Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

07 Nov 2014, 15:35 p.m.


Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2014 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Sometime in early 2010, I jotted down a few notes that I meant to blog at the time; I've now expanded them into the following entry. I was in between jobs; I think it was just after my time at Collabora, and the year before I started working for Wikimedia Foundation. I'd been in New York City for a little over four years. It's interesting to look back -- I never did turn any of those ideas into a proper conference talk, and I still remember the atmosphere of that evening, feeling out of place of course among the men in business suits in some dim bar, but still connected to them because of what we'd studied together.

Today I thought up some proposal ideas for conferences... [terrible ideas elided]

Today I also reread bits of Rick Yancey's tax collector memoirs, and I went to dinner/drinks with old colleagues, people I'd done the master's in tech management with a few years previous. Basically all guys (and jeez sexism much?). Evidently SWOT & similar tools really work when you break 'em out appropriately (in the midst of chaos, maybe?). And from what these guys tell me, HR is a mess in most big companies; if I can not just catalyse, but teach other people to replicate my success, that's marketable. The interface between a firm & its clients is crucial, but so is the interface between the firm & its employees.

It sounds like one way to keep those corporate accounting and finance skills honed would be to try looking at the financials of a company without knowing its name, and work out what it is.

What do I want in my next job? I should be open to larger orgs, larger than any I've worked with in the past, but I don't want some things I've heard are common in big organizations:

  • stifling bureaucracy
  • stifling political atmosphere that stops necessary things from being said or asked
  • lengthy processes lasting more than 3 months to get rid of an underperformer
Most touchingly, my old classmate [name] said he's forever remembered my interaction with that executive who came to guest-lecture us, about whether he considers himself a success, and would he do it again. Hearing that answer changed his mind. Before coming into the Master's in Tech Management program, he'd thought, "I want to be a CIO of a big corporation." Afterwards: "I want time for family."