Favorite Story of Student Entrepreneur Ageism

I teach a course on software product management where I sometimes cross over into startup-land. During a recent class, I showed students a rara-talk by a VC, who was trying to convince them to become entrepreneurs. So I asked the class:

Statistically speaking, a 40-year old entrepreneur is much more likely to succeed than a student entrepreneur. Why is this venture capitalist so eager to get you to become an entrepreneur rather than a more experienced person?

After a bit of back and forth, one student finally said:

Well, if it takes 10 years to grow a startup, a 40 year old entrepreneur may not be be able to stick around for such a long time.

I’ve gotten used to such statements and take them rather stoically. A 40-year old PhD student of mine, however, was rolling on the floor laughing.

More Hilarious-Obnoxious Academic Spam

It has been bad for quite a while, but this one is beyond ridiculous. Not a request to submit a paper but a request for a review, on a topic that I have no idea about. Straight from the email:

Dear Dr. Dirk Riehle,

We will be most grateful if you could create time to review a manuscript for the African Journal of Business Management […]

“Explicating and Categorizing the Effects of Copyright Law Violation in Iran” […]

Editorial Office: ajbm@academicjournals.org

From the “how to get a bad name quickly” department.

If Fitbit Sales in Germany are Sluggish, Here is a Reason

A screenshot from Fitbit’s German website this morning. The issue is circled in red, a scale with a “feel-good” weight of 122.5. Amusingly enough, this only feels good if you live in the colonies. Germany is not part of it. Here, the metric system rules, not the imperial one. 122.5 on a scale will be interpreted as 122,5 kg, which amounts to a whooping 270 pounds. So much for getting fit with Fitbit!

The lesson for software design, of course, is that if you go international, you have to be culturally knowledgable and sensitve. And you have to pay attention to detail. That’s what we are trying to teach our students who are working hard to become product managers. Maybe we should add this example to our PM by Case collection?


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How to Recognize an Academic Spam Publisher

I think this is self-evident to the human reader. From an email I got:

Your interesting published article “Erratum to: The single-vendor commercial open source business model” drives me to call for new papers and honorary reviewer, on behalf of Computer Communication & Collaboration, which is an English quarterly journal in Canada.

Oh well… And I’m still annoyed about Springer changing my paper title on their own will.

Dating Design Patterns Skit Script

While cleaning up, I found this copy of the OOPSLA 2004 Dating Design Patterns skit script. The skit itself was, as Brian Foote called it, occasionally humorous. I’m providing it here (before throwing out the paper copy) for the intermittent professional entertainment on my blog. We performed the skit at OOPSLA 2004. Fortunately, I don’t have any photos of this. However, I did find the following photo of the Gang-of-Four celebrating the ten year anniversary of the Design Patterns book. I think the photo is attributable to Brian Foote as well. In the back, you can see the late John Vlissides, still “in costume” from the skit.