Archive for February, 2007

Comment talle-vous?

February 23rd, 2007 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

As an aside I thought I’d give a slice of economic life in the digital economy with this post. If I get feedback about fascination with the details of my career search I will continue that commentary. If I don’t, well…, I’ll continue that commentary anyway.

Although not many comments show up on my page, I get about 10 per day. Am I deleting encouraging words from emerging business leaders, heavens no! I am deleting commment spam. What is comment spam and how did it come about you ask? Great question, for the answer, read on…

As the Smith School is well aware we are living in a digital economy. Which means… what exactly you might ask? Well, it means quite a few things, but one of the main things it means is that more people spend more time on the internet. And, they buy things there. Now let’s try a little scenario. You are a person and you want to buy something on the internet, but you don’t know how to find it. Where do you go? Google, correct.

Let’s try another scenario. You are a person and you want to sell something on the internet and you know where consumers will go to look for your product (see first scenario), but you’ve got a big problem. When they search for your product, they get your website and a bunch of other websites and (gasp!) you’re not first on the list. You’re probably not even on the first page! And here are two things you know about people who buy you’re product:

1. They don’t know you that well
2. They’re lazy

So… you have to get to the top of that list! How, you ask? Great question. Many tech firms are doing their best to answer it in a line of business called “internet search optimization,” read: “We help you get to the top of the Google list.”

These are great folks I’m sure, but they have a thoroughly unenviable task. Their job is to outsmart the guys at Google. If this doesn’t seem difficult I can just briefly demonstrate how talented these people are. They have invented a way to practically access the majority of available information on the internet. Think about that for a second. I made a webpage on college for an english course that I updated maybe twice. I found it easily using their search engine.

(I just took a break to delete another comment spam)

Google has an algorithm, we’ll think about it as an equation for the purposes of simplicity. Start with y=mx + b, the equation for a straight line, where

y=where your site shows up on their search engine
m=some constant
b=some constant
x=some variable relating to your website

However, in Google’s case their are many x’s related to the equation. So the “search optimization” people’s business is finding which x’s have the biggest m’s. Essentially which things about your site move you up their list the fastest. These firms discovered that one of the biggest things was that if your site is linked to by another site like this:

Then you (Google) move up towards the top of the list. So now that you have this knowledge put yourself in the shoes of the company looking to sell things. You now have a new question, “How do I get people to link to my page on their site?” Good question, here’s one way to do it. Send bloggers comment spam.

Advertisers have developed programs that crawl all the major blog sites and send them comments that make some arbitrary statement and then list a bunch of links to sites to buy their products. For every blitz these crawlers make they get a certain number of blogs that don’t have comment moderators or accept their comments and then they move up the Google ladder just a bit.

I may have just posted this for the sheer irony that will result when I get comment spam to the post, but I also find it an interesting economic development in the digital economy. More later…


Follow- …oops

February 19th, 2007 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Hello again. Sorry for the hiatus, during which I did many a job-search related thing, but am still on the hunt. I have had some promising game, but the strength of the trail has varied widely during the process. I ended my last post with the statement that I would begin to talk about following up on interviews with my next Hiatus and update. So here you are…

Communication is prone to breaking down and not always in a straightforward, I am not listening to you Cool Hand Luke kind of way. And as it breaks down follow up letters can get increasingly forced and bizarre. However, this is only a select few. The majority of letters fall into three categories, which kind of ring like the first sentence of a postcard.

Remember me?
This letter is by far the most common. It is very straightforward. When I meet recruiters or representative employees from firms I attempt to do a lot of the things I talked about in my conference post, but after that my main aim is to focus on some deliverable, ideally my resume if they do not have it already, that I can send to them along with this letter, which basically reads as follows…

Dear Person,

I enjoyed meeting you at the place we met and discussing the things we talked about. I have provided the thing I said I was going to provide for your review.


The Person that wrote this letter (me)

See you soon?
This letter is for interview follow ups. It is also very straightforward and references the items of interest from the interview. Its form and purpose are quite consistent. I am thanking the individual for his or her time and providing them with a convienent means to reach out to me if they have any questions or would like to offer me career advice, glowing adoration or just a job.

Checkin’ in to see how you are…
These are a little bizarre. They are quite common, but can vary a little bit because of one essential, but nasty element, things outside of both of our fields of influence. The majority of the people that I send these letters to have not contacted me in at least a week and we are discussing a job that they, for one reason or another, are not in a position to offer. Usually the cannot offer me the position because they work in the group in which the position rests, but do not make hiring decisions.

The part that makes these letters strange is that the element that makes the job possible varies widely between positions. In some cases it is simply time, in others it is their boss. These two are the most common. Others that are a bit off the beaten path have been: vacation, another employee that is not their boss. For some reason the obscure ones are escaping me at the moment or never happened, anyway… some of the responses can be a bit labored because I attempt to frame the inconvenient external situation in some nice way, which usually leads to the use of wonderfully passive and detached imagery words like flow, develop and evolve.

These words bring to mind a budding flower, which is a much nicer image than someone in staffing coming over and saying, “Ok, interview these people now.” Anyway, if someone got a nice nature image while reading one of these emails, more the better.

¬†More later…