shop...
>> If you don't like "dancing", don't go the consulting route either.  
>> Ask
>> any professional (like lawyers) about the phrases "dog and pony show"
>> and "beauty contest". It'll be an eye-opening conversation. I think
>> it's a universal truth of human behavior: if someone has money, and
>> you want them to give the money to you, they'll probably make you
>> dance for it, first.
> Three cheers for late-stage industrial capitalism! Let's all treat  
> each
> other like shit because the guy with the bigger wallet up the line did
> too... I think I outgrew that sometime in second grade.
> And there's nothing universal about it, though it's certainly dominant
> in America. I prefer "handshake capitalism", the kind you'll find at
> your local bike shop or farmer's market.
> Anyone who wants a top-notch Python coder with four times the  
> experience
> of everyone else you're seeing, you know where to find me. You can  
> keep
> your massages, your car washes and your ball pit, just treat me  
> decently.
>> It appears the 37signals got it right... The only way you can get  
>> away
>> saying "Forget you!" to anyone and everyone all the time (even your
>> customers!) is to run your own small apps shop. Of course, that app
>> has to be so rocking that the number of people who think you're a  
>> dick
>> is outweighed by the number of people who are willing to give you
>> money.
> Sounds better and better all the time... now where's that idea  
> notebook at?
> --Pete

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