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Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Why Google is cooler than Ebay

Hacker cool, that is. Google organizes a programming competition, and Ebay does one too. Before I even get started, note how the Google Code Jam page is written entirely in HTML, CSS and Javascript. All open standards. Then note how the Ebay page (unnecessarily) uses what has been dubbed "the cancer of the web" by some. Even though I wouldn't go that far, (you can always not go to Flash sites) I do think that its use should be minimized. I will not go into the reasons here, but if you're curious, shoot me a comment. Furthermore, clicking on their "Register Now" button brings up a popup which Firefox promptly blocks.

Anyway, the point is this:

The Ebay competition is very obviously the brainchild of suits and not hackers. At the event where they launched the competition, I did not see a single techie there who represented Ebay. Furthermore, although I can no longer recall the exact figures, implementation comprised a mere 20% or so of their judging criteria. To put this in context, minutiae like business plan or some crap like that was worth 30%. I suppose it makes sense if you're trying to attract talented suits, but then why hold a Developer Challenge? Why not hold a Suit's Biz-Off and just give the winner some money so he can hire hackers to implement his business plans?

Google, on the other hand, doesn't give a flying fuck about your business plan. What you have to do instead, is solve algorithmic problems. As swiftly and accurately as possible. That is the attitude that ensures Google always has the brightest engineers.

p.s. A friend of mine who attended the aforementioned event with me said that we should just interrupt the speakers with this:
I propose that we forgo the competition and split the $25K among all those present here (a coupla hundred for each person, more or less). All those in favour, say "yea"...

My friends are funny.

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