Online Relationships: Brains Are All Around You
Last updated: 6/25/2002; 5:11:24 PM
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Online Relationships: Brains Are All Around You

I just ran into a situation that really pointed out to me just how true the statement from Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems is: "There are more brains outside your organization walls than inside".  And I thought it was an interesting commentary on how an initial nebulous, ephermal IM relationship grows over time and then just saves you when you need it most.


I got back into PHP in a fairly big way in the end of March 2002.  I signed up for the php-general mailing list and was the initiator of an effort to make a better FAQ.  As these things happen, I wrote the FAQ application but it never really got deployed.  A new client came in, that code got a bit sidelined and so on.  I just never got back to i.

However, along the way, I started exchanging instant messages (IMs) with someone named Demitrious Kelly.  Now, at the time, I had no idea who he was, age, male or female, geography, etc.  I just had the gut feel from about the 3rd IM that he was just smart and practical.  This is a combination that I am very, very fond of – brains without practicality brings systems down.  And practicality without brains doesn't let you get things done quickly.  I've probably hired between between 70 and 100 technical people in my career so I'd at least like to think that I know talent when it walks up and taps me on the back.  (Disclaimer: I've only had to fire maybe 3 to 5 people out of that, at least two of whom were rescue transfers from other departments, so that's a pretty good batting average).

As the IMs Went On

This has continued now for about 3 months.  We kept IMing at random times.  We'd swap php stuff, I'd point him to my blog and so on.  He'd point me to his web site,, when he had something cool and so on.  I learned that he had a background doing SysAdmin work for an ISP that sold out.  We debated different Unices and Linices and he turned me on to the very cool GenToo Linux.  He also gave me some outstanding advice on a difficult situation that I mulled over for a few days and then followed – and it was 100% the right advice.

And then Today I Needed Help

Over the weekend and mostly today I brought up a new box at RackSpace to replace an incompetent, inept,  brain damaged, pathetic excuse for an ISP (no … I don't feel strongly here).  And when I needed some quick Linux and Apache help today, he was online and " Poof" – like magic I had my answer in about 2 minutes (it might actually have been 1).  Could I have figured it out on my own?  Sure.  It might have taken 10 minutes or an hour but I could have done it.  Thankfully I didn't have to.  Saving time like this is critical for a startup, heck, for any company.

Conclusion and a Plug for a Good Guy Who's Now Freelancing

So I really do have to agree even more with Bill Joy – the brains aren't within your own walls.  They are discrete nodes located all over the globe.  And, if you need them, they'll help you.  This is tremendously cool since all of our organizations are both concurrently larger than ever (HP and Compaq) and smaller than ever (well, me and my partner).  And all of our organizations can always make use of fantastic specialized talent at different times.  What I know about search engines, Demitrious knows in his areas.

I also just recently found out that Demitrious is freelancing and doing PHP scripting, Bash scripting and generalized SysAdmin work for hire.  As far as I am concerned, he's worth it – and I also wouldn't have any qualms about giving him access to my boxes for what it's worth.  He knows what he's doing and he's been great to me. 

So I am definitely biased here but he's still worth a plug.  Highly Recommended.

About Demitrious

Main Site:

Artistic Site: (no, no, no – It's not what you're thinking – he writes poetry).


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