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Adam Bosworth's Talk at the MySQL Developer's Meeting, Six F's

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Mar. 29th, 2006 | 02:12 am

We were fortunate to have Adam Bosworth come to the MySQL Developer's Meeting. Of the different topics he spoke on, one was on his six F system (and we are about to see how badly I can misremember the system more then a week later).

The six F's are:
Fame
Fortune
Family
Fun
Freedom
Force

He measures new hires on these and believes that companies are directed by two of these. The point is to find out where the developers are with their life in regard to these six points during interviews. Companies should define what their two F's are and hire people based on these. The idea is to align both company and people so that there is a clear set of goals. It is all about optimizing and setting the right expectations.

Fame is self explanatory, the same with Fortune (and this is really only possible with those first few employees, after that the measure of this shrinks along with the number of options available). Family is having the ability to have time and relationships outside of one's work time. One clear question that came up during the discussion on these was whether or not people who were focused on family were really right for a startup. There was no collective answer on this.

Fun was defined by having a job that one has fun at. Freedom was the ability to set the work one wants to do. Force was the opportunity to change the world around you through your work.

On a personal note, the most rewarding jobs I have ever had have been the ones where I could say that Force was involved. I can only think of one job where I haven't had force, and frankly I never really felt a part of the work I did there (and I believe I spent more time while at that job doing open source then I have at any other job). I only stayed there a year.

So what should a startup concentrate on according to this system? Adam thought it should be be "Fame" and "Fortune" in the very beginning.

A company like Microsoft? Adam thought it was defined as "Family" and "Force". I pointed out that the games groups were a bit different, and he agreed.

The one thing about living in Seattle is that I gain an insider view into how Microsoft works since it surrounds me. At some point I should really blog on that a bit more, that is what its like to be an open source guy living in the heart of Microsoft country.

Where does MySQL fall into this? Force is our common definer :)

Hopefully if I blow my description of this system, Adam will just correct me in his blog!
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Comments {8}

Konstantin Osipov

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from: kostja_osipov
date: Apr. 1st, 2006 08:43 pm (UTC)
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There are other things to consider: freedom can hardly be exercized together with force. If your work affects a lot of people, you must be very careful when experimenting. Similarly, fortune is rarely granted together with family.
There is a correspondence between this restriction and bazaar vs. cathedral approaches to development. And indeed many features which were contributed due to the itch for "freedom" had bad gotchas. Alas, our freedom is limited.

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Brian "Krow" Aker

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from: krow
date: Apr. 1st, 2006 09:56 pm (UTC)
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Freedom can be exercised with Force if you are in the right position :)

This can be either in running the organization and creating direction, or through doing research at a company that can create force in the market.

BTW think I got the bulk of Adam's comments right?

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Konstantin Osipov

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from: kostja_osipov
date: Apr. 2nd, 2006 04:28 pm (UTC)
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yes

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