Product Management

As a Staff-level Software Engineer, this post by Joel Spolsky best describes my standard of excellence for Product Managers – mostly in terms of the degree of attention to detail and technical aptitude that I would expect from a self-respecting, ambitious Product Manager.

Even though Joel is talking about his experience as a Program Manager at Microsoft, most product managers I have worked with at Google and elsewhere function at least partly in the space of a Microsoft Program Manager as described here.

The Software Business

I was reminded today of a quote by Bill Gates I had read 6 years ago in then-Sun Microsystem’s just-ex-CEO, Jonathan Schwartz. Here it is:

The software business [is] all about building variable revenue streams from a fixed engineering cost base

This is from Schwartz’s Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal post, which is also very informative about how Software Patents are used in practice.

The above is an important definition for everyone involved in building software to keep in mind and never lose sight of.

Acting Classes in LA

I finally went over my notes today and pulled out all the LA Acting class recommendations we got from Deb Fink at her Audition Workshop in the SF Acting Academy last year. Here is what I uncovered.

Deb Fink had also recommended we watch the Catastrophe 2015 TV show. Not sure how this is related but it came up in my notes, I have been seeing ads for this show everywhere since I moved to LA, and the show is NOT on Netflix or iTunes.

Finally, there is the Baron Brown Studio for Meisner technique in Santa Monica, which a Google search uncovered before I had a chance to look over my notes.

WordPress on AWS


I had been running my WordPress blog on a shared hosting account at for the last eight years, when about a month ago I decided to consider alternative solutions. In particular, I wanted to see if I can lower the cost of running my site. Here was my starting point:

Web Hosting from $71.40 / year (paid in 2-year increments)
Domain Registration from $10.87 / year
SSL Certificate from (promotion) $1.99 / year

Given that my blog gets very low traffic, I decided to give AWS a shot. With microbilling, I thought I should be able to drive the cost of my hosting even further down from the already low $6.86/month at hostforweb (for comparison, a blog hosted on costs $8.25/month, billed yearly, and that does not even include google analytics integration, which I can easily add for free to my self-hosted wordpress site).

TL;DR; I was wrong. Hosting on AWS is more expensive with a lower level of reliability, scalability and higher management overhead.

Just the cost of running the t2.micro VM instance is $9.36/month, and that does not include the cost of the RDS instance and the ELB.

I will share the details of my experience in a later post.