TechDays 2008 learns the sneaky way of getting me to show up at your conference


The organizers of TechDays 2008 Portugal have decided to lower their standards and invite me to speak at their conference in Lisbon, which by an amazing coincidence takes place during the same week as my appearance at XV Semana Informática do Instituto Superior Técnico (though fortunately not the same day). You don't need to attend both events, since I will be giving basically the same talk at both of them, although the precise mix may vary based on audience reaction, my mood, and the presence of video cameras. (More video cameras means I tell less provocative stories.)

The TechDays folks found a sneaky way of getting me to attend your conference without having to hold it in Redmond: Wait for Raymond to travel to your city and hold your conference while he's there!

Commenter Rick C sort of missed the set-up for the entire blog entry on what it takes to get me to attend your conference. I wasn't writing about conferences where it's my job to be there. Naturally, if it's part of my job, Microsoft will pay my expenses. But as I noted in the base article, going to conferences around the world is not part of my job. My job is to stay in Redmond and bang on code. This blogging thing is just a side activity I do in my personal free time.

If somebody at Microsoft decided that it would be beneficial to send me to a conference (and that someone has the money in their travel budget), then I won't object, assuming it doesn't interfere with my day job. But the odds of that happening are pretty slim, because, as people seem to forget and I have to remind them, blogging is not my job.

Comments (8)
  1. Anonymous says:

    > blogging is not my job

    That’s why I don’t understand why MS owns the copyright. They don’t pay you to blog, they don’t pay you to attend conferences, and they get the copyright to your articles. Bee-zarre.

    [Microsoft owns the rights to any computer-related stuff I produce, regardless of whether it is included in my official job duties or not. Come up with an idea for a new feature? Microsoft doesn’t have to pay me royalties, even though coming up with features is not part of my job. -Raymond]
  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s an interesting contract you must have.  So if you write code at home on your own time, that belongs to Microsoft as well?  Or did you specifically mean any computer-related stuff you produce at the office?

    Not really intended to be a nitpick–I’ve seen places actually try to claim ownership of everything produced by a potential employee/contractor, even if it was done on his own personal computer on weekends away from the office and completely unrelated to his day job.

    Also, go me for getting into the rare category of people who’ve made it by name into a post as opposed to comments.

    [The employment contract covers time of employment. Time away from work is still time employed. And computer-related stuff is not “completely unrelated” to my day job because, well, my day job is also computer-related stuff. Read your employment contract carefully. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there. -Raymond]
  3. Mike Dunn says:

    The situation differs from state to state. In California, an employer can’t claim ownership of anything (even computer-related) that I do on my own time, with my own equipment.

  4. Anonymous says:

    But even in California, an employment contract can prohibit moonlighting and stipulate non-competition. Remedies for breaking the contract can include forfeiture.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I can attest that, in Florida, it is standard employment verbiage that the company owns anything you think of when you work for them.  You also have to disclose any previous inventions, though this is usually so that if you have a preexisting invention they know they can’t claim it.  That being said, it is possible to have a rider or addendum to your employment contract to narrowly define what the company can take ownership of, usually with the language of "directly relates to the business of the employer".  For instance, if I worked for a drug company, "software or algorithms related to creation, management, sorting or handling drugs or information pertaining thereto" is owned by the employer, but the work on porting Doom to a calculator wristwatch would be excluded.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Raymond, with all due respect — it seems natural that readers of the blog build their mental model of you based on what you say here. And it is not very often that you directly refer to stuff that you actually do. More often then not, you enumerate the many things you do NOT do. And even when you do refer to some stuff that you do do, the stuff in question is usually a story from distant past, things like "when Windows 95 came out, I had to fix SimCity’s memory allocation bugs". Of course people are going to assume that your today’s job has more to do with symphonic concerts than with banging on code. ;)

  7. Anonymous says:

    I entirely admire this sneaky trick for getting you to speak. Is there a “where Raymond’s at this year” calendar somewhere, so I know when to schedule events in the hope of being equally sneaky? :)

    [I typically announce those sorts of things right here on the blog. -Raymond]
  8. Anonymous says:

    Yes, pay close attention to employment contracts.  For example, there may be a paragraph that says you’ll testify in any patent or other IP disputes, even years later.  If so, make sure it also says they’ll pay your travel expenses.  Companies claiming copyright on *all* of your output is stupid.  I don’t even keep my grocery lists–I’m surely not giving them  to the company.  Nor my writings in my Valentine’s Day cards.  Yes, all that crud comes under "copyrighted work" in the US.

Comments are closed.