Sunday, August 25, 2013

setting up and configuring my pebble

A few months ago I ordered a Pebble. Due to supply chain or manufacturing issues, they're taking a long time to make, so I just received it a few days ago (I think they're now available at BestBuy).

Installation and syncing to my phone was incredibly easy, but the settings were a bit more complex. Basically, I only want my watch to notify me when I'm out and about. I don't need to be notified when I'm at home or at work. And that took some effort.

 On the watch, I made the following changes in Settings > Display:
  • Backlight > Auto / Ambient light controlled
  • Motion Backlight > Disabled
  • Notifications On
  • Font Size > Small
  • Vibration > Enabled (turn this off if you find the vibrations annoying)
On the phone's Pebble app, in the main settings, I allowed it to "Install Untrusted Apps" and "Always Skip Onboarding" (the intro screens).  In the Notifications menu, kept "Always Send Notifications" on; I allowed it to "Send 3rd Party Notifications" and to notify me for "Incoming Calls" only - everything else is unchecked (off).

Then I installed Pebble Notifier (something the main Pebble app should just incorporate).  In Pebble Notifier, I chose the "Exclude selected apps" mode, and then I checkmarked the apps that I didn't want to be notified by (Google Play Store, Google Search, and just a few other apps - if you get notified by apps that you don't care about, check those in here as well).  In Settings, I chose "Notifications only" and "Fetch detailed notifications".  I unchecked "Notify when screen is on".  I also enabled "Quiet time" and set it to not notify me before 6am or after 11pm.

For both Pebble and Pebble Notifier, in Accessibility settings (main Android settings screen), you have to enable both of them, as that's how Android passes notifications to the apps.

For Pebble to work, you have to keep Bluetooth turned on.  Turning Bluetooth off is an effective way to stop the watch from notifying. I ended up installing Locale, which I find to be a useful app for many other reasons, to turn bluetooth off when I'm (1) at home and at work AND (2) plugged in, so that I am not notified in those locations when my phone is charging (when I'm presumably at my phone or computer anyhow).

Saturday, August 17, 2013

career advice

Career Advice

Advice for those starting a career in professional services.

In the fall of 2000, I had just graduated from law school, and I started working for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). I started my career at the tail end of the dot-com economy, when many firms were still hiring warm bodies to fill seats. By spring of 2001, the dot-com bubble had burst, and finance and legal jobs were difficult to find and keep. I ended up staying in professional services (PwC and KPMG) for nine years, leaving for an in-house industry position in 2009.
Some context for those not familiar with the first few years at a Big-4 firm (PwC, EY, D&T, KPMG): Working for a Big-4 consulting firm is tedious work, with very long hours, and a high level of frustration around long-term career paths. When the economy is bad, low performers are quickly targeted for removal, while top performers thrive. My advice for people starting out their careers in professional services, based on my own career and mentoring others, is below.
  • Go to work with an attitude that you are willing to do anything, even outside what you want to do as a long-term career. You want to be the go-to person with the positive attitude. Offer to help, understand what is needed, and deliver the best product you can.
  • Every task is an opportunity to learn, even if how to operate the copy machine more efficiently. Take every opportunity to develop strong skills in many areas. Those diverse skills will pay off many times over later on. Learn broad concepts first, then go for more depth in areas that will offer the best long-term careeer potential.
  • Get to know your co-workers, especially those above you, and even if they seem out of reach. Good quality mentors at the higher levels (including partner) are the key to your success. Seek feedback from them often. At any time in your career if you lack good quality mentors, find new ones. And when you are in a position to mentor others, treat them well. And always be kind to the administrative folks, they know how to get stuff done.
  • Some days you might feel lost, overwhelmed, and frustrated. You might feel like you cannot see the future career you want to embark upon. You may not feel that the opportunity you have is very good, or pays very well. You will want to quit. To quote a YouTube meme: It gets better. If you are focused and take advantage of the opportunities you will be given, it will get better, fast. But you will have to be patient the first few years during what will be a difficult learning curve in a sometimes painful environment. Stick with it, because the opportunities you will have in your career will be beyond what you are currently expecting.
Stay focused on your objectives (the stuff above). Do not be distracted by administrative tasks like the goals you will be asked to set (they are rarely the goals you should be focused on); stressing about chargeable hours (do well and the hours will come to you); the silly policies the firm will set (just a distraction); and the load of other administrative tasks you will experience. Your success will never be determined by how well you do administrative tasks. Just do it quickly, and move on to what your success will be determined by: Providing high quality, deeply technical service to internal partners and external clients.