Chief Technology Officer & Photographer | Irvine, CA

No…I don’t have a resume…

“Corporate America” bugs the hell out of me.

Today, I get an email titled “Opportunity Knocks” from a local company in town, giving the same old canned message that was spruced up a little to be marginally personalized.  I was told he searched for “php developer phoenix” and he found me (I rank #1 for that search term).  Ok – I read on – and it was basically a soft recruitment letter – pretty standard.

I responded back that I wasn’t looking for full time work, but I’d be open to any contract/freelance work, as I had recently left a company to go back out on my own. He responded shortly after and said, “How about sending me a resume and I’ll set up a few face-to-face meetings with the peeps here?”.

Hmmm…

Well, I don’t have a resume, I haven’t updated my resume in years. Hell, the resume I used to desperately get a job with 944 Magazine was the same resume I had that I made in high school – clearly it worked, but it was old, outdated, and is a constant reminder of “old business”.  If you know me…Craig…this is directed at you haha…you know that I loathe “old business” methodologies – not all, but most.  I still prefer the good old “hand shake and a promise” – something about that just screams “business” to me, but everything else, meh, I can do without.

Apparently I said something to ruffle the feathers, because after my response of “Look at the links in my sig – that’s my resume – I’m pretty confident in the wealth of information you’ll find about me as a person/developer/etc on google”, I was told that I was “being arrogant, cocky and feeling entitled” and that those “are not a qualities we are interested in”.

Whoa…what?

Whoa what? Being arrogant and cocky? I think you completely misunderstood my last email, and now you’re telling me that I’m an “apprentice” because I told you I don’t have a formal “resume” anymore? I’m not an old dude with a pony tail – nor a web developer that wasted years in college and have 9 million microsoft/google/etc certifications – it’s all worthless – real world experience is where it’s at.

Wow – this went downhill pretty quick…and FYI, in the “real world”, a piece of paper listing accomplishments is still just a piece of paper – the proof is in the pudding, and you’ve yet to see any of my work (you’ve seen my blog and probably DateDesigner.com) – neither of which I care to “defend” to you.

The only arrogant person in this conversation is you right now…you probably need to chillax a little. An apology for flying off the handle is appreciated.

It gets better – I just got this response:

Fair enough: I apologize for “flying off the handle”. Let me get back on my broomstick (apparently, I’m a witch?).

We do require a resume. Sorry, I can’t ask other managers and the co-founders of this company to “Look at the links in my sig – that’s my resume”. Seriously, that doesn’t cut it. To dignify and respect their time, they should only have to review a single-source document of your accomplishments (aka a “resume”). Everything they read online *could* be 100% BS (just as a resume could be), but it starts the process down the right road. No one has time to look at countless websites that have some reference to who you might be. Down the road, if we were truly interested, we would dig deeper (verify work history, check references, etc.).

You’re right, never saw any pudding. Also, I wasn’t being arrogant, I was being condescending (which was wrong and I apologize for that, too). Guess I was expecting to somehow be “wowed!” by your claim of being a “jQuery Expert”.

I reached out to you because you appeared to have an acceptable amount of experience in web development. I failed to conclude that you were a master of your craft. Being that you are, you are clearly out of our league as we are really just looking for someone who is pretty darn good at what they do.

Sorry to have bothered you.

And my response:

Again with the “crafty” email response – and a dodge at just apologizing, tucking your tail, and moving on.

I never claimed to be a jQuery expert, I mentioned that my budd had said that. That was meant to be a joke, but clearly that wasn’t conveyed – or understood. I don’t claim to be an expert at anything – I do however know that I’m pretty f***in good at the skills I do possess.

My flip flops, t-shirts, and bedazzled jeans don’t do well in corporate culture – neither do resumes and obviously me – this is why I’m a full time freelancer. I loathe “old school” business methodologies, and can’t stand to be a part of them.

A bit of advice – especially in an ever competitive tech industry, hire people, not resumes. You could have easily brought me in to “meet the peeps” with a bit of information about me – you know, doing your job with recruiting, you gather information and report it back to those that control your strings. But now, you’ll just be on the hunt for another drone – another resume submitter…someone whom which I’ll never be again.

Thank you again for yet another captivating response XXXXX, I’m really looking forward to the next one!

Yes – now I’m just being an ass, but hey, it’s the amusement that I needed today. Back to the grind – see ya on the flip side!

Remove index.php from Codeigniter URL’s

I’m sure this already exists out on the net, but I found a little gem today.  When you are working with Codeigniter, you can remove the index.php from your URL’s by creating an .htaccess file with the following information:

RewriteCond $1 !^(index\.php|sitemap\.xml|robots\.txt|user_guide|blog|public|favicon\.ico|LiveSearchSiteAuth\.xml)
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /index.php/$1 [L]

If you notice, I have some other stuff in there to not exclude from passing to index.php like a sitemap.xml, the user_guide directory, the blog directory, a “public” directory (that I use for css/images/js), etc.

You set that in your .htaccess file first, then go into your config.php file and set this:

$config['index_page'] = "";

Basically, what that does, is that removes the whole site from processing through index.php in the URL bar (it still goes through there as far as I know, but doesn’t show it), specifically when using Codeigniter built-in functions like redirect().

Figured I’d share that little nugget of knowledge…happy coding!

LotDrifter.com – Online Car Magazine

Automotive web sites are BORING these days – especially the “online” companion to magazine sites.  LotDrifter.com was created to break out of that mold to give everyone what they want/need when it comes to all things automotive.

The name “Lot Drifter” comes from what I do when I get bored (which as of lately isn’t too often) – I literally go from car lot to car lot checking out cars, finding the rare gems, and pretty much drooling all over them.  I’ve been a car guy for as long as I can remember, so it is only fitting that I create an online car magazine being a web developer as well. ;-)

Status

Coming soon – currently in development!   The site will use a WordPress 3.0 background with a custom theme (as seen above).  I’ve also been playing around with some other predesigned magazine style themes, and I may launch with that as the design above is finished up – we’ll see.

DateDesigner.com – Building a Better Date

Everyone goes on a date. Whether you are single or married, you’re bound to take your significant other out every once in a while. Do you find it hard to come up with ideas outside of the typical “dinner and a movie”? This is where DateDesigner.com becomes a vital part of the equation. DateDesigner.com was built to help creative people share their date ideas with the people that are searching for date ideas.

**UPDATE** – Spoke with Brent (the original web designer) the other day, and we’re all on board for a site re-launch in the next 6 weeks.  I’m shooting for September 1, 2010, but we’ll see how fast I can throw everything together for Brent, and then for the site.

The Plan

DateDesigner.com was an idea that I had for about 3 years before I finally decided to actively do something with it. I approached Gangplank (@gangplank) one day with a brief email explaining my idea after I received an email from them saying that they were starting up an incubator program – similar to yCombinator and TechStars. They loved the idea, gave me my funding, and said “build it in 30 days, and we’ll move on to the next step”. Wow…30 days…it was going to be rough!

The Challenges

Building a site in 30 days takes a large amount of planning, and a large amount of asking “do we really need that for phase 1?”. After some intense planning sessions, the core idea had its wings, and I was ready to fly. This was also my first project built using an Agile process, so that was a learning process as well.

Technologies Utilized

Summary

In the end, I produced the site in 30 days. A lot of ups and downs were made within those 30 days, but I made it to a place only 10% of people ever do with a great idea for a web site. The next 60 days after that were filled with refining the business model, marketing, and sales. The site has been up for a little over a year now and has made some decent traction, and there is more to come.

Next Steps

I originally built the site using the PHP framework called Codeigniter. This was my first project working with Codeigniter, and although I was able to produce the site quickly, after being away from the code base for a while, learning more about Codeigniter, and coming back to it, I do need to refactor quite a bit of code. I also have some new ideas for the site…I just need to start the process all over again, and push some updates!

  • Refactor existing codebase – work smarter, not harder
  • Redesign the user interface for a better user experience – especially within the builder section
  • Add user profiles for users to promote the date ideas they’ve created and comments they’ve shared
  • Add Facebook/Twitter integration to ignite some viral marketing
  • Entice the users to come back for more – don’t let them forget about the site – implement non-noisy email notifications
  • More to come…

CodeIgniter & jQuery – A match made in web heaven…

Honestly, a year ago, I wasn’t a fan of either CodeIgniter or jQuery – because I really didn’t look at them deep enough.

CodeIgniter – PHP MVC Framework

My first shot at CodeIgniter was with DateDesigner.com (by persistent recommendation from @strebel).  Wow…once you grab the concept of the MVC framework, CodeIgniter makes your life tremendously easier when throwing together a site.  I literally thumbed through documentation and built DateDesigner.com in 30 days (scratch to launch).  I have learned how to set it up better and have learned a lot after putting together a few more sites with it (Twitrratr.com, FindMyDogADate.com, BajaSurVacationRentals.com), so now when I go back through some of the DateDesigner.com code, I curse myself a little as I refactor.

Have you built any sites with CodeIgniter?  Do you have an cool plug-in’s for CodeIgniter that you can suggest?

jQuery – Javascript Framework

Now – I have sucked at javascript for going on…ummm…ever?  It was actually @chuckreynolds that intro’d me to jQuery, but at the time, I still didn’t get it – because I was just too lazy to take a good look at it.  Well, again, my first shot at jQuery was on a simple interface tweak in DateDesigner.com, but it has spurred off on to nearly every site I work on now (including all of the 944 web sites internal/external).  There are a plethora plug-in’s available for jQuery – I’ve recently worked with jCarousel and a few others.

Do you have any jQuery plug-in recommendations?  Anyone know of any where I could essentially paginate images in 2 columns like a book/magazine w/o using flash?