A Nice Way To Celebrate Memorial Day

In addition to remembering those who gave their lives serving our country today, it’s also a nice thing to assist those who made it home and are transitioning to civilian life.

I just backed a Kickstarter project which is attempting to rase the funds to build a “digital library” of educational videos to assist veterans in obtaining the necessary skills to transition to a job in the high growth tech sector.

Here’s the project video. Check it out and if you like the idea as much as I do, hopefully you can support it.

#hacking education

Comments (Archived):

  1. pointsnfigures

    Awesome. Backed. I was at The Bunker’s Muster Pitch Competition in Chicago a few weeks ago. There were some good businesses being built by vets. 49% of WW2 vets came home and started a business.

    1. Mike Slagh

      Thank you for your support!

  2. BillMcNeely

    This is awesome Fred. A digital version of what I thought we need a few years ago “Tech Startups to Veterans: We love You, We Want Some More of Ya” @billmcneely https://medium.com/@billmcn

    1. fredwilson

      you had a lot to do with opening my eyes to this whole area Bill

      1. BillMcNeely

        That’s awesome to hear Fred!

      2. Mike Slagh

        Thank you for your support Fred!Bill, I’m looking forward to reading up on your work and connecting.

  3. sigmaalgebra

    Sorry, Senator Gillibrand’s office, maybe our current POTUS didn’t really, exactly, fully “apologize” in Hiroshima, but to me he insulted the US and our citizens who fought and died in WWII.As inJohn Hayward, War Crimes of Imperial Japan: A Lesson In Moral Equivalence for Mr. Obama 27 May 2016.athttp://www.breitbart.com/na…with in part He [Obama] somehow forgot to mention the evils perpetrated by Imperial Japan or the unspeakable suffering it inflicted upon POWs and civilians who fell into its clutches.Let’s correct that oversight, to help the President understand why moral equivalence is the dim refuge of lazy minds, and equating American troops with the Axis forces they defeated is an outrage. …Pearl Harbor …The Bataan Death March …The Rape of Nanking …Chinese prisoners being buried alive by their Japanese captors outside the city of Nanking, November 1938. …A seven-year-old child bayoneted to death by the Japanese. (Wikimedia Commons)Murdering Doctors and Nurses …Cannibalism and Medical Experiments …Barack Obama treats the bombing of Hiroshima as a unique “evil.” No, sir. It was the end of an evil.Some brave men – tragically, some good men – died fighting for Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. Memorial Day is about showing our gratitude and respect to the heroes who had no choice but to kill them, including the crew of the Enola Gay. They saved a hell of a lot of lives, and souls, on that terrible day. So, today and the post today brings me very close to issues pushed by Presumptive Republican POTUS Nominee D. Trump, Senator J. Sessions, Professor N. Matloff, and an article I just read yesterdayLee Stranahan, Secrecy Zucks: Why Silicon Valley Is Scared of Donald Trump, Part 2 29 May 2016.athttp://www.breitbart.com/te…with in part An example of the revolt against the media goes back years to when one tech worker posted a video that revealed the shocking story of how companies openly and actively scheme to NOT hire Americans.Some years ago, after sending 1000+ resume copies, I gave up on ever being hired. Gee, early in my career in computing, in one two week period I sent a few resume copies, went on seven interviews, and got five offers. Soon my annual salary was six times what a new, high end Camaro cost. My wife was starting her Ph.D. program, and we were saving money rapidly.So, now my role in information technology (IT) is to be a founder using some applied math I derived as a crucial, core advantage. For the software, I just wrote it myself, all 80,000 lines of typing for the production ready code plus more for peripheral purposes. Yup, I can write software. The software all appears to run as intended and now is in alpha test and on the way to going live and making money.Nothing about H1-B can stop me, and I can stop the H1-B people — there is no chance they can duplicate or equal my crucial core original work or its results for my business.Sorry H1-B guys: There’s no place for you in my company or competing with me. Go back to the place from whence you came, plow worn out soils with a starving buffalo and a wooden stick, use the local stream for both drinking water and a toilet, put up with malnutrition, TB, polio, malaria, GI tract parasites, infant mortality, infections, etc. But here in the US, leave us alone. We don’t need you. Whatever you’ve got, we don’t need it. Go back to your degenerate, disgusting country that can’t tell the difference between a crucial water supply and a toilet.GIs: I hope I’ll be able to hire you. Maybe one of the first things you will be able to do is to get on a phone, search and surf the Internet, travel around, collect information, on how we should set up, call it, a video learning center where we can have people give lectures relevant to our work, keep the lectures as video files on our servers, and, thus, let all of us learn what we need to know about, say, site information security, Microsoft Windows Server system configuration, installation, monitoring, management, performance, backup, and recovery, much the same for Cisco products, firewalls, network attached storage, high end relational database, software specification, development, testing, and documentation by teams, how to handle data collected from the Web servers for ad targeting, HVAC for our server farm, etc. All good stuff you can learn to do, and our video learning center will be one good start.Don’t worry: All employees will be US citizens.My project is not just in information technology and business but is also in the USA, and my business will not treat the crucial business inputs and environment it gets from the USA as a toilet but will try to help them and the rest of the USA. Maybe Obama and Zuck hate the USA, but I respect it, e.g., the USA gave me the educational prerequisites and crucial infrastructure I need to have my startup the best in the world.Here in the USA, we are going to hang together or we are going to hang separately. The bitter, nasty practice of Zuck, GE, Disney, etc. of war against US citizens and computer science graduates will stop at the front door of my company. Only US citizens need apply.At one point at FedEx, when there was a new airplane, it got named after the next daughter of a FedEx employee. Gee, in my startup, what can we name after the daughters of employees? Server racks? Ah, we need something better than that. Gotta think of something ….

    1. Lawrence Brass

      Holy cow Dr. Sigma, would you want to have some drinks with a B1/B2? ..in some neutral bar? I really think you need a PR gal at your premises, really soon, pre-launch. 😉 – US gal of course.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        > Holy cow Dr. Sigma, would you want to have some drinks with a B1/B2?Likely not. In grad school, sometimes went for pizza and beer. At times I had some relatively good wines. Otherwise, never had “drinks”! Believe I’ve never been in a bar!I’m just here, 70 miles north of Wall Street in old IBM country doing my startup. Big thing just now? Exercise and work off some winter blubber. The work is fine and now just routine, but the progress has been slowed by some absurd, unpredictable, exogenous interruptions.I suspect that there are plenty of US citizens around here who would make really good employees. I just want to hire only US citizens. Naturalized? Fine. Not a big deal. Not necessarily a PR disaster. I certainly won’t be looking not to hire US citizens.For qualifications, I want them bright, healthy enough to be able to work, not mixed up between their ears, and with good verbal skills. Some significant computer usage is essential. A course in college freshman physics would be good. If they have done some software development, then fine. Else, I can teach them with just blinding speed. Here’s an outline of the core:You write a program and it becomes an EXE file and runs. Your Web browser is an example of a rather complicated EXE. All the EXEs in my company will be (except occasionally for some applied math which is part of my job) much simpler than a Web browser.A program is mostly just a main program and some subroutines (or functions). So, for the main program, divide the work to be done into relatively independent parts, that are meaningful in terms of the main work of the program, and each part becomes a subroutine. The subroutine may divide again. Usually go only a few levels of such divisions.Typically there are also some subroutines or functions of more general utility and not particular to the program. We have a lot of those.The most important part of the work: DOCUMENT the work of the main program and each major subroutine in terms of what it is to do and how it does it. The documentation is more important than the code and, if done well, more difficult to write because have to explain the concepts. Did I mention verbal skills?This attitude to writing code is not the most common one.Within a main program or subroutine, mostly the work is to (A) define and allocate some storage for the data to be used, manipulated, (B) use the three main control structures If-then-else (occasionally select-when), do-while (and other versions of such loops), and assignment statements, (C) assignment statements do the data manipulations, (D) for subroutines, call and return, (E) nearly always handle exceptional conditions in the one, accepted, standard way — look at examples.There is more: (A) Exchange data with other servers via TCP/IP sockets and class instance de/serialization, (B) do SQL queries of the relational data base, (C) make use of some classes with some good functionality already to use from Microsoft’s .NET Framework. But each of (A)-(C) is usually conceptually simple and can be learned well enough at first just by looking at a little documentation and some sample code.For typing in code, use your favorite text editor. I use KEdit but some editors based on Emacs are also popular. This simple approach can take us a very long way.For now we won’t bother with integrated development environments (IDE) or Git servers. Later we will have some guest lectures on more tools and formal approaches to software development by teams.So, we’re talking a few lectures on the basics and then some exercises, a few lectures on HTTP(S), HTML, CSS and Web page layout techniques (right, likely nothing on AJAX or even JavaScript), a few lectures on SQL (our use of relational data base is just dirt simple), a few lectures on the .NET Framework, ASP.NET (Web pages), and ADO.NET (relational database). Part of one more lecture — how not to get confused, afraid, or hung-up, and how to identify problems and get solutions for them.The main programming language for us is just Microsoft’s Visual Basic .NET. It’s a good version of a traditional programming language. It’s syntax is simple and obvious. It’s key words are easy to read, write, and understand. There’s next to nothing about it tricky for a programmer. It’s free or nearly free of bugs. The compiler is easy to use, astoundingly fast, and gives good enough error messages. It’s not very basic and not visual at all. It’s syntax and semantics are all quite traditional going way back in programming languages. The documentation is from voluminous to much larger and very helpful although not examples of good technical writing. Given a really good question, Microsoft is quite good about giving good answers just in on-line Microsoft fora. We have a lot of good sample code and know want’s important — enough to get started and then self-sufficient quickly. It’s a darned good tool.Object-oriented programming? Mostly a whole lot of hype and nonsense from people who somehow like hype and nonsense. But there is value there.Instead of hype and nonsense, a class is a definition of a quite well organized collection of data of different elementary data types in different standard data structures and some subroutines (functions) for manipulating that data. Such classes are nicely convenient. Conceptually a class is not so far from a recipe for, say, beef stew. Can’t eat a recipe; instead, eat an instance of it. Same for a class — the class has no data; instead for some data, allocate an instance of the class.A class can be nice conceptually much as a recipe for beef stew is.A good thing about a class is that can pass an instance to a subroutine. Another good thing — can convert an instance to a byte array and send that via just simple TCP/IP sockets to another program. Nice. And classes were very important in the organization of the .NET Framework.With classes, can do inheritance: I don’t like that and don’t do it.For nearly everything tricky in programming we might need to use, we already have good sample code and documentation. E.g., if you need to dig into interfaces or generics, we’ve been there, done that. Use platform invoke to call some old C code? Done that. If we need more, then we can call for some expert support.Ah, I’ll consider a PC PR person eventually!

        1. Lawrence Brass

          Sigma, I used ‘drinks’ figuratively really, as I usually have beer during summer and wine the rest of the year, in politically correct amounts most of the time. Social networking for me really happens when I am seated at a table sharing some good wine, coffee or food.I am glad your project is chugging along and that your are getting rid of the winter blubber, the last mile is always harder so it is better to be in good shape. As for me, a bit distracted by ‘real’ work that I do to help finance things. This year a curious thing happened, I noticed that my consulting work got ‘contaminated’ by the project I have been working on for the company. Unexpected but quite logical on a second thought. As it is often said, the journey changes you.

  4. heather

    Thanks for sharing Fred. Just backed and shared as well. My special forces brother could have used this support a few years back as he transitioned to post-service life. Online higher ed coursework helped my sister-in-law earn her nursing degree while stationed in Germany, and she is thriving. However, it took my brother much longer to find something beyond the usual defense contracting back overseas.

    1. Mike Slagh

      Thank you for your support Heather – the SF guys I served w/would be true difference-makers at growth stage companies.

      1. BillMcNeely

        Are you coming to Patriot Boot Camp by Tech Stars in Austin this weekend?

  5. bfeld

    Awesome suggestion for the day. It’s nice to be able to do something like this first thing in the morning. Supported!

    1. fredwilson

      that was how i started my day too

    2. Mike Slagh

      Thank you for your support Brad! It means the world.

  6. LaMarEstaba

    I just backed it. I love the idea of connecting vets to tech companies. It looks like they are doing really good work.

    1. Mike Slagh

      Thank you so much for the support – it means the world.

  7. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Wonderful to see these kinds of organizations emerging and helping fill the unbelievable void that is our services to our veterans. Will def be supporting this one.

  8. Jeffrey P Ellington

    This is everything.

  9. LE

    This is a really an awesome idea. I am sure that if they approached a company like USAA, they could easily close out this funding at an ever higher level.

  10. Steve Weiner

    thanks so much for your support @fredwilson:disqus. Eventually everyone leaves the military and we want to especially honor the fallen today (particularly my submarine predecessors who are still on Eternal Patrol). Your words give us strength as we try to do right by fellow veterans. cc @mslagh:disqus @bfeld:disqus