Saturday, July 31, 2010


Paid vacation time is probably one of stupidest ideas I've ever heard of. Why would a business ever want to pay its workers to take time off? Paying employees not to work is the equivalent of giving the money away for free. If a worker wants to take time off, they can clear a day or two with the boss. But that time off should be unpaid. The company is paying for their work, not their leisure.

But maybe a change of pace is a necessary evil every so often. I propose an alternative solution that's more palatable to me: a working stay-cation. I'll kindly let the employee work from home for their break. With modern tech, telecommuting is now completely feasible. The worker can just telecommute into work during the vacation. The employee gets some time away from the workplace, and the company doesn't have to pay for non-productive employee time. It's a win-win situation!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Work Sleep Work

Do you know what the number one productivity killer is? Well, other than inherent employee laziness and ineffectiveness? It's sleep. People have to spend nearly 8 hours a day just sleeping. That's nearly a third of life just flushed down the tubes doing a completely non-productive activity. If we could just eliminate sleep, so much more work would get done. But until science comes up with a way to eliminate sleep, there are ways to reduce sleep:

  1. Caffeine. The drug of choice for battling off droopy eyelids. Coffee, tea, soda, Red Bull, etc. They all keep your workers wired and working longer.
  2. Regular hours. Schedule regular work hours. A routine helps with reducing the amount of necessary sleep. Start the workday around 7 a.m. or so, and end it around 8-9 p.m. Keep this schedule strict.
  3. Uncomfortable bed. If your beds are too comfortable, there's the temptation to stay in them. Remove the comforts, and less sleep is necessary. I make it company-wide policy to suggest lumpy mattresses, removing pillows, no comforters, and no climate controlled temperatures. That way, the workers will want to get out of bed as soon as possible.
  4. Supervision. Nothing wakes up employees faster than the boss looming. I check up on my employees as often as possible (at least 3 times and hour is ideal) to make sure they're making progress and jolt them out of their slumber.
  5. Company sleep quarters. If workers never have to leave company grounds, they can spend more time working. Let peer pressure reduce the amount of sleep and maximize the amount of work.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Free Labor 5: Contract Work

I often like to outsource work to contractors since outsourcing to foreign countries is often cheaper than hiring domestically or paying a programmer in house. It can be nearly 80% cheaper to outsource a job, especially if you make the programmer do work during a mandatory screening/training period before awarding the contract.

Another thing I do is make sure all contracts are either oral, or if a hard copy is requested, I make it as poorly worded as possible (the outsourced labor probably doesn't speak English that well anyhow, so this strategy works great!). Then while they're working and delivering the code, I keep insisting that they haven't completed the work to my satisfaction or the terms of our agreement. Since they have already put in so much effort, they want to get paid, so they bow into my demands. I can keep this up long enough to squeeze quite a bit of extra work out of the contract. The scheme is truly beautiful.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Free Labor 4: Concierge

Did you know concierges are there to do your bidding? They are paid to be at your beck and call, and their services are usually complimentary for you as a paying customer. You can take this to full advantage to get work done for you for gratis. Whenever I go to hotels, I always make the concierge handle my dinner reservations and random errands for me. This way I don't have to have a secretary. I can get by with concierges when I'm traveling, and just make my regular employees handle the secretarial tasks when I'm in the office.

You can also use your credit card concierge services to full advantage. Similar to a hotel concierge, you can assign your complimentary credit card concierge your random tasks and get them done completely free! I've been trying to find a concierge that does computer programming, flash, or educational lesson design. I know I'll hit jackpot one of these days when I nail a newly graduated comp sci student or education student. With the economy as poor as it is, I'm sure not all of the new graduates are going to be getting jobs in their field.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Free Labor 3: Tech Support

Another way that I get free work done for me is to use technical support. My software code frequently doesn't work and I try to get other people to fix it for me under the guise of being an problem with third party software. This is the way it works: call up technical support and complain loudly and persistently until you get a hold of an engineer to troubleshoot for you. Usually any phone support person has to be cordial (remember, the customer is always right!). If you are persistent enough, you can eventually browbeat the engineer into taking a look at your code, ostensibly to find out what is causing the problem with their software.

In the case of larger software companies, like Microsoft, they even have remote login capabilities to support their customers. You can get an engineer who will remotely log into your system to troubleshoot. While you have them logged in, you just have them take a look at your code and a few extra things. I've been able to have support personnel and engineers working for me for hours on end using this little trick. It works brilliantly for getting free work done.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Free Labor 2: Job Education

Continuing from the last post about free labor, I find another effective way for getting more bang for your buck from your employees is to assign them homework. And I don't just mean doing their work at home, which they should be doing anyway. Under the guise of keeping my employees educated, I make them learn new skills on their own time (and their own dime no less). For example, I hire a programmer and I'll tell them they need to learn html and flash to round out their development skills and make them a more effective employee of the company. But what I actually get is an employee who can double as my webmaster. And the beauty of it is that I can then start asking that employee to start doing the webmaster duties in addition to their programming duties without paying him any more.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Free labor: Training Period

I hate paying any more than absolutely necessary to hire help to get work done. I find that hired help requires so much training and supervision that I'm loathe to spend any money on such incompetent workers. Outside of using free interns, I've come up with a number of ways to extract more work from people for less money.

The first is using a lengthy unpaid training period. I actually assign a real work project during this "training period." During this ostensible training period, I'm effectively getting free labor out of the new hire. I even make completion of the training period (i.e. finishing the assigned project) a requirement for beginning paid work. It's a great way to both screen for employees that have any hope of working with me and getting work done for the company for free.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


It is not uncommon for students in China to begin their school day at 7:30 a.m. and not end until 9:30 p.m. That is in stark contrast to the comparatively lazy students in the U.S. where school begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. If we could implement the Chinese style school hours, think how much more training we could get our students through. They would be better prepared to enter the workforce and more competent. And they would already be used to the long hours needed for a corporate job. I like my employees to work a minimum of 12 hours a day. I find that is the minimum for a satisfactory amount of work to be done. I'd require even more if the lazy sloths didn't have silly things like bathroom breaks, food needs, and families to tend to. But if the 14 hour school day became standard, it would be easier for us bosses to ramp up the work hours.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Outside the box in 48 Hours

One thing that last led to my continued success as head honcho at my companies is my ability to think outside the box. I recently came across 48 Hour Magazine where the whole concept is to generate a professional quality magazine in a mere two days, from start to finished production. That's getting stuff done! I can't even get my own staff to get simple things done in that amount of time.

This sort of outside-the-box thinking rings with me. I take a different approach to developing my software products. I have my programmers develop all of our code in a proprietary language I invented. Conforming to industry standard programming languages was too constraining a box, so I stepped outside of it and made my own programming language that works for me. Rather than hire expensive degreed domestic programmers, I outsource all of our development to temporary foreign workers who do all the development work by remotely logging into our company servers. In this way, I can watch all the developers working on a common server and control everything from one central command console. I also save on equipment costs since I don't have to provide workstations for all the developers. That cost savings has been a real boon for me. Outsourcing the development work to many different foreign workers also serves to decentralize the knowledge and work. Since I've spread out the work between a number of different developers, company knowledge and experience is distributed among numerous developers so that there is no single point of failure.

Outside the box thinking is what makes my companies so agile and successful. I can't get my workers to throw together in 48 hours, though I often try to light the fire by setting regular deadlines. But I do other things to ensure that my diffuse company keeps moving forward.

Joseph M. Scandura, incompetent moron, idiot, pompous, stupid, failure, asshole, arrogant, bullshit, micromanager of the year, technologically clueless, ignorant, condescending, senile, dementia