Tuesday, May 29, 2012


"Save money whenever possible, and use all the resources you can,"

AOL Palo Alto
Lets say you own a company. Your security chief shows up and tells you a story.

It turns out that at your Palo Alto campus, some guy used a security pass issued to him during a High School incubator class at your company for computers to get into the grounds. He'd been there for several months, living on the campus. He ate at the commissary, showered in the gym and worked out there every morning, did laundry in the on campus laundromat, slept on the couches, and worked long days there. He stayed at the campus for more than a month - the

The security chief explains he kicked the kid out for treating the building like a dorm. What's your response?

Well this really happened. Daniel Terdiman tells the story at C|Net:
"I couldn't afford to live anywhere," Simons recalled. "I started living out of AOL's headquarters."
For someone with neither money nor an aversion to sleeping on others' couches, the AOL building had plenty of allure. "They had a gym there with showers," Simons said. "I'd take a shower after work. I was like, 'I could totally work here...They have food upstairs, they have every drink on tap. This would be a sweet place to live.'"

Note that Simons said he would work there. After his four months in the incubator, he was used to toiling away at ClassConnect inside the building, and with other programs, from the Stanford-focused incubator StartX to AOL's own First Floor Labs also taking up space there, there was no shortage of non-AOL employees shuffling in and out all the time. But Simons was intent on launching his startup, so why not find a desk and pound away for 12 to 16 hours a day?

"There were so many people going in and out each day," he said. "They'd say, 'Oh, he just works, here, he's working late every night. Wow, what a hard worker.'"
After working late there for a month or so as part of an education program, he just began staying there. He took over a locker, packed it with a few changes of clothes, and lived off the campus. Folks knew him but didn't pay much attention to his long hours. He'd head to the gym to work so the guards wouldn't find him sleeping on the couch in the morning, and work after everyone else headed out. He stayed there for free and churned out his own start up on AOL's dime.

You know what I'd do if I heard about this? Hire him. He's clearly a hard worker who is dedicated to getting work done. He's a self-starter with unusual discipline and creativity who uses the resources he's given well. That's an asset to a company.

And here's another story about a hard worker.

Diane Tran is seventeen and in high school. She's in the honor society, and gets good grades. She studies hard and works hard, too. Diane Tran has two jobs she works at to have a home and pay for her sister and brother. Their parents split up and abandoned the kids, leaving her in charge. Her brother is in college and her sister is younger, so she is the breadwinner.

Diane misses school sometimes because of her work, but she always gets the homework done and does extra credit to make up for her lack of attendance. She was arrested and jailed in Houston Texas:
Judge Lanny Moriarty said last month Diane Tran was in his Justice of the Peace court for truancy and he warned her then to stop missing school. But she recently missed classes again so Wednesday he issued a summons and had her arrested in open court when she appeared.
The judge ordered Tran to spend 24 hours in jail and pay a $100 fine. Judge Moriarty admitted that he wants to make an example of Tran.

“If you let one (truant student) run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ‘em? Let them go too?” Judge Moriarty asked.
Local authorities are using her as an example, some say, but Diane is worried this will hurt her desire to get a college education and become a doctor. I get that truancy laws are there to try to keep kids in school. I understand a judge doesn't want to let someone get away with a crime because they're nice.

But I don't really understand how this is an example of someone blowing off school. She's keeping an unusual schedule but she's clearly learning, attending, and getting the schoolwork done. She's clearly not who truancy laws are meant to target, and she's working hard in a really tough situation to get through.

I'm a bit uncomfortable with truancy and government schools anyway. Yes its good for society for kids to get educated, but is it really a criminal offense for a child to not get to school? Worth jail time and a fine?

And frankly I'm surprised AOL makes enough money to have that kind of campus still.

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