March 12th, 2009

Job posting: Time to grow

in: Jobposting, Startups

Roughly 10 years ago, Networkshop was two people trying to figure out what business to build. A couple of years later, the company launched as Coradiant, initially an MSP and later a user experience monitoring company. It was a great experience. Early on, we posted some tongue-in-cheek positions that really set the tone and helped us find awesome employees.

Rednod has lots going on — much of which is related to Bitcurrent and the Complete Web Monitoring book — and it’s time to grow the team. To that end, we’re looking for a program manager. If you’re interested, let us know on Twitter or contact us online.

Here’s a detailed overview of the position.

Title: Program Manager

Location: Montreal, Canada.

Languages: Must be extremely fluent in written and spoken English, since most of the work involves managing and preparing content for U.S. audiences. French an asset, but not required.

Compensation: $30K – $40K, depending on abilities. Flexible work hours and vacations.

Summary: Event coordination, blog management, content research/creation, and content management for an early stage technology analyst firm based in Montreal.

About Rednod

Rednod is based in Montreal, Canada. The company is a “startup accelerator”, helping to plan, build, and launch new ventures with a particular focus on product management and product marketing. Rednod is also the business side of Bitcurrent, a technology research firm that produces events, publishes reports, and writes about emerging technology.

We also work on a range of technology events. We run the annual Bitnorth event, and help to produce Interop, the Enterprise Cloud Summit, Enterprise 2.0, and the SIIA Software Summit. We participate in many other events, including GigaOm’s Structure and Green:NET, Mesh, various DemoCamps, Web2Expo, and eMetrics.

While startup acceleration, event production, and technology research are our three main activities, we’re also actively engaged in new ventures of our own.

What we’re looking for

If that sounds like a lot of different things, well, it is. It’s time to grow the team. But as a small company, adding new people is the most important — and risky — thing we can do. Given the variety of work we’re doing, we need someone who’s just at home coordinating events, generating content, and using the Internet.

For the right candidate, this is a unique opportunity to dive head-first into the technology sector. But if this isn’t the job for you, it’s best for both of us that we know it up front. So we’re going to give you lots of detail about what we’re looking for — much more than you’d normally find in a job description. If you’re the right candidate, you’ll appreciate that. If you’re not, it’ll bore you.

The perfect candidate

Everyone’s got strengths and weaknesses. But here’s what the ideal candidate for the position will look like.

  • Insatiable curiosity: You always want to know why. You believe in “as simple as possible — but no simpler.” You understand things by taking them apart, and then building them back up again. You’re constantly looking things up on Wikipedia, but you check the edit history to gauge how contentious the content is. When you see a graph, the first thing you do is read the axes. You inherently mistrust any graphic printed in USA Today. Despite a desire for the whole story, you still value parsimony.
  • Superlative communications skills: You’re a flawless communicator. You read On Writing Well for fun. You’re a fan of Tufte, and the Lessig style of presentations. You know what works, what doesn’t, when to use long sentences, and when to keep them brief. You can’t look at a menu without correcting typoes. You think that Stephen Fry should be in charge of the English Language, but that Stephen Colbert should be Minister of New Words.
  • Internet acumen: You have an opinion on whether Reddit, Slashdot, or Digg is better. You have an RSS reader, but subscribe to more feeds than you have time to read — telling yourself you’re a better person for subscribing to them. You’ve built websites to understand how they work, but you’re not a developer. You know Google hacks, like how to find things in a cache after they’ve been deleted. You suffer from social network overload. You know how long Twitter messages are –and why. And you’ve used analytics tools, blogging tools, and Google Analytics. Most of all, you learn new technology quickly.
  • Organizational ability: You’re allergic to chaos. You dream in tables and charts. You know what GTD is, but you think it’s a set of suggestions rather than a way to run your life. You struggle with whether to sort your shoes by color, style, or height. You can juggle ten projects at once without letting something slip. You build process diagrams for navigating the local market. Perhaps most importantly, you know how to gently but firmly impose that organization on others, and to summarize complex information for quick consumption.
  • An analytical mind: While you don’t have to be a statistician, you should want to analyze everything. The answer to doubt is analysis — whether that’s a spreadsheet, some web analytics data, or a survey. You know that the only way to improve something is to measure it, whether that’s a website, an Internet meme, or your own job performance.
  • An eye for design: You don’t need to know how to design, but you need to recognize good or bad design — and give objective feedback to designers. You should be familiar with image editing, cropping, and adjustment tools, and with annotating presentations and PDF documents for feedback.
  • A desire to change the world gently: We fervently believe that technology is rewiring humanity. The advent of accessible global digital communications is transforming our species, from how we do our jobs to how we fall in love, from how we learn to how we think. In a few short years, an Internet failure will feel like a stroke: We’ll have lost faculties we take for granted, and won’t know how to cope. While these might seem light lofty, high-minded thoughts, we have to ease ourselves into this transformation. Bitcurrent touches on many of the touchpoints between humans and technology, from public policy to web interfaces to cloud computing to mobility. It’s a fascinating place, to work and think, and you should want to spend time there.
  • A thick skin: Humans make mistakes. Those mistakes are amplified when everyone’s working on a dozen things, traveling constantly, and using short-form, impersonal messages to stay in touch. To survive this, you need a thick skin and an allergy for drama. You need to say what you feel, then move on. Most of all, you need to assume that everyone else in the company has the company’s best interests at hand, until you have reason to think otherwise. This is a critical skill when working in any startup, but it’s particularly true here.
  • A bias for action: Most of all, you must want to create change. Sitting still isn’t an option. You must be the kind of person who sends the first mail, organizes the event, puts the stake in the ground. Some people wait for external triggers to get them started; in this position, you are the trigger. There won’t be much coaching here, so you’ll need to ask for forgiveness instead of permission much of the time.

We’re tight on money, and in this economy, that means it’s a no-frills job. If you’re looking for a nine-to-five position with a predictable income, picture frames on your desk, office Christmas parties, and RRSP co-payments, this isn’t the job for you.

But there are lots of advantages to the position. You’ll get to travel to and coordinate industry events, rubbing shoulders with thought leaders and innovators. We have a decent office with great coffee and 3.5 Gigabits of bandwidth (yes, Gigabits. We like our net fast.) You’ll set the tone for technology discussions. You’ll have flexible work hours and can work from a variety of locations. If you’re looking to think and work on an ever-changing series of projects, some of which may evolve into businesses, this may be a good fit.

What the job entails

As program manager, you’ll have four responsibilities.

  1. Event coordination. This involves working with various organizations to define program content, track down speakers and panelists, maintain a list of industry contacts, and perform research related to those events. It may involve attending 2 or 3 events a year, generally in North America.
  2. Editing and blog management. We’re involved in several blogs for both ourselves and our clients. Each needs a publication calendar, content, editing, and maintenance. We’ll be launching other blogs, which may require Wikis, surveys, and other components. Each has analytics that must be digested and acted upon to increase traffic and make the sites easier to use. In particular, the publication of the forthcoming O’Reilly book Complete Web Monitoring will have a web presence that needs creation and maintenance.
  3. Writing and research. Bitcurrent has published several studies (on cloud computing and content delivery networks) and continues to create content. Sometimes we sell the content; most of the time, we publish it online for the Internet community. You’re expected to contribute to that content not only by editing it, but by finding things you care about and writing them in conjunction with other members of the team.
  4. Content management, storage, and retrieval. We generate a tremendous amount of data, from presentations to audio recordings of interviews, from business contacts to resources and links. This isn’t well organized today, but it needs to be. That means building a content management system that can accept various resources and make the available to Bitcurrent employees and/or outsiders. We’re not going to decide how this will work — that’s your job — but it might consist of a Wiki, a Google Site, a CRM tool, or some combination of them. You’ll be responsible for building, populating, and maintaining this system.

What we promise

This will be a varied, challenging, and fascinating job. We’ll give you authority commensurate with your responsibility. You’ll have a life, and time off. You’ll build things you’ll brag about for the rest of your life. And you’ll learn constantly.

How to apply

Get in touch with us online. Send along a resume, and point us at things you’ve done online or off that we’ll love. We’re looking forward to it.

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