Tag Archives: Yahoo

My Answers to the 13 Weirdest Interview Questions You’ll Hear in 2014, Part 3

Over the last two days, I’ve been going through Mashable’s list of the 13 weirdest interview questions you’ll hear in 2014. On the first day, the guesstimate question took a little of time to answer because I had to type it out as I was talking through it out loud. In yesterday’s post, I was thrown for a bit of a loop when I answered why tennis balls are fuzzy (note: tennis balls are fuzzy because, “The felt delays flow separation in the boundary layer which reduces aerodynamic drag and gives the ball better flight properties.”) Today, I’ll answer the last three questions.

11. Can you instruct someone how to make an origami ‘cootie catcher’ with just words? – LivingSocial

Yes. There are two tricks for doing this. One would be to actually make an origami ‘cootie catcher’ and then retell the process to someone else as I’m doing it. The second way, and probably closer to an answer your looking for would be for me to imagine that I were making the ‘cootie catcher’ as I was telling someone how to do it. In this second way, I’m able to flex that part of my brain that is used for spatial reasoning.

12. How honest are you? – Allied Telesis

The research from psychologist and behavioural economist, Dan Ariely, would indicate that I’m at least a little dishonest — as we all are. The degree to which I’m dishonest might vary depending on one’s perspective. I would say I’m more honest than the next person, but the next person might say they’re more honest than me. A testament to my honesty: I’m honest when no one’s looking. There are times in our lives, when we have the opportunity to ‘cheat’ and do something for which we know is dishonest. Of course, as Ariely would tell us, we rationalize our behaviour. In knowing that we have this inkling towards rationalizing our behaviour, I do as best I can to be aware in these moments, so that I can prevent myself from being dishonest. For instance, maybe I don’t take an extra cookie when no one’s looking. Or maybe I am honest about what time I arrived and sign in at the ‘right’ time rather than back-dating my time a few minutes.

13. If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring? – Yahoo

[Note: In arriving at this question at the end, it feels like a chance to say… “there’s always one…” with the implication being, that there’s always one of ‘these’ questions where you’re asked to name some things you’d bring to an island based on certain criteria. This one doesn’t seem to have any specific criteria. It’s also worth noting that there’s no specificity in the kind of island one’s on. Anyways…] If I were on an island and could only bring three things, I’d bring my laptop, my Aeropress, and a surfboard. I’d bring my laptop, so that I could continue to write — I really enjoy writing. I’d bring my Aeropress because — hands down — I make the best coffee using it. And I’d bring a surfboard because I always wanted to learn how to surf.

I’d Love to Get Inside Marissa Mayer’s Head: The End of Telecommuting at Yahoo

By now, you’ve no doubt heard that Marissa Mayer is ending telecommuting at Yahoo. There’s been lots of opinion written about why what she’s doing is wrong and lots written about why what she’s doing is right. In general, I think that the research supports the plethora of pros to working from home, but of course, a blanket generalization across all situations stating that working from home is better than being in the office would be near-sighted. There are two articles that I want to highlight.

The first doesn’t specifically state that what Mayer’s doing is “right,” but does lend credence to her decision:

So when Mayer decrees seven months into the job that she wants people to, you know, physically show up at work instead of telecommuting — or else — I’m pretty confident this reflects a data-driven decision more than a cavalier command. In all likelihood, Mayer has taken good, hard looks at Yahoo’s top 250 performers and top 20 projects and come to her own conclusions about who’s creating real value — and how — in her company. She knows who her best people are.

Certainly, this makes sense. It’s unlikely that the executive team of Yahoo woke up one day and said that we need to bring those telecommuters into the office because they’re not working hard enough!

The second is of the opinion that Mayer and Yahoo might be erring in their decision:

The working-from-home ban also reveals that Mayer doesn’t know how to measure her workers’ performance. Swisher quotes a source who says that Mayer has been “irked about Yahoo parking lots that are slow to fill in the morning and quick to empty by 5 p.m.” This is a classic bad-manager misconception—that a full parking lot means people are getting stuff done. And it’s easy for employees to game that system. If my boss makes it clear that she’s looking for my car in the parking lot in the evenings and on weekends, all I’ve got to do to get noticed is spend a lot of time at the office. Sure, this will ruin the rest of my life, but otherwise it’s easy—as long as I’m in the office, even if I’m just playing solitaire, I know I’ll be making a good impression.

An important point, indeed.

As I said earlier, in looking specifically at this situation at Yahoo, I don’t know which side I come down on. In fact, it’s really impossible to know, unless I could get a hold of the data that Mayer used to make this decision. That being said, based on the research that supports working from home, part of me wonders if the data that Mayer used to make this decision isn’t accurately capturing what Yahoo thinks that it is.

Aren’t We All Just Baby Chicks Following a Mother Hen?

Because of where I live, I have the great fortune of being able to look out my window and see an abundance of roosters. And because of this abundance of roosters, undoubtedly, there are a number of baby chicks. These baby chicks don’t just wander aimlessly across the lawn looking for food or something to do. These baby chicks, instead, are quite deliberate in their actions. In fact, these baby chicks follow around the mother hen. Partially, because their life depends upon it. Maybe not where I live, but in some parts of the world, if a baby chick strays to far from momma, it’s likely to be another creature’s tasty snack.

As I watched these baby chicks following the mother hen, I looked a little closer at their actions. I wanted to see why it was they were following mother around. From what I was able to gather, these baby chicks are following mother around because they’re safer (read: ), but more than that, mother hen shows them what’s foot and what’s not food. This may have been some sort of anomaly, but from the dozens of  minutes I was able to watch (on different days), the hens would go to an area of the lawn and then call the chicks over to where she was (usually a distance of mere away). The mother hen would then begin pecking away at the grass (or something on the lawn) and the baby chicks would follow suit.

I soon learned, just from watching, that this was how the baby chicks were able to eat. Either the mom was helping to pull something up out of the ground or she was identifying what was nutritious for the baby chicks. The mother hen would vary her time in how long she spent in an area. When she left one area, some of the baby chicks would immediately follow her, while others, remained behind (to pick-up the scraps?) As I continued to watch the dynamics of the situation, I began to be able to notice parallels to the news of society.

The different big-branded news corporations (, , , , , etc.) are all like mother hens and us, the viewers, are like baby chicks. When one of these news conglomerates reports on a story, immediately, our attention is drawn to that area of the world. When one of the mother hens calls the baby chicks attention to one area of the lawn, immediately, that is where their attention goes. The chicks run over to see what’s happening. Like the baby chicks, the viewers become immediately concerned with whatever is being reported to them.

When a reporter or hen talks about a certain story, they are drawing your attention to that story. Unintentionally or not, they are also drawing your attention away from any other story that they could have reported on. As the reporter moves onto another story the next day, some viewers move onto the next story with them, while some viewers stay enveloped in “yesterday’s news.” Sometimes, this is for good (maybe their favorite team won a big game) and sometimes it’s maybe for not so good reasons (?)

Being able to watch these baby chicks follow around the mother hen allowed me to see something that is played out in society time and time again. Somebody (the hen) says xyz is important, so instantly, everyone else (the baby chicks) buy-in to the story to see just what xyz about. My point in this story about the hen and the baby chicks is that all of us, in one way or another, is following around a hen. Whether we watch the news on any particular station, read about news on the internet, or get our news from our friends. Regardless, our attention is being drawn to a story (more times than not) because someone said it was important. I think it is paramount to remember that had we been following a different hen, our views, beliefs, and ideas about the world would likely be completely different.