March 26, 2003

Unintended Advertisement

Apparently some "sponsored matches" are bought on a parameterized basis. When a user searches for $something, the ad code constructs an ad based on a template that replaces $something where appropriate.

Sometimes, however, that can lead to unfortunate messages. Take, for example, the image on the right. (Click for a large version.) By searching Yahoo for "shit", you get a mySimon Sponsored Match that begins with "Shit on mySimon." It then goes on to extol the values of comparison shopping.


No, I wasn't searching for shit. I'm often looking for shit on-line, but rarely am I literally looking for shit. Someone noticed this at work and simply had to tell the rest of us about it (as you can imagine).

Update: Kalyan notes that "pee" and "puke" also provide some entertaining matches.

Posted by jzawodn at 05:54 PM

Parking Spaces

Damn. Apparently we've hired enough people in the last 6-9 months that it's hard to find a parking spot one those occasions when I get to work late.

I really hadn't expected to drive all over the parking lot looking. I guess this will motivate me to stick to my relatively early schedule.


It's too bad I don't have my own parking spot anymore. :-(

Posted by jzawodn at 11:34 AM

Gruntle Abounds

Driving home late last night from a meeting about an undisclosed topic at an undisclosed placed with a small group of undisclosed people, I started to realize how annoyed I am about my current work situation. Then, I got home and read about Craig's frustration. I thought, "wow, that's timely." Apparently neither one of us are terribly happy right now.

The first and only time I met Craig, we had lunch together right around the time that he was getting Deersoft rolling. Seems like just the other day. He was happy about life, excited about building his new company and their flagship product. After that lunch, I knew good things were in store for him. He was doing the right thing at the right time.

Now that he's been working for Network Associates for a while (they acquired Deersoft a while back), he's increasingly frustrated and annoyed by the environment, politics, and scale of a large organization.

I suspect that what Craig needs to do is get out of NA and take a break. A small one. During that time, he'll figure out what to attack next. He just struck me as the kind of person Silicon Valley needs--the tech entrepreneur with a passion for his idea, product, and potential customers. Working at NA really doesn't allow him to be himself. He's a round peg in a square hole. He's not doing what he'd hoped to be doing. Probably not by a long shot.

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with me. In a way, I'm in the same boat. Roughly 4 months ago, I left the job I had been doing for 3 years to move into a different group.

The motivation for doing this was really two fold. First, having been doing mostly the same work in the same group for a while, it was time for a change of pace. New people, ideas, systems, and so on. The second motivation had to do with my own evolution. In the months and weeks leading up to the switch, I had been spending a fair amount of my time working with other groups at the company. They'd come to me for consulting, support, Q&A, and tuning advice for MySQL. In fact, I'd developed a reputation for knowing a bit about MySQL and made it clear that I enjoyed with it and wanted to continue doing so. The folks in Y! Finance were kind enough to let me do this, since it was clearly good for the company while also being good for me.

One of the people involved in convincing me to make the switch to Y! Search told me on a few occasions that the group I'd be moving into "could really use your MySQL expertise" (or something very close to that). That, along with the whole change of scenery/people/etc sealed the deal for me. A new job where I'm "recruited" partly because of the fun I have with MySQL and told there'd be lots more of it. Great.

That was the theory at least. We all know that in theory, practice and theory are the same. But in practice, they're not.

Here we are four months later. As I've looked back over the time, I've thought about the projects I've actually worked on. The other groups I've worked with. The time I've spent doing various things. In the end I realized that little has changed. I'm still using more of my "MySQL expertise" with groups other than my own. I'm still doing the same old support, consulting, troubleshooting, and tuning for other groups that I used to do. The truly MySQL-specific stuff that I've encountered in my new job hasn't been that substantial at all. Aside from the recent full-text search stuff, I really can't think of anything notable.

It's clear to me that as a whole, the company needs my passion for MySQL. And a lot of folks know this. We're using it all over the place and it's continuing to grow.. But the job I'm currently in really doesn't. The job I was doing in Finance probably made more use of it, now that I think about it.

I could get into specifics, but it really wouldn't add much to this one-sided discussion. And, given my luck, it'd just end up pissing off the wrong people anyway.

So where does this leave me? Was I the victim of a bait-and-switch routine? Or maybe the "sales pitch" I got last year was simply a best guess of what they thought they wanted and/or needed at the time? It's hard to say.


Writing about this has helped to clarify things for myself. Craig's post partly got the ball rolling, as did the undisclosed meeting.

I supposed the next step is to figure out who to talk with about this. There are a few other factors involved--very recent development, but they are more speculation at this point. I really don't know what they'll lead to. Perhaps I need to try accelerating that process, if I can.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:53 AM


I've been meaning to write about procrastination for a while now, but I've kept putting it off. Seriously.

This morning, Russell's post prompted me to finally do it. The great thing is that I don't need to do much more than refer you to his post and say "me too."

I can total sympathize with Russell, Joel, and Jim.

Not that I'm happy about it, of course. But at least I know I'm not the only one.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:09 AM