Stupid fast.

February 19, 2008

The office building we moved into in Portland has a full blown data center upstairs, from which Intrigo leeches Internet for use in our day to day web browsing. The connection is, technically, “stupid fast.”

We, of course, exchange currency for the privilege but it’s not really fair to call this trade agreement between us and our provider a “business transaction.” When one divides the massive width of the pipe that’s sputtering bits at our desktops by the loose change we occasionally toss upstairs to cover our bill you’re left with quite an absurd ratio, the mathematics of which are perverse. If these bits-per-seconds were things that I could bottle up and sell to you at fair market value in Tucson I would want for money no longer.

In the interest of full disclosure I should note that up until this morning I was the only one employed in our Portland office. Today our first new development hire in Portland joined us (and tomorrow our second!). It would follow that with each new addition to our team I will have to start sharing and keep for myself a smaller and smaller fraction of our bandwidth.

I can’t, though, imagine that happening at any appreciable level, barring any major changes to the laws of physics or of OSHA that would concede a generous increase on the limit of allowable employees per square inch.


Intrigo is looking for experienced PHP, JavaScript and CSS developers in the Tucson area.

If you have a passion for usability and a desire to make software that makes a real difference to the people that use it then we really want to hire you!

Intrigo make web applications nearly exclusively. Our client base is over 50% start up companies, so you’ll be working on some of the most innovative and interesting projects out there. The solutions we build are cutting edge in their respective industries (and on the web in general) and we want to hire people who are ready to try new things with web technology.

Our team is 12 people strong right now, split amongst developers, designers and support staff. We have some of the most talented artists and developers in Tucson who take a real pride in their work. It’s a great environment to work in.

We pay competitively with the industry giants, but instead of being just another face on a campus of thousands you’ll be working with a small team at a young and growing company working on exciting projects. (Intrigo is two years old this coming March with plans to open a second office in Q2 2008). We don’t ever expect anyone to work overtime and we’re able to accommodate for school or flex schedules. Our office is centrally located: near the corner of Broadway and Campbell.

We’re open to hiring college graduates who are planning on staying in Tucson after graduation. Current students are also welcome to apply, but we’re only interested in part time if you’re able to commit 25 hours or more per week and have strong web application skills already.

It’s come to my attention recently that I hate server administration. Ok, so maybe that occurred to me not-so-recently. I just know that I would rather spend the rest of the entirety of my life coding than spend the rest of my week configuring Apache. Ok, so that’s a lie, too. But only kind of.

In any case, while I don’t really spend that much time inside of Linux configuration files, it’s enough to annoy me, and if past performance is any indication of future growth (which it’s not, just humor me) then my work time is about to get a lot more configurey. (I’m vying for the worst made up word ever, how’d I do?).

So, I’m entertaining the idea of bringing on a part-time Linux server admin to take over the crap that I hate doing to play an important and appreciated role on the Intrigo team. Our needs are fairly modest: we make web applications, mostly for small businesses. We have just a few servers, some internally to support our staff, development and testing and some outsourced to host our clients’ applications. It’s been a little over a year since we started, however, and the limitations of our setup are… *ehem* starting to show.

So, if you or anyone you know (forward this on to geeky friends looking for work) might have what we’re looking for, let Michael or I know! Also, we’re always looking for highly skilled programmers (especially those already trained in web development).

And oh yeah, here’s as close to a ‘job description’ as I’m going to write tonight:

Position Info

Intrigo is looking to hire someone part time (or as a contractor) to manage our internal Linux installations. We need someone who has experience or can easily pick up:

Subversion. Our developers use it for source control, but we want to add Apache WebDAV support for our non-technical staff and make it integrate seamlessly into Windows/OSX (both OSes seem to support this, sort of).

Apache/PHP – pretty typical installation. Currently we outsource our web hosting (dedicated boxes, but no root). We’re considering putting a couple of our clients on our own boxes (either in house or co-location), mostly because our clients’ applications are outgrowing our dedicated boxes (and even then our host is not what I would call a ‘dedicated box specialist’) but also because we want the extra flexibility that comes with being able to configure our environment. We’re also considering virtualization, but have limited experience with it, so if you have experience there (good or bad!) we’d love to hear about it.

MySQL – just the basics here, though we anticipate needing rudimentary replication and/or clustering within 6 months.

Shell Automation – If you’re really good at shell scripting and process automation that’s a huge plus.

Also, probably some really esoteric and critical piece of software that I’m forgetting.

Commitment would probably be 10 hours a week or intermittently as new things arise. 20-30 hrs/week if we get some really big ideas or if things on our current hardware gets out of hand more quickly than expected.

Send emails to Michael Kelly ( or myself (!

Kathy Sierra, author of Creating Passionate Users blog, contemplates: “If your app was an employee, what kind of employee would it be?” It’s an interesting and intuitive way to step back and think, is the software I’m writing a pain in the ass?

Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards–and living up to them–is a better way to profit. Not to mention a better way to make your day worth all the effort you put into it.

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