Sanding our assholes with 150 grit.

Chief Scientist at Bitly

Yet another shortage of talent, blah blah.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304723304577365700368073674.html

I took exception to this:

> photo caption: Hilary Mason, chief scientist for the URL shortening service Bit.ly, outlines the key skills that data scientists must have.


Scientist? at Bitly?

Yeah, the unique challenges of shortening URLs. It's fucking rocket science!
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 1:00pm
Blah blah load balancing blah blah hashing blah blah unique signatures blah blah captcha.

I don't know what the problem is.
Permalink Bored Bystander 
April 28th, 2012 1:18pm
Not sure if you're with me or against me on this one BB.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 1:22pm
We hear about how software engineering is not engineering, Steve McConnell says it's exactly the same as "laying bricks", something done by commodity unskilled people blindly following directions.

We hear software engineering is not a science, it's not a craft, it's not an art and it's not a profession. It's a low level skill done by "code monkeys".

Somehow though, even though "code monkeys" can make $100,000 a year to start, and up, there's a huge shortage of this unskilled talent!

And now we hear that the hard work of using xor to create a hash is actually the provenience of highly talented PhD "Data Scientists". Since obviously the monkeys will never figure out complex shit like URL shortening, yo.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 1:28pm
Women should be in bed or in the kitchen or mending socks, not opining on software engineering.
Permalink Dr. Horrorwitz 
April 28th, 2012 1:49pm
So, you're finally concluding Steve McConnell is full of shit?

Yeah, I came to that conclusion quite a while ago.  "Code Complete"?  No, I read it, I don't think so.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 28th, 2012 1:50pm
Most of Code Complete is great, but his other books are hit and miss.

He's a major pusher though for the idea that programming = bricklaying.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 1:55pm
And he worked for Microsoft.  'Nuff said.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 28th, 2012 1:57pm
It's why he calls his company "Construx". He tells clients they have solved the uncertainty of software development and reduced it to a repeatable, solid process that doesn't rely on needing special genius talent. Just follow processes and everything will go fine with no problem. The process is important, not the people. Coders are interchangeable.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 1:59pm
Idiot, I'm with you. I don't get it either. The only technical problem of any depth I can see with Bitly is scalability. And that's sort of a well understood science. It's ground that Google trod over 10 years ago.
Permalink Bored Bystander 
April 28th, 2012 2:02pm
If bitly needs more than a single file on more than a single machine (well, OK, one backup machine), they are doing something very, very wrong.

Also when they need more than a single part-time employee.
Permalink Dr. Horrorwitz 
April 28th, 2012 2:21pm
But they need a chief scientist.

I'm giving them a lot of leeway to have complex needs. You know more about this particular area of internet services than I do, though.
Permalink Bored Bystander 
April 28th, 2012 2:32pm
DO YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR URL SHORTENING?

BITLY IS THE WORLD LEADER IN URL SHORTENING AND WE'RE HIRING SCIENTISTS!

YOU WILL NEED 10 YEARS EXPERIENCE IN URL SHORTENING.

MUST SPEAK 11 LANGUAGES, BE ABLE TO LIFT 75 POUNDS, PASS A DRUG TEST, OWN YOUR OWN VEHICLE, AND HAVE A PHD FROM EITHER STANFORD, CALTECH, OR MIT.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 2:36pm
CANDIDATES WHOSE DOCTORAL FIELD OF SPECIALTY AND DISSERTATION ARE IN THE FIELD OF URL SHORTENING SPECIFICALLY WILL BE GIVEN TOP CONSIDERATION. HOWEVER, CANDIDATES WITH A PHD IN IP ADDRESS SHORTENING WILL BE CONSIDERED AS WELL.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 2:39pm
PAY: $8/HR, DEPENDING ON BENEFITS. MUST OWN LAPTOP AND OWN SERVERS.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 2:39pm
dear bitly, i am presently working at cupcake carousel, across the street from the bitly headquarters where i saw the mimeographed want ad you posted on our community board.

in my work as a cupcake chef, i use a lot of shortening, so i definitely have many years of shortening experience. i am also 5 foot tall.

i also can curse pretty will in both spanish and portugeuse and i own a car, though it is in pretty bad shape.

do i qualify? should i sent in my cv?
Permalink candy date 
April 28th, 2012 2:45pm
DEAR CANDY DATE, THANK YOU FOR YOUR APPLICATION FOR THE POSITION OF CHIEF SCIENTIST AT BITLY INCORPORATED, THE WORLD'S NUMBER ONE SITE FOR URL SHORTENING, WHERE SHORTENING IS OUR PASSION.

WE ENJOY YOUR CUPCAKES FOR LUNCH EVERY WEDNESDAY.

BASED ON YOUR QUALIFICATIONS, YOU ARE HIRED.

HOWEVER, YOUR NAME CANDY DATE DOES NOT BEFIT THE POSITION SO WE ASK YOU CHANGE YOUR LAST NAME TO MASON BECAUSE AS A DATA SCIENTIST MUCH WORK IS SIMILAR TO BRICK LAYING, AND CHANGE YOUR FIRST NAME TO HILARY TO HONOR THE US SECRETARY OF STATE BECAUSE BITLY IS AN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS.

THANK YOU AND WELCOME TO BITLY.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 2:49pm
dear bitly,

thank you so much, this is the happiest day of my life, even more happy than when my jerk of an ex boyfriend drove his car into a tree and got amnesia and forgot all about our so-called relationship, because he was really mean.

i need to take care of some business with my home girls this week so if i could get an advance on my first weeks pay that would be good and i'll be in on tuesday, or wednesday at the latest.

so cool i got the job, any idea how many others applied?
Permalink candy date 
April 28th, 2012 2:52pm
DEAR HILARY,

WE HAD OVER 100,000 APPLICATIONS FROM INDIA, CHINA, SRI LANKA, THE PHILIPPINES, MALAYSIA AND MEXICO. ALL OF THE CANDIDATES HAD PHDS IN URL SHORTENING FROM STANFORD, MIT OR CALTECH. YOU WERE THE ONLY ONE THAT COULD SPEAK ENGLISH AND DID NOT REQUIRE H1B SPONSORSHIP.

LOOKING FORWARD TO INTRODUCING YOU TO THE TEAM ON WEDNESDAY.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 2:54pm
>> Extract from the article: One of the earliest tests for biggish data was applying it to the battlefield. [...] What they found was that just giving bad generals more information didn't make them good generals; they were still bad generals, just better informed.

This reminds me of a story read in a Carl Sagan's book (The Demon-Haunted World), about the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, newly arrived on American shores, enlisted in the Manhattan nuclear weapons Project, and brought face-to-face in the midst of World War 11 with U.S. flag officers.

This guy is a great general, he was told.
What is the definition of a great general? Fermi characteristically asked.
I guess it's a general who's won many consecutive battles.
How many? (Fermi asked again).
After some back and forth, they settled on five.
Still not satisfied, Fermi requests for another information: What fraction of American generals are great?
After some more back and forth, they settled on a few percent.

But imagine, Fermi rejoined, that there is no such thing as a great general, that all armies are equally matched, and that winning a battle is purely a matter of chance. Then the chance of winning one battle is one out of two, or 1/2, two battles l/4, three l/8, four l/16, and five consecutive battles 1/32 -- which is about 3 percent. You would expect a few percent of American generals to win five consecutive battles -- purely by chance. Now, has any of them won ten consecutive battles ...?
Permalink Io 
April 28th, 2012 3:07pm
hahah goof thread.

good story Io.

Worl War 11? did I miss a few ... ? ;-)
Permalink eek 
April 28th, 2012 3:15pm
Who the fuck let that ganddamn know-it-all smart-ass spick in here? Get his worthless ass out of here.
Permalink General MacArthur 
April 28th, 2012 3:18pm
And it's true, she's not wearing much makeup either, is she?
Permalink Heroic Hacker 
April 28th, 2012 3:20pm
Hillary Mason is the Master's degreed assistant professor or CS from a culinary arts school who gave a keynote at pyconf a couplea years back where she was introduced as "Doctor" and didn't both to make the correction, right?

http://www.hilarymason.com/blog/conference-pycon-2011-keynote/

Yeah, that's her. 

Notice in her presentation, she doesn't actually say much of substance.  I mean, it's cool, but what did she say?

Notice the question at the end "I want to hack data, where shold I start?" her answer "just do it."

Yeah, cuz that's helpful too.

NOTE: If someone introduces you in a way that is factually incorrect, it's probably because you were vague on purpose about your qualifications.  As such, you are obligated to correct them, even if it's embarrassing.

But that's just me talking.
Permalink hoyza 
April 28th, 2012 3:29pm
"culinary arts school"

What the fuck, what?

Full disclosure: I assumed she had a PhD in math or CS and was legit, I was just questioning whether a PhD and "scientist" qualifications are needed for URL shortening. And then made a funny story about her really having a background in cooking.

And you are telling me that is actually correct, her background is actually in cooking?
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 3:34pm
I actually wrote a bit of the "candy date" dialog where she was talking about her PhD from culinary school, but then I thought nah, no culinary schools give PhDs, that would make it seem fake.

But her "doctorate" is ACTUALLY from a culinary school and that's her qualification to be a "scientist".

Holy shit!
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 3:36pm
Well we've discussed it before.

I guess somehow I subconsciously remembered all this shit.

I thought I was writing a fictional humor piece.

Jesus H. Christ in a Handbag.

http://www.crazyontap.com/topic.php?TopicId=107079
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 3:38pm
We even talked about the "Scientist" thing.

I swear I didn't remember any of that, just seeing today's Times piece the "scientist at bitly" seemed so weird.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 3:40pm
Well, that was about 1 year ago. Considering you post about 10 subjects per day and discuss at least another 10 (only on COT), that makes about 700 stories. No wonder you're starting to forget some of them.
Permalink Io 
April 28th, 2012 3:47pm
I am not a compulsive TLD registerer but I am a compulsive something else.

Send help.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 4:04pm
By ragging on Ms. Mason, you guys are flirting dangerously close to a click-to-summon event here. When it's happened to me here it feels a bit like summoning C'thulu.
Permalink Bored Bystander 
April 28th, 2012 6:07pm
She didn't show up last time.

She knows her credentials are fake, she'll not show up for analysis.

Click to summon happens only when people have nothing to hide.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 6:23pm
She'd be a decent shag though.
And she'd cook a helluva omelette in the morning too.
Permalink Send private email Dr. Horrorwitz 
April 28th, 2012 6:29pm
This infusion of reality really fucked up what I thought was a fun and lighthearted comedy bit about unrealistic expectations in the hiring practice, above.

BB, can you show me some love? I was thinking you would really like the series of correspondence.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 6:34pm
Data scientist? Fuck.

Actually laughing out loud.
Permalink Shylock 
April 28th, 2012 9:57pm
But now, not laughing. Could be a seriously lucrative scam, if I can find the suckers...

Big Data. The next Cloud.

Fuck.
Permalink Shylock 
April 28th, 2012 9:59pm
Carry on, Idiot. Sorry to rain/piss/jizz on your parade.
Permalink Bored Bystander 
April 28th, 2012 11:47pm
BTW: @Idiot, the series of messages from "DO YOU HAVE A PASSION" to "DEAR HILLARY" was ROTFLMAO hilarious, just so you know. Top notch shit. :)
Permalink Bored Bystander 
April 28th, 2012 11:49pm
Geez BB, come on man, is that all you are going to say?

Am I the only one that finds my own farts aromatic, I mean to say, my own posts hilarious.

Come on now, the bit about how these guys at Bitly got 100,000 applications from Sri Lanka and all of the applicants claimed they had PhDs in "Data Shortening" from Stanford just because it was listed as a requirement, and the Bitly guy is oblivious to the fact that maybe these dudes don't really have "PhDs in Data Shortening from Stanford" but it doesn't matter because there was a secret hidden requirement to be a US resident and not need an H1B that wasn't listed but apparently is the only "warm body" requirement. Come on man, that shit was hilarious, completely true, subtle, and stated in a humorous manner that rivals Dilbert. Right? I was pissing my pants reading it back, don't know how you guys aren't walking around with wet pants right now.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 11:56pm
Cross posted, yay, that's what I was hoping for BB, thanks very much. Was wondering if somehow it wasn't as funny as I thought.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 11:58pm
Honestly, I assume none of the other guys here have a sense of humor, most of this stuff I write only because I know you'll get it.
Permalink Idiot 
April 28th, 2012 11:59pm
BTW, I was happy to see Io's Fermi anecdote because it sounds like this Fermi fellow was as cynical and insightful as BB is.
Permalink Idiot 
April 29th, 2012 12:01am
It's also a good story because if you don't know extremely basic 4th grade level arithmetic, you won't understand it, and so most americans and war generals and MBAs from Harvard won't understand it.
Permalink Idiot 
April 29th, 2012 12:03am
CANDIDATES WITH A PHD IN IP ADDRESS SHORTENING WILL BE CONSIDERED AS WELL.

Jesus Christ, this is like the funniest engineering thread I have read.

We need more funny guys here.
Permalink Idiot 
April 29th, 2012 12:09am
Many years ago there were a number of really funny posters on JoS. I wonder what happened to those guys?

Remember that dude that posted that big thing about writing Factory Factory Factories? I was pissing my pants for days over that one.

Man, where is that link...
Permalink Idiot 
April 29th, 2012 12:12am
Shit that was easy to find, top hit for "factory factory factory".

http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?joel.3.219431.12

Benji Smith is a god damn comic genius. Oh how I miss him.

Fuck Joel for driving these good people away.
Permalink Idiot 
April 29th, 2012 12:14am
Errr... time for me to be one of the chickenshit cowardly 99%.
Permalink Bored Bystander 
April 29th, 2012 1:24am
Sorry, I'm not following that reference.
Permalink Idiot 
April 29th, 2012 1:47am
Idiot, your ALL CAPS posts were hilarious, as BB already said. Hard to compare among them but the "IP shortening" one flew very naturally in the mix :) Must admit that it takes some talent to produce such stuff :)
Permalink Io 
April 29th, 2012 3:41am
Thanks man!

I read that again and it made me fall off my seat again. It's  almost like I didn't write it or was possessed or drunk at the time. After all how can one tickle themselves? Likewise one should not find one's own writing this humorous.

Thinking about this some more though, this is a special event. I mean, how often does the New York Times and not The Onion write a giant long serious article about how URL Shortening is super complex stuff and we have a shortage of enough "scientists" with advanced degrees to understand the nuances and depths of this extremely mathematically based work. I guess I was just restating what the Times was saying!
Permalink Idiot 
April 29th, 2012 4:19am
If you read the article, she says you need 3 key skills, then she only describes 2.
Permalink Bill42x 
April 29th, 2012 7:13am
One thing about the NY Times tech writer, he would never go to the 10th or 8th floor and ask actual programmers what they thought about the subject he was writing about.

I would occasionally call bullshit on some of his stuff, never got an email back.
Permalink Shylock 
April 29th, 2012 7:26am
>> Idiot: It's  almost like I didn't write it or was possessed or drunk at the time.

As far as I'm involved, you can rule out drunk and funny at the same time :P So if you can drink and keep your humor, that's another vein of gold hit on the same strike.

Now about the shortage of "scientists", here's what the article says: "We project a need for 1.5 million additional managers and analysts in the United States who can ask the right questions and consume the results of the analysis of Big Data effectively."
That struck me as seriously retarded on the first pass on the article. If you need 1.5 million workers, you're not doing information processing. You're manufacturing.

Think "speech analysis". It's very, very hard to do it automatically, understandable and reproducible, using a computer. But now, with the advent of cheap work force, you can hire a Chinese "computer". Just shout in your cheap tablet what do you want and one of their 150 million "analysts" will grab your call, hopefully understand what you say and simply type in the needed program for your computer.

Unfortunately this is no comedy, it's what that ugly looking bitch with a PhD in cooking thinks about computers.
Permalink Io 
April 29th, 2012 9:41am
> If you read the article, she says you need 3 key skills, then she only describes 2.

A computer scientist who can't count. LOL.
Permalink Bored Bystander 
April 29th, 2012 2:36pm
>> > If you read the article, she says you need 3 key skills, then she only describes 2.
>A computer scientist who can't count. LOL.

If you have a choice between thinking someone in CoT is a stupid piece of shit and any other opinion.  The person on CoT is a stupid piece of shit is the right one.

The article reads "Hilary Mason, chief scientist for the URL shortening service bit.ly, says a data scientist must have three key skills. "They can take a data set and model it mathematically and UNDERSTAND THE MATH required to build those models; they can actually do that, which means they have the ENGINEERING SKILLS…and finally they are someone who can FIND INSIGHTS AND TELL STORIES from their data. That means asking the right questions, and that is usually the hardest piece."

1. UNDERSTAND THE MATH
2. ENGINEERING SKILLS
3. FIND INSIGHTS AND TELL STORIES

3 skills.  COT is for teh stupid.
Permalink Send private email lemonhead 
April 29th, 2012 5:36pm
The truly intelligent can learn from anyone.

It's only the middling intelligent that feel it necessary to make themselves feel better, by condemning those less intelligent than themselves.

Eventually, they wind up condemning those more intelligent than themselves too, because they can't tell the difference.  But then, they don't know that either.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 29th, 2012 10:27pm
I can see why you would be strongly opposed to condemning stupid people STH.
Permalink Send private email lemonhead 
April 29th, 2012 10:41pm
It's just the right thing to do.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 29th, 2012 10:45pm
How do you know all these things, Stubble?

Think you're cleverer than us??
Permalink Dr. Horrorwitz 
April 30th, 2012 6:08am
No, just kinder.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 30th, 2012 8:08am
>2. ENGINEERING SKILLS

This is a single skill?!
Permalink Send private email Honu 
April 30th, 2012 8:09am

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