Re: Human nature
I would be most grateful for a pointer to the comparison you mention (US / DE litigation rates)!
55 posts • joined 1 Dec 2015
Speaking as a colonial boy (with not-inconsiderable ties to Blighty) who has spent the past 8 and some-odd years in Germany, I have to agree with you for the most part (European 'project' aside - that is a separate beer discussion).
This mindnumbingly inward obsession with "ze Nazis" and "how we beat the stuffing out of the Evil Huns" is somewhere around 50-60 years due for retirement. My experience of the Germans is that they are a pretty decent lot, with occasional scattered showers of rightwing idiots. My wife is German and loves Fawlty Towers - the episode in question causes no offence (if anything, it raises a good chuckle every time). What does cause offence is the grinding obsession that some seem to have with the tired cliche of "German = Nazi".
We speak a mixture of English and German (aka "Denglisch") and regularly pillory each other on matters linguistic. Not to mention "ze bat puns" .. (say that with obligtaory faux Hun accent).
Rant rave witter ... mürmel ...
Now, consider "Dinner for One" - an absolute staple every year around Christmas. Never in German, only ever in the original English. Some Nazis ...
Happily, I also lived in Blighty for six years or so, so know well that the idiot tendencies are not typical of most Blightians :-)
(Can I say "colonial boy" without offending? Just asking .... heh heh ...)
Had that about 3 years back when looking at a contract gig. They were utterly nonplussed when I responded with "Firstly, no. Secondly, no, and finally ... no. Thanks for the interest shown but I must decline the offer. If you truly have reason to consider me a sociopath or other sort of danger to squirrels and little old ladies, at least have the backbone to say so. Yes, yes, I know this will probably harm my future prospects ... ".
No, no working with vulnerable individuals, no SC-related gumpf, no sensitive fin data ...
Not all tech companies, and I would surmise probably not the majority either (although you are quite right in suspecting that waaaaaaaay too many have formed and folded on the back of vapourware of one form or another).
What I can say from personal experience and approach is that the angel and VC circuits are way tougher than they used to be. Dotcom handouts just don't happen much anymore. I/we have done things the longer, harder way (concept, invention, proof of concept, translation into commercially-viable MVP ... and THEN some networking and panhandling. Taken a while to get to this stage, but we now have investors hungry to get onboard BECAUSE we have someting tangible and provably what it says it is.
Of course VC is high risk ... if it wasn't, the more conservative institutions would be all over investing in or loaning money to startups.
And kids? Yeah ... there are PLENTY of them. But I grant them this - they're almost all bright little buggers. I am somewhat older than the median of the startup pack - hmm - maybe that has a little to do with my/our refusal to go panhandling with some vague tho sexy-sounding concept.
I think you'll find there is little stupid VC out there ... sure, there is some, but the majority has wised up considerably. At least it has in Canada (which is where my little thing has taken root). South of the border, it's a pretty serious game too. I cannot speak for the rest of the world - I've only had experience of London (the real one ... GMT etc etc), and the West Coast of Canada, and a little of the US scene.
Startup World is a seriously hard place to be ... well, certainly if you take the whole process seriously and are not trying to scam 7 or 8 figures to Get Rich-ish Quick.
Your closing sentence is pretty much what VCs do. It's betting. The clever ones bet more winners than losers. But even great tech sometimes just ... doesn't make it.
I am of course hoping like hell that mine does!
... hard, but must be done!
I scarcely think we would expect to find an economically "poor" fella* in the IT sector. That said, it is fair to argue that a successful contract resource is likely to have a few more pennies to toss about than a middle-of-the-road permie ... in most cases.
All this notwithstanding, I detect a sniff of your basic green-eyed monster in your comments (first para.). Please be advised that we are ALL entitled to pay the very least in tax as allowed by the law. It is not yet illegal to correctly apply tax laws so as to minimise your tax burden. Yes, it is quite true that there is greater scope for the self-employed than for the formally employed ... along with the risks, no vacation pay, no sick leave - need I go on? A moment's thought would raise many of the reasons why this has been so. You are as capable as any to work some of these out ...
Many other commentators have listed the risk factor in self-employment ... it is all very real. Very good contractors DO make a (relative) fortune .. and rightly so. So-so ones make a fair amount, and the crap ones, well, they go under sooner or later (or ... eek! ... go perm to escape the long droughts between gigs).
All I'd suggest is that until you have had the courage to go it alone, pack the green guy back in his or her box, and stop comparing apples with gherkins.
Until HMRC (or whatever tax entities apply to readers in diff'rnt locations) pull their jealous heads out of their bottoms and treat individual contractors as similarly as possible to the Capitas and their ilk out there, this will remain a silly argument between permies and contractors (and wilfully ignorant legislators).
* in fairness, on a perm salary of 60K in London, I defy anyone to not see themselves as relatively poor. In saying that, the reality for many on contracts is that they are little better off financially than the poor sod on 60K if trying to hack it in the Big Smoke.
Hmmm ... I come from a former "Pariah State", and have (happily) never had grief from Merkin CBP dudes when entering the US. The advice to ALWAYS remain polite and to refrain from ad hominem goads to (usually) underpaid and unertrained CBP guys is indeed very, very good advice.
The only semi run-in I ever had was on trying to exit the US at SFO in 1997 ... triggered by an airline dude who did not recognise my residence visa for the UK. Cue over-zealous junior CBP dude ... etc etc ... situation defused by senior CBP officer who slapped junior silly (well, verbally) and waved me on.
I am not a fan of The Donald's approach ... but would suggest that people also consider that not all Merkins are Donald J Trump. Or Sean Spicer or ... There are awesome Merkins, and depressingly crude and dim ones. Same as many places. May be more constructive to visit and commune with the natives than not. But that is only my surmised point of view.
Not conflating the nation, it's leader. the broad populace etc is hard to do, but generally also quite a good idea.
OK, now to hide under ma' rock again!
Unless you're in need of an enabling tool to overcome a disability, WHY O WHY would you want to sound like an oversized dildo and talk to a bloody marketing droid from 'mazon or 'oogle? (or anyone else for dat matter).
Convenience is a kak excuse ... so, try me.
OK, I concede that I come from an era where we made stuff, pondered what we may need (shockingly, AHEAD of time!), and other really stupid stuff. Now you pay someone to send you a droid which then sucks what remains of your privacy, while charging you for the privilege - and pushing crappy tosh at you.
Yay progress, Enjoy kids, I am off to deal with 6 feet of snow and real stuff.
(Oh yeah, got to upvote the comments re voice recognition having worked tolerably well on purely local devices ... w/out the need to phone home!)
Ah yes ... beer ... while there are some passably good microbrewing setups in Canuckland, I will grant you that the base beer options are indeed woefully poorer than Ireland or Scotland! Cheers to that!
On a more serious note, Brexit per se is not the issue (we may be a little principled, but moving ops/asset/IP base simply because of Brexit itself would be a bit stupid) - the specific regulatory environment and related are just better for us in Canada. Not the US, Canada. Opportunistic? Of course.
BTW, I am guessing "counties" was a small slip ;-) ....
Have to agree with you on almost all counts. Winding down my UK operation and moving lock, stock and IP to Canada where there is a touch more promise for us/it. There is no benefit for us specifically in moving to continental Europe (Germany etcetera) - and as over 50% of the body total (six at this stage) are non-EU nationals, there is no real reason to stay. There was, but that has kinda evaporated.
Such is life.
A pragmatic view of protection of information leads to the position that "protection needs to be good enough to ensure a reasonable semblance of privacy, while simultaneously not requiring backdoors or keys lodged with government/other 3rd parties".
Making casual (read "lazy") interrogation of protected information too expensive for use as a default cop-out strikes me as making quite a lot of sense.
As one ot two others have commented, if you truly are An Evil Genius Bent On World Domination, you will give the Feds the slip one way or another ... and if you are a lesser grade of the same, the Feds will be able to nail you in any event. Probably.
Sorry ... my bit turned in to a mini-ramble, but as said at the start AC, your comment is spot-on!
... just a note around a comment from someone on how we service provider/contract wonks should mebbe be negotiating better for sick benefits and holiday. Eh? Say again? Whaaaa...?
Dude (name* escapes me, but it's NOT Lee), seriously, if you are getting benefits of employment factored into your contract, then you are causing the policy and rule wonks at HMRC to have veritable wet dreams. Why? 'cos you are then EXACTLY what they believe all of us to be - in bloody 'disguised employment'. The only difference is that yours is a fixed-term employment engagement with mildly crappier benefits than the perm permies.
So, IMO any external service provider (KPMG, Bob the Builder, Wonks Inc, hell, anyone who is yanked in to do a job then cut loose) ... should provide a service charged at an agreed rate, with agreed mutual responsibilities, and for an agreed timeframe/and/or set of deliverables. No bloody holiday or sick pay or pension or whatever.
If we wanted the security/tedium (pick one) of a perm engagement, we'd bloodywell get perm engagements. Not contract. We take risk. We (ok, some of us) do damned good work. Some of us, of course, do crap work and take the p155. I am, of course, not one of the p155takers (seriously).
I love a good rant in the aftermorning!
*Ah ... 'twas an AC. There. My memory is not as bad as my counsellor said it is. I think. Where was I?
So, Lee, I take it from your comments that you are an ex-contract service provider 'cos you did not quite understand the basic concept of higher risk and higher reward to cover ya for the less sunny stretches between gigs.
Look, we all have moments when the logic shuts down, so I'll work on the assumption that this has happened to you. Fear not, it passes.
Do you seriously feel it reasonable that a permie should see about the same take-home as a contract worker, in exchange for a considerably higher risk-burden and simply non-existent benefits?
If you were from HMRC (Wait! You're not, are you??) I would understand the reasoning glitch. Please tell me you're from HMRC ....
These rules are so bloody stupid that a colleague and I (actually three of us, but the 3rd is a sanity check direcror appointment) have pooled revenue streams and admin to form a non "personal services company". We manage to stay outside IR35 by active management of our efforts, and through collaborative provision of services etcetera. Well, *WE* stay outside IR35, but that has not stopped HMRC from taking a flyer anyway. Rebuffed, so job done for a while.
What's the result here? Well, we're sodding off to an ex-colony to Do Our Thing. Odd bit is they welcome us and go as far as to provide tax breaks to help things along. Who'd've thought?
I feel much better now. Thanks Lee.
$DEITY ... LI was bad enough to start with. While I see the marketing logic in MS's purchase, I cannot see how this at all lends any shred of credibility to LI.
My sad experience of LI has been that if you're a self-aggrandizing type, it probably works for you. Some of us prefer less of LI's BS-meter-popping endorsement and general ra-ra culture.
Bajayzus wept ... I have at least managed to banish W10 to a VM on an external drive, and my LI 'profile' is barest of bare bones and closed to public view. That small bit of stealth will now go away and be Cortana'd to buggery. Time to bow out completely.
ran rant dribble ... Nurse, my meds are late, please do hurry along if you would!
Apple. The Air on which I'm scribbling at the moment has the power button smack top right above the Delete key, on the main keyboard acreage. WTF? I have lost count of the number of times I have absent-mindedly sent the Air into shutdown by brushing the power button ("key") and looking away for a smidge too long. I share your pain.
awwww .... c'mon .... who plugged the downvote there?
Just curious as I didn't go all M$ shrill or Linux-hysterical on anyone. Hell, we have Win, OS X, Linux, iOs and various 'droid flavours in Chez Moi - just the way it is.
Ah well, tea calls (again).
I'm not especially anti-anything, with the sole exception of MS's forced uodate/upgrade crapola. For various annoying reasons (ok, just two) I have had to keep Win running ... (W7 Enterprise). Oddly, after locking it down tighter than a duck's arse, it is stable, never mysteriously updates, and I can even use mobile data without fearing a petabyte-sized slurp. I know this will not last, even with my Baldrickesque machinations to secure the Fortress, but by Harry, it's kept me lean and stable for until now.
Win will continue to exist in Chez Moi, but only on a dedicated and mostly air-gapped device. Oh, and in a VM if I can get that stable and so on.
There. After that refreshing (for me at least) diatribe, I'll have me tea. Non-upgraded.
Bugger me ... just noticed I'm 5 days late to this party! Seems NY's eve was better than expected!
If the company culture is up to maggots, and if management is clueless, well, you can toss any label/system/methodology/whatever about and still be guaranteed to spend n times as much for 1/n of the desired result ... and a solution which isn't.
/returning to my vat of CH2O now/
(subscripting lost, "2" not subscripted as it ought to be!)
Polish a turd and you end up with a shiny* turd.
I think boatloads of us elder duffers have seen all sorts of nonsense come and go over the years. Same crap, different wrappers.
*Actually, you end up with an utter mess, but Management Wonks would have you believe in the shiny outcome.
I'd go with the "WTF?" reaction to 1 Pound = 250g ... that said, if you meander across to Germany, you'll find that a Pound is accepted as 500g. Confused the heck out of me for a long time! Still nowhere near 250g, but is at least a nice, clean integer multiple gets our 250g to 500g. Is there a Hun somewhere, editing reports? (Disclaimer: I am allowed to say that as I am one these days!).
A single malt. Because Paris is indeed lovely.
Second that motion. To be fair to the TLAs, they're just the reflection of society's lack of introspectiion and thought about The Stuff That Really Matters. I, too, grew up in a country where terror and some fairly enthusiastic* surveillance were the order of the day. We just got on with things too.
In fairness, the Huns are even worse with conflicting messages ... "please start your digital business, we want innovation and entrepreneurship here!" fighting with more paperwork than you ever believed possible. And much the same "No, no, everything gets taxed. Twice is better" real incentive to bring you rmoney in.
Just 'kin beggars belief. So it's off to the New World, off to ex-colonies. And half a chance to profit from innovation and entrepreneurship.
No, Ed & Osbo, entrepreneurship is not just a smokescreen for tax evasion. It's 'kin hard work. Idiots.
... while the UK government sings the entrepreneurial song, the realities are that I would be stupid to take my little startup and base it in the UK. Bizarrely, before you lot started tarting about with regulations and attempting to classify absolutely any income/profit generating activity as 'obviously a mechanism to evade tax', the startup climate in the UK was not all that bad. There were better startup environments in other countries, but the UK was still tolerable for those of us with European bases.
So here's the kicker - while my little digital startup will make not a gnat's ballhair's difference to the UK overall, it is currently being welcomed with open arms by an ex-colony. With tax breaks and a boatload of other incentives. Yep ... yep ...
Ed, I'd like to slam you for not having a clue ... but that'd be unfair. The problem is that none of you really have much of a clue (in Government, that is). The ones who do have a clue are sidelined or stored in dark rooms and fed on boiled boots. Or they leave for industry to avoid such a fate.
Made my (greyish) day you did, what with mention of RTL/2! Worked on some RTL/2 bits on an EW system in the 80s - probably 10 years after you did, but still, there's someone else who knows what RTL/2 is, and RSX11 ... *warm fuzzies*.
Thank you. I shall now hide my wrinkles and see where I left off ...
Monday. Bad Punday.
Putin may not be an award-winning Boy Scout, but I have to admit he's at least direct and spends (apparently) very little time hiding behind spin types and obfuscations. 'im wanna monitor, well, 'im does it. In contrast, most of the Western nations hide behind varying degrees and types of Doublspeak while monitoring anyway.
Not sure which is worse. Worth pondering in any event.
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