All posts by bobjudeferrante

Bob Jude Ferrante is a software designer, entrepreneur, musician, composer, poet, teacher, and general troublemaker who thinks human beings are limitless. Or can be. But we have to prove it.

software: define, align, make it great & succeed

Cereboom (n.):
the 21st century way to manage your People Journey.

  • Measure & manage culture, process, revenue, & success
  • No intrusive surveys
  • Great dashboards and easy to view reports
Cereboom integrates with:
  • your hiring markets (Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, Hired,
  • your ERPs (ServiceNow, SAP, Great Plains, MS Dynamics, Oracle)
  • your people: Execs, HR, Managers, Staff
  • your knowledge management systems
  • your CRMs
World class support. Always.
  • Real people to help
  • Text chat and screen sharing
  • brain science

    Here we’re talking about the latest studies, ideas, prizes, initiatives in brain science and cognition.

    This includes scientific studies and papers, articles, theories, findings, etc.

    The attempt here is to bring the latest news in this exciting area, and to provide a place to actively share on and comment on what’s happening, and to be brief and to the point about it.

    We welcome new contributors at any time. Simply comment on this post telling pointing to info about you – your website, email contact info, however we can reach you.

    solve your training problem with software

    I’m a software designer and manager of people by trade, and a trainer by necessity.

    I want to solve a problem we managers have.

    The Problem

    I hire new developers to work on our software products. My approach is “hire for talent, not skills.” E.g., I hire based on raw talent and engineering, without caring much about their “previous skills” in particular computer languages, operating systems or particular technologies. So I hire future engineering geniuses, and working for us, they gain specific skills in languages and technologies while working on our team and eventually become brilliant, productive, creative developers working on our products.

    So how do we get them productive? We train them. We show them how to debug JavaScript, and how to code SQL, and how to use SVN to commit changes to our code, and our tools and methods for functional and unit testing – which are always going to be different than other companies codes, methods, processes, etc.

    After years of this, I’ve got a basic metric. It takes 12-18 months to get a new developer fully productive. During that time we’re paying them a salary and benefits, and it’s taking more effort from other staff and me to get up to speed – by far – than they’re returning to us in ideas and quality code. We’re fixing the bugs they accidentally introduce. We’re showing them how to use tools. Etc.

    Sure, we use Agile process and team-building is continuous and we build knowledge base wikis and keeping our knowledge stored and accessible in other ways. Yes, we actively write down  every part of everyone’s job that we can isolate and identify. But it changes all the time. We change tools. We change methods. We adopt new processes. So we’re always rewriting. It never ends.

    It’s the expense and effort and time and lost productivity I’m getting at here.

    Aside: Some managers hire for skills; they get people who might need some less training in some areas. But can we agree that every manager, no matter what industry they are in, or what types of staff they need, has to train new people in what’s proprietary about their company, what tools they use, their processes. No staff is instantly productive.

    The questions

    • What is your time to productivity for staff? Do you have a “productivity problem” for new staff or even for job changes?
    • What processes do you use to solve this? What do they cost (time or money or both)?
    • What tools do you use to solve this? What do they cost? (time, setup, maintenance, money)?

    The framework

    I’ll lay some suggestions as to a framework for answers, that is, if you’re going to contribute ideas:

    1. Always say what industry you’re in, the positions for which you’re training, your hiring philosophy.
    2. Characterize the people you’re training (mindset, skill set, personality). If it’s varied, specify a couple examples.
    3. State your metrics: time to productivity, hours spent per person for training. etc.
    4. Say what tools and processes you use that make it easier. Use names – and point to websites if you like.
    5. Be honest about your biggest challenges – don’t worry about impressing anyone. These could be challenges with the people, with the budget, with the tools, or anything else I can’t think of. For this exercise we need to see your pains, and I will always share mine.
    6. Lastly, and I hate to have to say it, but: please be polite, and considerate of everyone’s time. No spamming, no selling productivity products, no insults or smarter-than-thou stuff. Don’t criticize other people, don’t brag on yourself. and don’t make us wade through ads. Be of help.


    i think i remember…

    a biased review of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

    In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics winner Daniel Kahneman summarizes a life of research and publishing (often with his partner Amos Tversky).

    The pair wanted to understand why human behavior so often defies economic logic:

    • We change the question to simplify things. Imagine Linda; young, single, outspoken, very bright. As a student, she was deeply concerned with discrimination and social justice. OK. Asked if it was more probable Linda was a bank teller or a feminist bank teller, most said feminist bank teller was likelier.
      This violates the laws of probability: feminist bank tellers all belong to the probably bigger group called bank tellers.
    • We neglect denominators. “A disease that kills 1,286 people out of every 10,000” is judged more dangerous than a disease that “kills 24.4 out of 100 people,” just because 1,286 (the sample chosen) is bigger. (BTW 1,286 is only 12.86% of 10,000… meaning it’s less dangerous).
    • We get used to a number and base all our numbers on it.  The initial price offered for a car sets the standard for the negotiations; lower prices than that seem more reasonable even though they could still be more than the car is worth.
    • We act to prevent loss quicker than we act to gain.
      People hold losing stocks and sell winners, even though winners are more likely to keep making money; losers to keep losing it.
    • We care more about what we remember than what we experience. Two tested groups agreed to endure an irritating stimulus; one endured it longer time, but with a slight decrease just before the end; the second had a shorter time but the same level of irritation throughout. The group with the longer time said it was more bearable, because the irritation decreased, even though they actually endured the full irritation longer.

    The way we actually behave:

    • Fits into a new replacement to the Bernoulli Expected Utility Hypothesis used by many economists. It attempted to explain behavior in terms of rational action to get value; with it, economists tried to predict behavior, but were often stymied.
      Kahneman and Tversky’s proposed (and Nobel-winning) replacement, Prospect Theory, is a model for how decisions need to adapt more towards avoiding loss than appreciating gain.
    • Uses the fast-deciding part of our minds (system 1); meanwhile a somewhat lazy but more meticulous reviewer (system 2) evaluates and edits the fast decision-making process.
    • Gets us two selves – an experiencing self responding to stuff, and a remembering self that holds on and ultimately owns our interpretation of the stuff.

    So the you that posts your life to Facebook and takes selfies in the bathroom mirror, at Lady Gaga concerts, at the Met, what have you, is your remembering self.

    If you’re as much a logic lover as I am, this book will bend your mind. You find yourself no longer judging  human behavior as “illogical.” There’s another logic model at work.

    Walking through Manhattan on the first “warm” (40 degree!) day last week, I had a long experience of joy. I thought to put my remembering self aside because the experience is more important. I knew the day seemed warm because I had been anchored to expect a cold winter day. I also knew I’d write about the experience in this review… so my remembering self wins, after all.


    The book: Recommended: Large Blog ImageLarge Blog ImageLarge Blog ImageLarge Blog ImageLarge Blog Image