Bamidele O. Shangobunmi

JANG Speaks!: 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A new position

Following the round of layoffs earlier this month, little clarity about the present, nor the future has emerged from the fog.  One thing I do know, though, is that as of today, I'm the new design standards guy at PayPal.  The previous team was disbanded in the layoffs, and with successful experience creating standards at four companies to date, I gave our acting director a clear, comprehensive proposal he couldn't turn down.  How much of that proposal I'll actually be allowed to execute upon remains to be seen.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The grim reaper's scythe has fallen yet again

Layoffs.  The happen all the time, but you can never get used to them.  We've all known cuts were coming, yet the way they hit left everyone I know in total shock.  Among the eBay portfolio of companies, PayPal is the strongest, the most profitable, and the one with the largest upside potential, by far.  Members of the design group at PayPal?  Very busy.  Always.  When a full third of our ranks were slashed over the course of the past two days, all productivity came to a grinding halt, the "survivors" left in a stunned stupor.  Almost every level, from new contractor to senior director, has been impacted.

This is crippling.  I thought we were understaffed before.  Now things really get hard.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Small world!

Today a new UI designer started on my team.  When my manager was walking him in, I had no idea who this person was, so imagine my surprise when I turned around and saw someone I had worked closely with seven years ago!  There's a cliche term in Silicon Valley that "it's a small Valley," but never has it rung so true in my ears.  What a pleasant surprise this is.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The brave world of "distributed teams"

For one project, we have:

  • One Lead UI Designer and one "UED Lead" in San Jose
  • A content contractor in Santa Cruz
  • A Content Manager in Omaha, Nebraska
  • A UI Consultant, a project manager, and the second "UED Lead" in Austin, Texas
  • Visual Designers in Chennai, India

Friday, May 2, 2008

Fun facts about eBay & me

Feedback score:

Value of merchandise sold:

Greatest profit: 

New-in-package, unpainted body for a radio-controlled car from the 1980's. Bought from a hobby store clearance bin for $0.25. Sold for $97.56.

Most expensive item sold:

Vintage Nikon camera.

Value of merchandise bought:

Also, this year I finally sold my very first camera, a 1979 Nikkormat 35mm SLR I had bought at a swap meet at the age of 11, and quite by chance, the buyer turned out to be an eBay customer support agent!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stop the meetings. Just stop.

This evening I attended the 9th (1...2..3..4... ...9), ninth staff meeting, in four working days.  Ludicrous!

Profound words from PayPal's President...

"We are big business, and we do a lot of things."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Call it a soft promotion; a sad, sad, soft, promotion

With the departure of two more PayPalians, I am now the seniormost member of my team.  I don't mind responsibility, but I didn't want to gain it like this.  There are too many empty cubes around...

Monday, March 3, 2008

The meaning of life...

... is something they might as well have asked for.  I've been given a 7-page bulleted list of high-level requirements for a new feature.  I am expected to estimate, within the next 24 hours, the effort that will be required to build this product.  After my first pass through the document, I have literally 3x as many questions as there are requirements.

Normally when I can't figure something out, I can at least quickly figure out how to figure out how to figure it out. Not this time. The bounds of problem set are unknown, and unknowable without an estimated 20 solid work days of intense multidisciplinary review & brainstorming involving, I'd estimate, ~15ppl minimum. That'd be just to figure out the size of the problem.

UPDATE 9/10/2009:  I heard just last week that they're still trying to figure this one out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Reply all FTW!

An email thread CC'd to about 500 too many people explodes!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Racing against racism

For those of you who didn't hear, there was a really ugly incident back on Feb. 2 involving some lowlife spectators showering British racing star Lewis Hamilton with racist epithets at the Formula One event in Barcelona, Spain. The quick summary of that story is here. In a display of intolerance for intolerance that shocks this American native, the track first ejected the scum and permanently banned them, then beefed up security around the areas where Hamilton and his team would be (to make sure there wasn't a repeat), and then physically cordoned off Hamilton's garage. And yet, officials of FIA (the international governing body presiding over F1, WRC, and others) were furious that the track hadn't done enough.

Now me, I live in a country where a large percentage of the population are still ugly racist bastards. I'm not referring to folks who just hate rap or "gangsta" types. I'm not referring to folks who get up in arms when they see people of color in their community using welfare to sponsor drug addictions. I'm talking about folks who hate anything that isn't White just because it isn't White. Folks who were born to demonically racist parents and raised to follow in their footsteps, with no rhyme or reason for their hatred. Folks who, when they hang out with their buddies in the evening, get boozed up and get honest, joke about dragging chained Black men down rocky roads behind a truck, raping Asian women, and murdering Mexican farm workers for sport. Folks who, when they get brave enough, act out these satanistic fantasies.
Having grown up in this country, the son of a Black man, I found this news about the Barcelona track's response and now the FIA's efforts almost unbelievable. FIA presides over billions of dollars of activities followed by millions of fans around the world. For an organization so large, so powerful, so influential, to make such a bold stand against racial hate is nothing short of phenomenal.

At least to me...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Annonymity fail


Microsoft Bids $44.6 Billion for Yahoo

The reporter offers respect to insiders like so:
"Yahoo's workers were trying to absorb the bombshell as they arrived at work Friday morning. Two commented on it, but asked that their full names not be used. "
Then, the very next sentence begins:
"An information technology project manager named Eric, who gets to work at 6 a.m..."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Moar powar! Less powar :(

So here's a funny story.  Last night my PS3 arrived, so naturally I was anxious to set that up.  I got it all going, got the controller charging, and tried out some demos.  I don't have my memory card adapter yet so I can't yet port my PS2 stuff over, and anyhow my PS2 was busy playing through the last 24hr race in Gran Turismo 4 (B-spec mode).  It was up to hour 23.

Okay, so I had two Playstations running.  Then a friend said he might come on XBox Live to do some Halo, and I hadn't yet been able to hook up with him, so I turned the 360 on too in case he showed up.  So that's 3 consoles.

Really nothing was happening so I switched to TV.  Three consoles + TV.

During commercials, turned on my computer.  Three consoles + TV + PC.

All this stuff going on right? So what happened?  The power went out.  No, I didn't blow a fuse, the whole neighborhood was out. So, I went to call the electric company to report the outage, but my cel phone was almost dead and wasn't gonna make it through the wait time.  However, I couldn't exactly put it on a charger with the power out, right?! I didn't have a car charger either!

I thought for awhile, and remembered my laptop.  I pulled it out, powered it on, and grabbed the USB cable from my PS3 to use as a charge cord.  Just my luck, the laptop had less than 8% charge remaining... I forgot to charge it last time I used it.  So, I turned it down to the absolute minimum power consumption possible and milk it down to 2% before shutting it off.  That gave me just enough power to make my electric company call.  It turns out, about ~4000 people are out of power, and there's no ETA.

I decided to head to Target to hang out there until they closed (which would be in less than an hour) and hopefully pick up a car charger for my phone, which I did.

So I get home, and I kid you not, AS I PULLED INTO THE DRIVEWAY, the power came back on.

The end.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Rant: Star Wars... in EVERYthing?

Ok here's the deal. I'm a fan of Star Wars. Well, at least the original trilogy, and select segments of the prequels. However, the Lucas camp has been inserting the franchise into too, too many places that in my opinion, it does. not. belong.

My biggest beef is with the Star Wars Transformers. Also a Transformers fan! But you don't make a Transformers Chewbacca, nor a Transformers Han Solo! And you especially don't make a Transformers Chewbacca and a Transformers Han Solo that combine together Voltron-style to make a Transformers Millennium Falcon! That's just all bad in all ways!

Oh but there's more. Games. There have been some truly great Star Wars games, right? Heck, the original arcade. X-Wing. Tie Fighter. X-Wing: Alliance. Rogue Squadron. Battlefront & 2. Then came the Lego mashup. Well I'm a big Lego fan too! Well guess what? That mashup worked, and worked well!

I mentioned there was more. Yep. Here it is:

Watch it.

Just watch it.

All the way through.

Do I see what I think I see? That's a video for the latest installment in the Soul Caliber, the first blade-based fighting game to break through in the years when graphics power was going exponential. But wait. Is that freakin' Darth Vader's breathing I hear? Oh no. Yoda?!?!

What's next? Obi Wan Tennis for Wii? Ki Adi Mundi as an unlockable character in DDR?