People are, after all, people

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, January 04, 2007 at 06:30 AM with 0 comments

Since I started my business, Dunkirk Systems, over two years ago, I have saved just about every email message I send or receive. This is now a good thing, due to the recent Supreme Court ruling on email, but I digress. In order to manage the volume of messages, a detailed hierarchy of folders and subfolders has evolved in my email client, and for the most part has worked well, allowing me to easily browse or search messages.

There is one folder in particular that has been burgeoning, the one named “networking.” In this folder I place emails exchanged with people I have met at networking events or frequently communicate with, but who are not a client, potential client, vendor, etc. I had a couple of subfolders in there, but for the most part it was one big bucket of messages to people.

Yesterday, I renamed the “networking” folder to “people” and setup a few initial subfolders for specific individuals as well as events and conferences. I thought to do this shortly after I wrote my last post about how a job candidate is a person, as I was dragging emails into the big bucket.

Over time, I will go through the thousands of emails and classify them further. Why? It will be a good refresher to some of the people that I have met as I have started and evolved my business, and remind me of people that I may want to reconnect with. Going forward, I hope it will help me in keeping connected with people.

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They are human, so I told the recruiter

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 at 12:19 PM with 2 comments

I have been fortunate to work with some excellent programmers, developers and designers in my career. As a result of this cadre of colleagues, I am frequently called upon to give a recommendation on their behalf to a potential future employer. Where I am always willing to spend the time required to extol his or her virtues, I have to admit that I am partially biting my lip when I get the call.

As the years have gone by and technology has progressed, the questions, unfortunately, have remained the same. These questions tend to be direct, and the person on the other end of the phone is looking for a direct, to-the-point response. A call always starts well, asking my relationship with the candidate. On occasion they ask about me, which I think is a plus. Then come the predictable trio – what are their strengths, their weaknesses and would you work with them again. The first part is easy, as I roll out the words I prepared to say when the candidate initially asked me for the recommendation.

When it comes to weaknesses, I have always struggled here. I would never give a recommendation to anyone who I feel does not deserve it. I have never received a “blind” call, or one I was not expecting, as I have told my colleagues to ask me first, so I am prepared for it. When I hear the word weaknesses, I perceive this is the recruiter asking for a reason for the company not to hire this candidate – maybe it’s in the tone or inflection of their voice.

I have a new answer to this question, “they are human.” I say it, and then I pause. Sometimes I get a chuckle on the other end of the phone, many times dead air. I then continue by saying that I would never give a recommendation for anyone that I felt did not deserve it, and that nobody is a 100% perfect match for any job, or 100% every single day. Many times I get, “fair enough” and on occasion they press me more, but I hold my position. And by this answer, you can guess my answer to if I will work with them again.

I cannot recall a recruiter ask me for specific examples of a scenario and how it played out, or ask how the person would react to a certain situation. They may not be looking for that kind of information, and calling me is more of a "spaghetti test" or courtesy than a means for gaining insight into this person. Maybe it is just my expectation of what I want to know from a candidate, such as what they read, how they keep up on the industry, etc. for you are hiring a human and not just what they will do for you.

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Communication and Resolution

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, January 02, 2007 at 11:45 AM with 5 comments

I have chosen the beginning of the new year to launch my personal blog. As a small business owner/entrepreneur and Internet consultant, I plan to use this forum to comment on the state of the business world that I am in. As well, the category of "diversions" will be to comment on other observations I make on events and activities around me, many of which will relate in some way to business or technology.

This is the culmination of an idea I have had for a while. I bought the domain name a while back, and am glad to see it come alive! As you can infer by the name, it relates to the term "strike while the iron is hot" and I hope to live up to it.

Function over Form

If you are reading this at, then you may notice it is not the most dynamic of design, and this is for a reason. I decided to go live with a functioning site, complete with minimal branding and the RSS feed link, using the default template from the software that powers the blog, ExpressionEngine, with a few slight modifications. In time, it will look prettier while not distracting from its function.

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