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Alex Bäcker's Wiki / It helps to get engineers who can hold a conversation
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It helps to get engineers who can hold a conversation

Page history last edited by Alex Backer, Ph.D. 15 years, 11 months ago

Ran into an engineer I know outside Trader Joe's. Most pessimistic guy I ever met, but a solid engineer. Went to say hello. Started amiable chat. Asked how his new job was going. Asked what the company he works for now does. Said he can't talk about what he's doing. Said I didn't want to know any secrets, that I thought they had a public product. He said they do. I asked what does it do. He said it serves ads. I asked why do people want a product to serve ads? He said somebody's gotta do it. I asked: "Wat's the hard part your company does? The matching algorithm? Why do companies hire your company to serve their ads?" At that point he went nonlinear. He said 'This is annoying. I gotta be somewhere. And I told you i can't tell you what I'm doing'. I said, 'I told you I don't want to know anything secret, and was asking about the public product to see if my company should become a customer of yours. But if you gotta be somewhere, you should have started there. Because it's annoying to have you say it's annoying for me to chat w/you.' End of that conversation.


I understand people who spend their days in front of a computer (a sin I am guilty of) don't get to hone their conversational skills much, but is some common courtesy too much to ask from an engineer these days?


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