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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cooking, UX, Team Building and Job Opportunities

Over the last year I have fallen in love with cooking. I think what I enjoy most is taking some simple ingredients and from that creating a delightful experience. That is why I fell in love with user experience design & engineering so many years ago. Just a few instructions (well usually a lot more than a few -- but you get the idea) and you can create a delightful experience for others.
The Chef Sneaks a Bite (by billwscott)Grilling Action (by billwscott)All Prepped (by billwscott)IMG_4303.JPG (by billwscott)IMG_4304.JPG (by billwscott)
I was reminded of this today when I celebrated a new member joining my team (user interface engineering at Netflix). As I set up for some massive grilling action I got a lot of joy in talking about what went into each one of the items that I was going to grill. Then just laying out the food on the grill with all of the beautiful colors and watching it cook into mouth-watering delight was exciting. But the biggest thrill is when my team members got so much enjoyment from the food (or at least that is what they tell their boss ;-)

It also got me thinking about team building. Earlier in the year when I mentioned to a candidate that I was about to take my team to Angel Island he asked "for team building?" And I immediately said "NO". In fact my reaction was really strong. I have never really cared for official "team building" exercises or outings. I have never thought that engineering or design teams were built on the shallowness of forced activities. Instead I have always felt that team building is accomplished not as a goal but as a product of being in an environment generously peppered with hard problems, smart colleagues, respect & trust and yes a sense of humor. Outings like today are just icing on the cake.

And of course I am fortunate to have an amazing team and work for an awesome company.

By the way while I am not recruiting for my team at the moment Netflix has some great openings in Product Management, UX Design and engineering!

In particular, I want to call attention to a job that has been hard to fill but is a great opportunity -- Senior Software Engineer in the Software Infrastructure team. I have always been partial to these roles. And have worked in and led infrastructure teams. It takes a special breed of engineer who can grasp what the organization needs (understanding the real customer is our members) yet be able to craft flexible solutions that can multiply the efforts of the rest of the organization. If you are this person or know of someone let me know and I will pass along to the hiring manager.

You can reach me at "B" _dot_ "scott" _@_ yahoo DOT com.

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