Monday, July 26, 2010

The Bait and Switch Job (Why I Quit A.O.L.)

Back in 2006 I worked for AOL in Mountain View, CA. In one sense I felt like I was at the top of my game professionally, but the experience of working there made me feel like I had hit bottom. The work I was doing was good, I got to redesign a mission critical product, But all the external factors to work were horrible. Quite simply, I landed a bait & switch job. First I was hired to work on one project, a music player, that project got killed. I was also told I got to work from home twice a week (my commute was horrible), this "deal" also got thrown out with no explanation. OK so perhaps these are petty reasons to quit a company. Both my managers were experts at taking free vacation time as much as they could. It was really hard to get the product team at AOL to weigh-in on my design work, they wanted my boss' input on my work... but Mike & Bill were always MIA. I have never seen so much cronyism as I have at AOL. It was a very strange place to work as a female too. The favoritism, friends of the boss getting whatever they wanted, a true legal liability.  The BEST part of this set-up was that it was a set-up...  My boss Mike was setting me up to look bad, I guess because it probably made him feel better about himself.  I actually considered a lawsuit. But I'm not a lawsuit person so I quit instead.

Today I very happily work for myself.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Where Do I Get my News?

Where do I get my news from? When I'm not too busy I'll scan the Washington Post (first, since it's the best US paper) and then I'll scan NYT. We are always scanning the BBC radio, or the BBC website. I have BBC, NPR, and Huffington Post apps on my iPad and I was scanning all the news from the apps during my commute. I am now totally convinced that smart phones and mobile devices like the iPad are MADE for commuters. For laughs I'll go to or Just to see how Californians are screwing themselves.

I am not into TV news but I'll occasionally tune into Mad Money,  BBC, or Fox news (because CNN sucks right now). I'll watch 60 minutes if they have an interesting story (I do love Andy Rooney). Thinking more, I read magazines but not that much since I'm too cheap to actually buy magazines nowadays. I'd rather buy a latte than Time. I will start getting more magazines on my iPad though.

As far as I'm concerned the BBC is the best English language news source, period.
BBC is the no bullshit, no nonsense source for unbiased news.

I've overheard a lawyer/fancier from First Round Capital remark that the Wall Street Journal is the "only news worth reading". This is part of the reason I think law & finance people are so out of touch... The WSJ is extremely conservative and elitist. It's also expensive, kinda like a Rolex of newspapers. Nice to have but the cost doesn't justify it's existence, and it's designed to makes their subscribers feel better about themselves.

Of course there are the blogs... I read some awesome finance blogs. When I need to remind myself that the real estate market is loaded with bullshit I'll read John Burns Real estate consulting, which tells some truth. When I need to remind myself how abusive most of our culture is I enjoy this alternative culture blog. When I'm not too busy I'll read my friend's excellent blog or facebook posts. Some of my friends like Suja R. are always sharing something very interesting. Mark Hurst's Good Experience blog  is a fabulous source of UX design insight. Overall I am very open to everything so I like to try out new blogs & news sources all the time. When I spot BS, is when I tune out.