Rogish Reading Writing

Companies, people, products.

How to Setup Eero With Multiple Wired Eero

After upgrading to Gigabit FiOS, I recently setup a series of eero devices in my house, replacing a couple of non-meshed Netgear routers. It wasn’t incredibly obvious how to setup a wired backhaul and so I thought y’all could use some quick pointers, as I got it wrong a few times.

  1. Setup your eero gateway as a wired connection to your internet gateway (FiOS or Comcast router, etc).
  2. Power up the additional eero, and add it to your network with the app
  3. Continue as necessary until they’re all added
  4. Setup a gigabit switch (with requisite CAT6+ cables), and plug it into the gateway eero (not your internet router!)
  5. Relocate eero devices, plug the rest of the eero into the gig switch, power them up

Voila!

A simple network diagram looks like this:

Why I Work Remotely

Remote work is in the news again. Oh, boy.

Cisco saves $490 million by implementing flexi timings for employees

https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/cisco-saves-490-mn-by-implementing-flexi-timings-for-employees-118071301324_1.html

Contrary to common belief, the volume of face-to-face interaction decreased significantly (approx. 70%) in both cases, with an associated increase in electronic interaction. In short, rather than prompting increasingly vibrant face-to-face collaboration, open architecture appeared to trigger a natural human response to socially withdraw from officemates and interact instead over email and IM.

http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/373/1753/20170239

Why do we continually re-learn this lesson? It’s not like we have little data bemoaning the still-popular trend of “Open Office Plans”.

Surprise! Open-offices, primarily designed and implemented by men, are especially terrible for women, too:

It is high time that we consider how the open-plan offices might remove an element of control for the female worker who struggles to extricate herself from a predatory colleague or boss, to include the inability to shut the door on a harasser. Certainly the open space has proven for many women not to be the visibility-protected place many had intuitively assumed it might be. As Jillian Richardson notes, “…while replacing traditional offices may offer greater flexibility and opportunities to collaborate outside your specific field, they also offer few of the same protections associated with the traditional model.”

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/29/architecture-of-the-office-and-the-open-plan-of-the-female-body/

I’ll do the uncouth thing and quote my own post that I wrote back in 2012:

I interviewed at a company that had a giant office (imagine a hundred folks in one room) and one of their engineers proudly said: “We have a generous work from home policy. I love it because I can never get any work done around here!”

http://mattrogish.com/blog/2012/03/17/open-plan-offices-must-die/

I think it’s because most managers – and more founders – lack any particular background in management fundamentals (no, not a MBA). And there’s no real ongoing requirement for a manager to continually “grow” like they expect their individual contributor reports to. When was the last time you saw a manager’s KPI or OKR focused on “do management research” or “read a Deming book”? Yet, we expect – nay, force – programmers to continually learn, participate in open-source on their own time, and generally jump when we say jump. So, we get a lot of managerial superstition and intuition not borne out by the data.

But that’s a story for another day – I’ve been working remotely, in some fashion, since 2011, and in fully-distributed companies since 2014. Remote work has been growing in popularity in the last decade, and I came across The Remote Only Manifesto (posted to Hacker News).

There are a lot of really good reasons for a remote-only company. Of course, I don’t begrudge people that like working in an office. If that floats your boat, great! I just question the current superstition of “we must organize all companies this way, by default”.

I’m more productive at home: I can setup my workspace however I want for optimal productivity without loud conversations constantly disrupting me. I don’t waste hours a day, 52 weeks a year, driving (side effect: less miles/depreciation on our cars!). Whenever I take a meeting downtown and sit in the 30-60 minutes of traffic (each way) I silently say to myself: Never Again.

I also get my weekends back – I can mow the lawn whenever it’s the best time (that might be on a Tuesday at 10am). I can do laundry throughout the week. I can go grocery shopping when almost nobody else is, and get out of there in far less time than during the rush. My weekends are free of common household chores that most other people don’t get to during the week.

These reasons pale in comparison to the biggest reason why I work remotely – that would take a significant pay multiple for me to work 9-5 M-F in an office again: family. I can pop downstairs, whenever I want, and engage with my spouse/kids. I can have lunch with them. I can play with them. My relationship with my kids has vastly improved and grown since I stopped working in an office.

That? That I wouldn’t give up for almost any amount of money. Not everything is – or should be – about increased productivity. We work to live, not the other way around. In 50 years, I hope we look back at the 9-5 “everyone must be in the office” trend as inhumane.

How to Come Up With Profitable Business Ideas

A few days ago I came across this article from Indiehackers (a really cool site!) called “How to Come Up with Profitable Online Business Ideas”. It’s basically a giant list of folks that built something describing their process, which I guess is helpful to some degree, but ultimately feels like it misses the mark.

It opens with:

Interested in building a startup, or starting your own small business to make money on the side? Learn by example from dozens of entrepreneurs who share how they came up with great business ideas.

Immediately we’re missing the mark here – almost all of the quoted entrepreneurs with substantial revenue never sat down and said “What should I build? I have no idea!”. Breaking down the data, I calculated there were 15 entrepreneurs with little or no “domain expertise” (e.g. they sat down and said “What should I do?” or had an “Eureka!” moment) and 17 with substantial domain expertise (worked in the industry for a while that spawned the idea, etc.).

Breaking down the data, we see:

Domain Expertise? Average Rev Min Max StDev
N $9,745 $350 $100,000 $24,512
Y $59,659 $400 $270,000 $73,512

This is not a particularly scientific analysis but it does illustrate the point – if you’re sitting around going “What should I build?” you’re setting yourself up for failure. The pain should be obvious if you have expertise in a field.

Matt’s Oversimplified “How to Come up with Profitable Business Ideas” Algorithm

For a B2B SaaS company, the easiest/most likely1 algorithm to succeed2:

  1. Be embedded in the industry for a while
  2. Make lots of connections, build credibility
  3. Build SaaS app to solve key pain point you experienced in #1
  4. Sell to the folks you know from #2
  5. For bonus points/de-risking: find 30 potential customers (from #2) and reach out to them and validate this idea (Jobs-to-be-Done). Get a handful of them to commit, even verbally, to buy this when you’ve got an MVP built.
  1. Clearly this is not the only way to be successful, but “I have a random idea lemme build it” is a great way to be not successful
  2. Succeed = your business that makes enough revenue to support you and a reasonable lifestyle, equating (and/or eventually surpassing) what you would typically make at a W2 gig, from a diversity of customers and not trading your personal time for money.