Author Archive

Don’t hire anyone, ever

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Bullshit backstory bit, skip down if you want

The dayjob is about three years old this month. It’s been going well, I think. Doubling in revenue year on year.

I work for myself, pay myself a basic wage and that’s it. I get to buy nice work related toys now of course. I’ve turned down more work opportunities in the past year than took on, many times because I can and don’t want to but some because I just don’t have capacity even when I do want to. That bit sucks but I still get to work on great things. Even though I mostly work seven days a week (which when you enjoy what you do, isn’t too taxing) and long hours, I still have missed some projects which would have been fun.

About two years ago I started thinking I needed to hire people. Doubling every year is a nice growth rate but you can’t do that on your own forever. I’ve reached that impasse about now, unless I increase my prices. So two years ago I was looking around and being the type that doesn’t forgive mistakes easily, found it hard to find the right people. Personality wise and experience wise.

An additional slight backstory is that I was a teamlead in a previous job and people management is not for me. I like to just ask people to do things and let them do their thing while I do mine. How are you today, is there anything I can do to make your job easier, I knew you had a hangover and skipped work but HR rules state instead that I have to see can we work together so this doesn’t happen again. Fuck that.

Finding the right people
Back to the main bit of meandering. So I looked at this for a while but work got in the way of looking more into the idea of hiring people. In the past 12 months again as I saw where turnover was going I knew again that if I want to grow the company more, I needed to hire people.

Going past just you
When I talked to a lot of business people, well experienced ones, they all said this: “Damien Mulley can’t scale so what are you going to do?” Back to looking for good people. When you run your company your own way, it’s a mess, full of odd routines and illogical organisation methods so anyone that comes on board will need slight deconstruction of their persona and then rebuilding back up.

So there were things I could do:
* document the way the company works
* build systems and automate them as much as possible
* hire someone to learn these systems
* hire in people that were good with people and have them hire the workers and keep them away from me

This is why a little while back I started looking at the Myers Briggs tests. Find the first fulltime hire and have them being a good match with my personality. Which apparently says I have the same personality as the great dictators. So someone that can put up with that is what is needed and is good mentoring others.

Don’t hire anyone, ever
While this was going on, I used to say this to every business owner I met. Without exception they all told me that employees were the bane of their lives and things would be so much simpler without them. One person that owned a multi-million euro company had 80 staff and said they broke his heart, another said she wished she kept the company at 3 people and that was it because for every new employee, the company made less per person and brought with it more personal drama. It was accepted that employees were a necessity to scale but I was forewarned by many that they would change what I do and change the company too.

Digital will scale?
I’ve been using contractors for various work bits and bobs and for clients I send them straight out to others when they ask me to do certain services (Web dev, web design, marketing campaign supervision, status updates etc.) All these services need people though and it looks like I’ll be avoiding that now. So how to scale?

It has to be digital, right? I’m working on a few web services (me bitching about finding Irish web devs to build it is another post) that will aid the company in scaling up and luckily I’ve calmed work down for the past few weeks and have time to draw out on A4 pages on what these services can do. Still, ironically, getting this right seems to be as taxing as finding that unique special snowflake employee type but I can get away with not wearing pants in the office with this digital employee. Sorry, I went there.

Now this is just me who works in a very personality driven company. I know other business people who love the company of their employees and see them as a big family. It’s not you, it’s me and I have the utmost respect for people like that.

Anyway, it’s been an interesting 3 years and we’ll see who the work in progress goes for year 4.

This video has everything to do with nothing:

Fluffy Links – Sunday August 14th 2011

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Some Madmen staffers are giving a Screen Training Ireland course in Dublin on TV series concept development.

Love this Terminator account on Twitter, looking for Sarah Conner.

Take a penny, leave a penny. Never heard of this concept before, interesting how it works and is culturally locked in, it seems.

What Google sees as bad words. I could add a whole lot more.

Mark Rothco, his post suicide legacy on his family.

Sky Ferreira – Animal (Miike Snow Cover) (Via Derek from Phantom)

Fluffy Links – Wednesday August 10th 2011

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Get 20% off a Beckett play (All That Fall) from Panpan by paying with a tweet. August 22nd to 2nd September.

Aoife did a masterclass in chocolate making. Nyom nyom nyom.

Really interesting data on apps and how more money is being made from “free” apps than premium apps. Applies to services too, I should think.

MCD Digital Marketing role. Interesting.

Dermot Casey did a fundraiser for staying off social media. Probably needed an evangelist there still though to get attention!

iGap is back, year three of mentoring for web companies. Seems to be a lot of focus on gaming now because that’s the next big thing. Yeah. Least it’s not middleware.

Free employee sponsored by Vodafone for your charitable org, apply here.

Toddla T – Watch me dance

Bringing back the blogging mojo

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

I’ve been so busy with work the past year that the blog, what was the number one thing in my life when I was a total saddo, has suffered. Not just the blog though, creativity as such has generally suffered. In the past few weeks I had enough free time to start blogging again but I didn’t really have any grá to do so.

A factor definitely is I’m still in wind down mode but the lack of “creative” writing for months probably has made it harder to start typing nonsense again. The past few months, all typing has been around meetings, scheduling talks and so on so that maybe is what the brain associates with it now.

So how does one get back to writing for fun and getting something out there? There are some cheats or shortcuts that are working for me right now.

A trickle helps
The fluffy links, irregular as they are still at least make me feel less guilty. The body of the blog is still warm, were it dormant for months, I’d probably move on completely. Twitter in a way probably promotes this let the fucker die mentality as the bits you could trickle out on the blog are fine for Twitter.

Mix and match little bits
When I started, a bit like Fluffy Links, I’d link to something and add a comment. I’ve started to do that. A quote from a movie (such as The Killing) and a music video you recently watched. Maybe it doesn’t have you writing profusely but it has you thinking and considering.

Easier bits – Interviews
I’m in the middle of emailing people questions and collating answers about a few topics. Banging out some questions on a topic, sending it to others and soliciting their opinion is easy enough to do. A bit of processing of the data, presentation and packaging and you have good enough content without writing a while tome. When you’re done, you have a reward. A small accomplishment but a good one nonetheless.

Go down that rabbit hole
Finding and learning is a reward. On the Kubrick theme, I watched Barry Lyndon this week and a tune from it was very familiar and I didn’t know why. Why did I know this? The Chieftains, Mná na hÉireann.

And when I Googled that I found out the Christians used it as the backing track to their song “Words”. But it got me looking at music by Seán O Riada which sprung to something else to something else and now a complete and total clatter of topics and ideas are swirling around. That’s how you get new cocktail combinations or new food combinations. By the way, Peanut and Celery soup is beyond divine. Rhubarb gin and tonics are the bomb too.

Get the “inspired” bit in the brain going
I think the part of the brain that does the “ah ha” bits when you are blogging and combining these new things together to make something new (and so fires nice neurochemicals about), is close to or maybe is at the same part of the brain that goes “wow” when experiencing new relevations from a book or documentary. It’s slightly artificial but maybe to get yourself going, you can kickstart things.

With that in mind, I installed the TED iPad app and started watching some random TED lectures, areas I might not be interested in. Algorithms, I despised maths, yet that TED talk was fascinating and all kinds of sci fi esque ideas came to mind from it. They’re gutting buildings in New York to fill with servers to tilt the stockmarket, they’re going to build islands in the middle of oceans to allow software programmes to be more efficient? We are overlords to pieces of math now? Wow. A robot bird that flies like a real bird? Wow again. And off we go writing.

You can then always log and describe the process that got you to your current destination. Which is what his post is about. Oh look: Log. Weblog. Blog. And all of a sudden you have lots of words and freed lots of different ideas into one space. No matter the grammar or the structure for now. You can get back to that later. Now in the middle of writing that experience you seem to have come up with a few other ideas or tangents that could make it into another few posts.

Done. Not sure am I back as yet but I’ve started.

Billie Jean

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Billie Jean by Aloe Blacc & The Grand Scheme

The perfect mediocrity

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

The Killing:

You have not yet learned that in life you have to be like everyone else. The perfect mediocrity; no better, no worse. Individuality is a monster and it must be strangled in its cradle to make our friends feel confident. You know, I have often thought that gangsters and artists are the same in the eyes of the masses. They are admired and hero-worshipped, but there is always present an underlying wish to see them destroyed at the peak of their glory.

Via Jim

Fluffy Links – July 30th 2011

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Declan Burke, or as we know him: Declan Burke, has a new book out called Absolute Zero Cool.

Digital subscriptions for the FT are the main growth area for them. Kind of makes sense. Good content seems to get subscriptions.

Aww, kid gets lost at a conference, goes straight to a superhero for help.

Angel Tube station has a thought of the day on their notice board and now it goes online.

A flying unmanned drone that can crack into your wifi or mobile. William Gibson will love it.

A few ways to simplify sign-ups/forms.

Colours – Grouplove

Fluffy Links – Sunday July 10th 2011

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

The network defeats the hierarchy.

Brian O’Driscoll. His brand and how he protects it. Absolutely compelling piece from MKC about BOD’s sponsorships. You again have more respect for the man after reading it. are giving away 1 Total Google Adwords Account Optimisation every 2 weeks for a limited period.

From the people that brought us Cava in Galway is Aniar. Looks good. Missed out on getting to it the other night.

Percolate. Nice idea to filter links from Twitter etc into easy reading.

Onesheet, the new MySpace, the new SoundCloud?

At last, Blair is blunt about Gordon Brown killing New Labour. We’ll forget the Iraq lies though…

Deaf Dogs trained in sign language.

Fluffy Links – Sunday July 3rd 2011

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

Róisín Dubh is an original 3-issue comic book series out in Ireland right now.

And on comics. Irish Comic News.

Some great music to check out from Cian Nugent.

I’m fascinated by Amazon, a company that seems very switched on to what they’re doing and have built a lot of new technology to do what needs to be done to push themselves forward. You rarely hear of anyone bar Bezos and Wogels their tech guy but there has to be a whole ship of clever people in there. Here I like this interview with Bezos about trying things out and learning what happens. Thinking ahead 6-7 years as well is fascinating.

Hacking Gamification. Presentation from Kleiner Perkins on Gamification. While the g word is totally abused these days, it’s still worth looking at for all startups.

Colourmusic – Yes

Via Suzy, The Others

“The Others” from Laura Maye on Vimeo.

Fluffy Links – Friday July 1st 2011

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Robot Flaneur. Tune into a city via Google Streetview. Randomly be transported to another part of the city to discover.

Mangina Jones doing two shows in Project Arts next month.

News/media. Flow and stock ideas.

Congrats to who got 1.1M visitors in Q2 2011. Hard slog is worth it.

Twitter for newsrooms. Handy resource.

Violent video games are free speech in California. Sex is not.

Vodafone has commissioned the Vodafone Collective @ Live at the Marquee and this video has someone doing a painting, on a model.