Posts tagged “job”

Portigal Consulting welcomes Tamara Christensen

Today we’re pleased to welcome Tamara Christensen, coming to us all the way from Kansas City!

Tamara most recently headed up design research and directed integrated innovation efforts at R&D/Leverage. In her last gig she learned to play nice with both designers and engineers, and provided their culture with a creative fuel-injection. In addition to her love of research, Tamara has a few serious crushes on facilitating and teaching. She has taught at the University of Kansas and Arizona State University and given workshops on research and creative problem solving. Tamara is currently passionate about helping her son design the (am)bush costume of his dreams for Halloween and speaking at the upcoming Oklahoma Creativity Forum on November 1.

We are giddy with excitement over Tamara’s arrival.

Welcome to the team, Tamara!

ChittahChattah Quickies

The Unemployed Worker’s New Friend: Outsourcers [WSJ] – As consumers are exposed to automation, bots, telemarketer scripts, recommendation engines, semi-personalized banner ads, and other intermediaries, is it any wonder that they will begin to harness those tools for their own ends? And perhaps tolerate misfires on their own behalf? The exploration of what can’t be outsourced continues.

For a $10 monthly fee ($40 for the first month) an automated service called sent out more than 500 job applications in five months on Mr. Moomjean’s behalf. Within a day after a job opening hit the Web, the service scanned it for certain keywords. In Mr. Moomjean’s case, the words included “sales” and “retail.” If the listing was a match, the service would fire off a résumé to the employer without so much as showing it to the applicant. MyJobHunter is unique in its reliance on software. Customers of pay $30 a week to have their job applications sent out by workers based across the U.S. and abroad.

At, candidates pay up to $98 a week for one of a team of workers in Visakhapatnam, India, to find openings and apply for jobs. Many of JobSerf’s workers join the company because their English is too rudimentary for them to work in a call center, says CEO Jay Martin. So language difficulties do crop up. When JobSerf six years ago first tested its service with a few U.S. executive clients, its Indian workers applied on their behalf to a number of adult-entertainment companies.

The shotgun approach to applications has other drawbacks: When recruiters call candidates about a job, they often don’t realize that it is something they have applied for. A district manager for a Krispy Kreme doughnut franchise was taken aback when she called Mr. Moomjean about his application only to learn he had no idea what she was calling about. “He didn’t know who I was or where I got his application,” recalled Melissa Surby-Curtin, the franchise group’s district manager. “I thought ‘Oh, this isn’t a good start.'”

In a span of 240 hours over three months last summer, JobSerf’s staff applied to 711 jobs on behalf of IT manager Colin Campbell, 34, of Cincinnati. Mr. Campbell said he got dozens of calls from potential employers. But he didn’t get his current job that way; he got it through a personal connection. On a single day last summer, Greg Moffitt, 47, of Houston, sent out more than 100 applications via MyJobHunter. An irritated recruiter, who got his résumé three times, eventually called to ask him to stop.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Awful elevator panel design [Boing Boing] – [Another entrant in what is becoming a theme on this blog: how-complicated-does-it-have-to-be-to-go-up-and-down?] Robyn Miller took this photo of a poorly designed elevator control panel.
  • [from julienorvaisas] David Hockney’s instant iPad art [BBC News] – [Now that's a convincing interface and experience.] "Who wouldn't want one? Picasso or Van Gogh would have snapped one up," the artist David Hockney tells me at the opening of his latest show in Paris called Fleurs Fraiches, or Fresh Flowers. "It's a real privilege to make these works of art through digital tools which mean you don't have the bother of water, paints, and the chore of clearing things away," he says. "You know sometimes I get so carried away, I wipe my fingers at the end thinking that I've got paint on them."
  • [from steve_portigal] Doonesbury Turns 40 [Rolling Stone] – [One of the most surprising bits in this Chip Kidd interview with Garry Trudeau. As consumers, we constantly make the mistake of conflating the artist with their art, the producer with their product. We know the material – sometimes very well – and so we really think we know the maker equally well. Trudeau reminds us, once again, that in least one critical way, we don't] I'm never happier than when I'm not working. The strip is a job ­ that's why I take money for it. It's a job I'm passionate about, but it's a job I totally leave in the studio when I walk out of here, unless I'm late and I have to work at home. I never think of the strip unless I'm compelled to.

Portigal Consulting welcomes Wyatt Starosta

We’re very excited to welcome Wyatt Starosta who has joined the Portigal Consulting team through the rest of 2010.

Wyatt is a Bay Area returnee, recently back here after several years in Columbus where he worked as a design researcher at Lextant. He finds himself taking pictures of manhole covers lately (a seemingly random noticing act that we can all relate to), negotiating social norms with the doggie parents at local dog parks, and exploring interpersonal dynamics in the Bay Area’s casual carpooling scene.

Welcome, Wyatt!

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] ALT/1977: WE ARE NOT TIME TRAVELERS [Behance] – [Alex Varanese's thought-provoking concepts go beyond blogosphere-hipster-silliness to really provoke reflection on design and functionality often taken for granted] What would you do if you could travel back in time? Here's what I'd do after that: grab all the modern technology I could find, take it to the late 70's, superficially redesign it all to blend in, start a consumer electronics company to unleash it upon the world, then sit back as I rake in billions, trillions, or even millions of dollars. I've explored that idea in this series by re-imagining four common products from 2010 as if they were designed in 1977: an mp3 player, a laptop, a mobile phone and a handheld video game system. I then created a series of fictitious but stylistically accurate print ads. I've learned that there is no greater design element than the anachronism. I've learned that the strongest contrast isn't spatial or tonal but historical. I've learned that there's retro, and then there's time travel.
  • [from julienorvaisas] 10:10 Tags Symbolize Committment to Climate Change [] – [The fact that this tag is tangible but also symbolic rather than overt, and versatile enough to be carried on the body as a daily reminder of a commitment to the cause of climate change can help change behavior and improve compliance, as well as subtly telegraph solidarity.] The 10:10 Tag is made from a recycled jumbo jet, and can be worn on the neck, wrist, lapel or leotard to symbolise your 10:10 commitment. Whether you pin it to the lapel of your business suit or thread it through the laces of your skateboard trainers, your 10:10 Tag shows others that not only do you know how to accessorise; you’re also part of the solution to climate change.
  • [from Dan_Soltzberg] Grateful Dead scholar in heaven at UC Santa Cruz [SFGate] – [More big things happening at my Alma Mater] The ultimate job in Dead-dom is in Room 1370 at McHenry Library at UC Santa Cruz. The door is marked by the steal-your-face logo, and superimposed over it reads the name Nicholas G. Meriwether, Grateful Dead Archivist.
  • [from julienorvaisas] Ariely’s Upside of Irrationality: using irrational cognitive blindspots to your advantage [Boing Boing] – [We've seen the principles of behavioral economics applied to help us understand and explain consumers irrational choices in a business context, now here's a self-help book helping us apply them to our own everyday lives.] Upside of Irrationality is a mostly successful attempt to transform the scientific critique of the 'rational consumer' principal into practical advice for living a better life. 'Mostly successful' only because some of our habitual irrationality is fundamentally insurmountable — there's almost nothing we can do to mitigate it.
  • [from steve_portigal] Text 2.0 – What if your book really knew where you are gazing at? – [This is essentially one of the concepts we proposed from our Reading Ahead research – where an eyetracker in a digital book manipulates the text dynamically based on your gaze. In our use case, we addressed the interrupt-driven commute reading revealed by our research. If the book saw you looking away, it could mark your spot to enable more efficient resuming]
  • [from steve_portigal] Twitter a hit in Japan as millions ‘mumble’ online [Yahoo! News] – Japanese-language Twitter taps into a greater sense of individuality in Japan, especially among younger people less accepting of the Japanese understatement and conformity. 16.3% of Japanese Internet tweet 16.3% (vs. 9.8% in US). "Japan is enjoying the richest and most varied form of Twitter usage as a communication tool…It's playing out as a rediscovery of the Internet.” It's possible to say so much more in Japanese within Twitter's 140 letters. "Information" requires just 2 letters in Japanese. Another is that people own up to their identities on Twitter. One well-known case is a woman who posted the photo of a park her father sent in e-mail before he died. Twitter was immediately abuzz with people comparing parks…"It's telling that Twitter was translated as 'mumbling' in Japanese," he said. "They love the idea of talking to themselves," he said…"In finding fulfillment in expressing what's on your mind for the moment, Twitter is like haiku," he said. "It is so Japanese."

Wanna work with Portigal Consulting?

We’re looking to bring on a Director of Business Development. If you are interested, let us know. If you know someone else who might be a good fit, please let them know!

About the Job
Portigal Consulting is preparing to enter a new stage of growth and needs people who can bring the right set of skills to guide that growth. As with many small consulting firms, the key abilities we have in-house revolve around the consulting work, not the business of the firm. Indeed, we are asking for a combination of sales and marketing and business development, related but often separate job functions.

Although responsibilities will be customized to the strengths of the candidate, they will likely include a mix of (in descending order of priority)
* lead generation
* sales calls
* evolution of service message
* proposal writing

We envision a 3-month contract, with the possibility of extension or full-time, depending on results and interest.

Location is not an issue.

* Experience in a professional services setting (creative services such as design a plus)
* Experience in generating new business
* Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
* Excellent organizational skills
* Comfortable with Internet communication tools (email, IM)

About Portigal Consulting

Founded in 2001, we are a boutique agency, based in the coastal community of Montara, CA, 25 minutes from San Francisco, and 30 minutes from much of Silicon Valley.

Our clients come from a range of industries and include both B2B and B2C programs. Recent clients include: Avaya, BIC, Bosch, Chevron, France Telecom-Orange, GE, Hewlett-Packard, Nestle, SC Johnson, Shure, Sony, and WNBA.

Portigal Consulting brings together user research, design and business strategy to help innovative companies discover and act on new insights about their customers.

We conduct contextual research with target users in order to uncover their unexpressed needs. We then develop a suite of concepts that can address those needs. We also work with organizations to help them introduce or expand their customer-centric design and development processes, including training and facilitation.

Send a resume to hr AT portigal DOT com. Important: include a cover letter about yourself, your relevant experience, and what you would like to bring to the role.

Memories of technology days gone past


Ticketmaster Canada confirmed Friday it is shutting its only unionized call centre in Toronto, along with centres in Vancouver, Calgary and Red Deer, Alta.

I worked at Ticketmaster’s Toronto office (not sure if it’s the same actual office – probably not) as a Night Run Operator back as an undergrad, I think it was 1987 or so.

I would go in on Friday nights and sit there with the computers in an empty office doing homework or listening to the radio. I would wait until all the box offices had closed – around midnight, and then run a bunch of “scripts” and get printouts and move these enormous cake-box sized disc packs from one VAX drive (about the size of a small dishwasher) to another. I had no idea how any of it worked so when something broke in the scripts I had to start paging the regular IT staff who were always drunk and wouldn’t call back forever.

I don’t know why I took this job; it seemed cool. I knew other people that worked there, both doing what I did, or even answering the phones. I got second-dibs on tickets, before they went on sale, and I think that’s how I got 4th row Rush and 12th row Yes or something like that – at Maple Leaf Gardens.

The drives looked something like this
and the discs themselves were

You had to rotate that handle a number of times and then pull it straight up. Sealed inside were many platters of magnetic media that gave the whole assembly it’s capacity. They had two systems running that recorded each purchase transaction, and I would run a backup from A->B and something else, every night.

One guy I worked with had figured out how to purchase General Admission tickets – for free – in between one of the backup stages and then would overwrite any record of it during the backup stages. Since there were no seat assignments, it wouldn’t be very detectable – yeah the overall ticket count sold versus number of arriving guests would be off, but it was GA, so who’d notice? I was horrified at the dishonesty, actually.

And I think we had, in the computer room, these DECwriter terminals.
They weren’t for regular operations but if something went wrong, that was what you had to use to interact with them – but mostly they spat out many pages of transactions – you could see, on paper, every ticket purchased that day. If you worked on a day when a big show sold out (i.e., Floyd) then you would be there a long time while it generated output for each purchase. Name, address, credit card info, etc. And it could take a long time for the credit transaction to be verified – it didn’t happen in real time, so the transaction could go through but you wouldn’t get your tickets sent out in the mail because it would turn out that your credit was no good. I think they had someone who would call you up and talk to you in that case.


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