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a happy work update
singapore sunset
amw
Today i had my "first day" at the new gig. I popped into my new office while the CTO was in town so we could catch up face to face before i start in December (by which point he'll be back in the US).

You guys. I missed Americans.

My current company is French-owned. The entire executive team is French, and they are all based in France or Hong Kong, two places well-known for being more than a little snooty. I know national stereotypes are just that, but... there is some truth to them.

Lordy, what a breath of fresh air it was to walk into an office with a CTO straight out of Silicon Valley talking growth and disruption. It was so nice to not be the only person in the room calling some piece of tech "cool". Americans are nothing if not enthusiastic.

I saw some joke on LinkedIn a while back which was graphing the quality of a product against the way different people talk about it. The Silicon Valley guy's line immediately ramps up to "awesome", the English guy's line slowly trundles its way to "quite good", but the German guy's line just stays flat at the bottom - everything is scheiße.

Having worked with both Germans and French now, i think the Germans tend to say everything is shit because they want it to be better, whereas the French just enjoy being pessimistic.

The thing is, i realized after this current job that i want to be in a workplace where people try to lift each other up. I want that Silicon Valley culture of fun and feedback and praise. Or, at least, i want something closer to it than what i have now. Of course i'm at work to work, and the work is the point, but i kind of miss having guys in the office who are just fucking pumped about whatever it is we are doing. I miss being part of a team that cares.

So thank you, America, for being fucking pumped.

The CEO is an American who's been in China forever and knows how to run a company here. The local sales guy is a German who moved to China back when i was still in high school. Being a sales guy, he's rather un-German. They both have that grizzled expat look that reminds me a bit of my dad. The CTO is a bushy-tailed Stanford guy. Aside from HR there's only 3 other people in the company right now. It's about as startup as it gets.

My real first day will be in December. They are pushing hard to get me on as early as possible because right now the only other dev is a junior guy who doesn't speak great English and could probably use my guidance. I said i do want to take a break in between jobs - not least because i still need to organize my work permit status - but just coming in today, going through the onboarding deck and having lunch with the guys got me excited to see where it's going.

Of course all jobs are exciting to start with...

What's really neat is that it's located in one of the new areas. It's walking distance from SUSTech, which is a brand new research university aiming to be something like MIT. The area is being developed with more greenspace and outdoor dining than the Hong Kong-style developments in my neck of the woods. That makes me happy. I guess at some point it will be gentrified enough to support 27 Starbucks and a Louis Vuitton, but right now it still has plastic stool joints and laundry hanging in the alleyways and a Taiwan-style convenience store that sells cigarettes and betel nuts and real coffee for 5 kuai a cup.

The HR person apologized that the office is way out in the burbs, in a converted factory, next door to a KTV. I dunno. I think i will be okay taking the el train to an area where i can get coffee for under a buck, sit next to the creek at lunch and see some mountains around me. Also, there are bars.

So, you know, so far so good.

🤖
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oh this sounds good. congrats and fingers crossed it stays good for a long time.

I hope so too! I stayed in my first coding job for almost 5 years (minus a year break in the US) but since then I've found it hard to stick to anything more than about 18 months. I know that's fairly standard for the industry, but it might be nice to see a company grow a bit more during my time there.

What does this new company make?

Robots! 🤖 That sounds cooler than it is, because the robotics experts will be based in the US and here in China we're just the 码农 ("code peasants"), but it's still pretty cool.

Haha. Digital Villeins.

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