David Coursey

Technology writer/blogger, marketing communicator, disaster services volunteer, cat rescuer. Executive Director, California Emergency Volunteers, Inc. (cevol.org).

For Funding, VCs May Not Be Your Best Choice

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According to one of their own, the problem with venture capitalists is their “never-ending search for the next-big thing.” In baseball terms, instead of going for singles and doubles, many VCs seek nothing but home runs. Sadly, what VCs identify as the next big thing rarely is. They often reflect either investments they have already made and want to pump up, or areas they don’t normally invest in but want to see overfunded to diminish a competing firms’ assets. Machiavellian… continue…

Startups Can Be Quick to Fire New Employees

Posted In Looking in Tech
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If you are considering a job offer from a startup, think twice. Why? Because startup companies may not give a second thought when it comes to firing you. As The Wall Street Journal says, “[Startups] are reinventing the way companies work: Firing people before the ink is dry on their employment contracts.” Joining a startup is filled with risk. The biggest and most obvious is the fact that most don’t survive long enough to make anyone rich. Less obvious to… continue…

Dell Workers Wary of ‘Voluntary Separation’

Posted In Looking in Tech
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Michael Dell says running a private company is “a lot more fun” than running a public one. With his $25 billion buyout completed in October, Dell says his company is now focused on the longer term, though some current employees won’t be around to see what comes next. Earlier this month, the company announced what it’s calling a “voluntary separation program” intended to weed out those who don’t share Dell’s “passion and enthusiasm” for life as a private company. The… continue…

Dell Offers Voluntary Separation to Those Without ‘Passion’

Posted In Looking in Tech
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In what looks suspiciously like a campaign to encourage voluntary separations ahead of mandatory layoffs, newly private Dell has told employees that if they don’t share management’s “passion and enthusiasm” for the next phase of corporate life they are welcome to leave. The Register quotes an internal memo, which the company has confirmed: We hope you share in our passion and enthusiasm for Dell’s exciting next chapter. It’s going to take everyone’s hard work and commitment to become the leading… continue…

5 Tips for Startup Success, and 1 for Failure

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Today’s startups have access to powerful tools unheard of only a few years ago. Yet at the same time, some parts of the entrepreneur’s life have remained constant. That’s one of the things we discovered during a series of conversations we had with successful entrepreneurs who shared some of their advice for those just starting out. Think Kickstarter “Kickstarter has changed everything” for would-be entrepreneurs, says tech legend Philippe Kahn. The inventor of the camera phone and founder of software… continue…

The Surprising Skill Employers Want in New Grads

Posted In Looking in Tech
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Attention college students: Technical courses are not enough to guarantee a successful career. While math, science and tech provide core competencies, employers say writing and communications skills are sorely lacking in many jobseekers. Technical skills “are clearly not enough,” according to John Challenger, chief executive officer of outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “Not if you are ambitious and expect to see increasing levels of responsibility in your career.” More Than STEM “It is vital not to overlook critical coursework… continue…

Employees Have a Love/Hate Relationship With BlackBerry

Posted In Looking in Tech
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It comes as no surprise that life at Blackberry isn’t what it used to be, and employees aren’t being quiet about it. A lack of growth opportunities, a lack of stability and a general lack of fun are all taking their toll. “There aren’t many chances to grow internally,” wrote one current employee on Glassdoor.com, the anonymous employer reviews site. “The company does not retain its top talent. The company did not do a good job of marketing its products,… continue…

More Tech Professionals Pushed Into Contracting

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Employment isn’t what it used to be, and for many tech workers it may never be again. As America slowly emerges from recession, employment growth isn’t following. Increasingly, workers find themselves with piecemeal employment, no benefits and what appears to be no way back into a full-time job. “Will we all be freelancers soon?” asked a recent headline in U.S. News & World Report. The accompanying story reported how: 6 in 10 companies have plans to hire more freelancers in… continue…

Should Silicon Valley Secede, Or Just Leave?

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Secession is a popular topic in Texas, parts of Colorado and a rural area of northern California and Oregon that calls itself the “State of Jefferson.” But now the idea of breaking away has come up in an unlikely place: Silicon Valley. Yes, we’re talking about seceding from the U.S. Some call it “the ultimate exit strategy.” Such a move – support for which seems somewhere between “serious but not really” and pure fantasy – could separate technologists from their… continue…

Stack-Ranking’s Alive and Well in Tech

Posted In Looking in Tech
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The last 10 years are often called Microsoft’s “lost decade” as the company that once dominated the software world seemed to pay more attention to internal competitions than the marketplace. Microsoft, said Vanity Fair, had “cannibalistic culture.” It laid much of the blame on the forced ranking system the company used for employee evaluations. But now, Microsoft has abandoned that controversial “stacked ranking” system, replacing it with evaluations that forego rankings and give managers much more control over the process.… continue…