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outrun
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Re: Post-contract support

April 17th, 2018, 4:18 pm

tw wrote:
So you are to blame for the fact every year I get tapped up for ~30delta Dutch power term APO puts and they never pay up!  ;)


outrun wrote:
This brings back memories!

I once did a project for the Dutch ministry of economics affairs, value exotic options embedded in renewable energy subsidies they handed out.

First, the contract was horrible, it took 3 months to get an agreement, maybe 10 versions.

Then years #2 they again had to price those options and asked me to update outlooks of markets, recalibrate the model and write a new 20 page report. They were willing to pay me 1 day. But since it was kind of important to not make any mistakes (both contractual and reputation wise) and also a lot of work it took me a week. They still paid me me just 1 day and I told them to find someone else next year.

Year #3 they asked me to instruct people from a government research organization so that they can do it. As it turns out the guy who I had to hand it over to was a former PhD student of mine.  He told me they were charging the ministry *a 100 days* for the update!

All in all it wasn't a positive experience, left me with a bad taste.

And I learned my lessons, like Paul said, sometime when thing are complicated from the start then that's a strong indicator that things will continue like that, and then you should walk away.

I think it's very likely that they won't include you in the commercialization process and that you will feel bad. Maybe you should build it yourself in your own time, keep the IP, and make them a partner instead of the other way around (and try to get that agrrement before you start to build it,... Hmm more paper work..)


You trade power?? 
Giving away power puts is fine, it's the calls you have to worry about! This was a long time ago. Dutch subsidies cause a lot of troubles: I remember the time that chopping up large amounts of forests in Scandinavia and shipping it to The Netherlands was considered environmental friendly biomass, and eligible for subsidies. 
 
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Cuchulainn
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Re: Post-contract support

April 17th, 2018, 5:36 pm

Up North they had a similar 'cash for ash' scheme.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable ... ve_scandal

The Northern Ireland system, unlike a capped system in Britain, was flawed because there was no limit on usage and subsidies were over-generous. In short, for every £1 that users spent on their green heating systems, they got back £1.60 in subsidies. It was described as “cash for ash” or “the more you burn the more you earn”. 

A whistleblower said that in one instance a farmer stood to make £1 million over the 20-year term of the scheme for heating an empty shed. The Northern Ireland Audit Office, which slated the scheme, cited how in Britain a business could gain £192,000 in subsidies but in the North the same business would earn £860,000. It is estimated that up to 2036 it will result in an overspend of more than £400 million to be paid by the Northern Executive – and hence the taxpayer.
 
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outrun
Posts: 4573
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Re: Post-contract support

April 17th, 2018, 5:59 pm

Cuchulainn wrote:
Up North they had a similar 'cash for ash' scheme.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable ... ve_scandal

The Northern Ireland system, unlike a capped system in Britain, was flawed because there was no limit on usage and subsidies were over-generous. In short, for every £1 that users spent on their green heating systems, they got back £1.60 in subsidies. It was described as “cash for ash” or “the more you burn the more you earn”. 

A whistleblower said that in one instance a farmer stood to make £1 million over the 20-year term of the scheme for heating an empty shed. The Northern Ireland Audit Office, which slated the scheme, cited how in Britain a business could gain £192,000 in subsidies but in the North the same business would earn £860,000. It is estimated that up to 2036 it will result in an overspend of more than £400 million to be paid by the Northern Executive – and hence the taxpayer.

Bizarre! That sounds even worse.
Policy and Law makers have no clue how to set effective incentives for profit driven organizations.

The public however always amazed me with the catchy names and phrases: "cash for ash", that's brilliant
 
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tw
Posts: 871
Joined: May 10th, 2002, 3:30 pm

Re: Post-contract support

April 17th, 2018, 6:28 pm

outrun wrote:
tw wrote:
So you are to blame for the fact every year I get tapped up for ~30delta Dutch power term APO puts and they never pay up!  ;)


outrun wrote:
This brings back memories!

I once did a project for the Dutch ministry of economics affairs, value exotic options embedded in renewable energy subsidies they handed out.

First, the contract was horrible, it took 3 months to get an agreement, maybe 10 versions.

Then years #2 they again had to price those options and asked me to update outlooks of markets, recalibrate the model and write a new 20 page report. They were willing to pay me 1 day. But since it was kind of important to not make any mistakes (both contractual and reputation wise) and also a lot of work it took me a week. They still paid me me just 1 day and I told them to find someone else next year.

Year #3 they asked me to instruct people from a government research organization so that they can do it. As it turns out the guy who I had to hand it over to was a former PhD student of mine.  He told me they were charging the ministry *a 100 days* for the update!

All in all it wasn't a positive experience, left me with a bad taste.

And I learned my lessons, like Paul said, sometime when thing are complicated from the start then that's a strong indicator that things will continue like that, and then you should walk away.

I think it's very likely that they won't include you in the commercialization process and that you will feel bad. Maybe you should build it yourself in your own time, keep the IP, and make them a partner instead of the other way around (and try to get that agrrement before you start to build it,... Hmm more paper work..)


You trade power?? 
Giving away power puts is fine, it's the calls you have to worry about! This was a long time ago. Dutch subsidies cause a lot of troubles: I remember the time that chopping up large amounts of forests in Scandinavia and shipping it to The Netherlands was considered environmental friendly biomass, and eligible for subsidies. 

Amongst other energies, yep.
The Dutch scheme was actually pretty reasonable and contained a none too obvious gap in the gamma profile of risk averse investors.
But would they ever pay up??  ;)

Biomass still gets the subsidies, ridiculous scandal as it is.

Still, now the EEG has come along and given a whole new level in loopholes and their corresponding funky derivatives. Progress, I guess.
 
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tw
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Re: Post-contract support

April 17th, 2018, 6:34 pm

Remind me, who came up with that beauty? And how did it affect their political career?
Oh for democratic selection procedures with a minimum competency requirement.


Cuchulainn wrote:
Up North they had a similar 'cash for ash' scheme.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable ... ve_scandal

The Northern Ireland system, unlike a capped system in Britain, was flawed because there was no limit on usage and subsidies were over-generous. In short, for every £1 that users spent on their green heating systems, they got back £1.60 in subsidies. It was described as “cash for ash” or “the more you burn the more you earn”. 

A whistleblower said that in one instance a farmer stood to make £1 million over the 20-year term of the scheme for heating an empty shed. The Northern Ireland Audit Office, which slated the scheme, cited how in Britain a business could gain £192,000 in subsidies but in the North the same business would earn £860,000. It is estimated that up to 2036 it will result in an overspend of more than £400 million to be paid by the Northern Executive – and hence the taxpayer.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Re: Post-contract support

April 17th, 2018, 7:03 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arlene_Foster

Arlene Foster, whose DUP is bolstering the current UK government.

The NI Assembly collapsed last year because of this scandal, and for other reasons..
 
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katastrofa
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Re: Post-contract support

April 17th, 2018, 9:20 pm

Cuchulainn, the contract is directly with them. I'm actually talking to their attorney now. They are helpful and make sense (some issues, as it turns out, resulted from the sluggishness of my future collaborators in the project). They are willing to compromise. Thanks for your advice and raising the generally important and useful points.
Regarding the IP, I usually do as you wrote, but in this case - owing to a set of factors and collisions with my future plans (which I'd prefer not to unveil before anyone) - I pass it to them (obviously keeping the moral rights).

Outrun, I'll be even happier if they won't need me for the commercial version, but I think it's likely they will. Once I can tell you more about the project, my stance will become clearer. BTW, forgive my curiosity, you mentioned about your PhD student, while I remember you once said that you didn't do a PhD - did you get one (or am I confusing you with someone else)?
 
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outrun
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Re: Post-contract support

April 18th, 2018, 1:12 pm

Alright, tell us more when you can. I'm interested!

The past & PhDs:

The PhD students was a long time ago, when I had a "proper" job: I was head of research & modelling at a energy & commodity trading firm. Some of the people in my group were PhD students, they worked on new models/approached for the more long term fundamental problems (as opposed to building trading and risk models and the required IT infrastructure we also did, we had a lot on our plate). Instead of funded by the University the PhD students would work directly for me. This meant that they would get a much better pay and didn't have to spend time of non-research tasks (like teaching, cleaning whiteboards and dust bins) which would speed up things considerably, ..and it also improved the success rate: results would go straight into production and had a serious impact. In retrospect that helped *us* but it might not be the best preparation for a role in academia, none of them went in that direction.

I myself am still not sure if I should invest in a PhD, it comes and goes -I even wrote half a thesis as some point, in the evenings-. I guess it boils down to setting priorities and turning left or right career-wise? I've always chose to work as an independent contractor and try entrepreneurial things. I also dont think I can come up with a subject that would still be relevant 10 years from now, so pride would not be a motive for me. The problem is the "why" and the "but what about these other activities?". Now that I'm getting old the "why" might be the nice university 3 blocks away. One of the main reasons *not* to invest in it is the stories about ego's, funds and hostility my academic friends tell me. You have those issues too in corporate environments, but I think less, and even so that's the main reason I became and independent contractor. Before that I tried to solve these things with unusual agreements, the best one was "Outrun always has the option to send his boss to a meeting to represent him".. my former boss came up with that idea, he's a great guy.

What's your view? Have you worked in academia? Are you an independent contractor now? If so, why the switch?
 
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katastrofa
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Re: Post-contract support

April 22nd, 2018, 9:23 pm

outrun wrote:
Alright, tell us more when you can. I'm interested!

The past & PhDs:

The PhD students was a long time ago, when I had a "proper" job: I was head of research & modelling at a energy & commodity trading firm. Some of the people in my group were PhD students, they worked on new models/approached for the more long term fundamental problems (as opposed to building trading and risk models and the required IT infrastructure we also did, we had a lot on our plate). Instead of funded by the University the PhD students would work directly for me. This meant that they would get a much better pay and didn't have to spend time of non-research tasks (like teaching, cleaning whiteboards and dust bins) which would speed up things considerably, ..and it also improved the success rate: results would go straight into production and had a serious impact. In retrospect that helped *us* but it might not be the best preparation for a role in academia, none of them went in that direction.

I myself am still not sure if I should invest in a PhD, it comes and goes -I even wrote half a thesis as some point, in the evenings-. I guess it boils down to setting priorities and turning left or right career-wise? I've always chose to work as an independent contractor and try entrepreneurial things. I also dont think I can come up with a subject that would still be relevant 10 years from now, so pride would not be a motive for me. The problem is the "why" and the "but what about these other activities?". Now that I'm getting old the "why" might be the nice university 3 blocks away. One of the main reasons *not* to invest in it is the stories about ego's, funds and hostility my academic friends tell me. You have those issues too in corporate environments, but I think less, and even so that's the main reason I became and independent contractor. Before that I tried to solve these things with unusual agreements, the best one was "Outrun always has the option to send his boss to a meeting to represent him".. my former boss came up with that idea, he's a great guy.

What's your view? Have you worked in academia? Are you an independent contractor now? If so, why the switch?

It all depends on your goals. If you feel the need to embellish your CV, getting a PhD degree is definitely a fair way. I suspect the paid PhD courses - even at the most prestigious institutions - don't offer much more than that though. The most valuable thing my PhD studies gave me was, simultaneously, scientific discipline and emancipation. It was a good springboard to jet off in my own direction, when I thought there was no place for people like I in Western science. However, after I started meeting so many fantastic - both personally and professionally - people from other fields (statistics, medicine, economy and other social science disciplines), I realised that it was just physics which was precipitously turning into a tawdry showmanship. I'm again gravitating towards the academia - I only avoid working with physics PhDs (they usually have a good entrance or one gig, but then generate more noise than input). If you want to do a PhD as a part of joining the monastery, be prepared your for own winding way.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Re: Post-contract support

April 23rd, 2018, 10:14 am

I would say getting a job in the ivory tower (tenure?) is extremely small these days. PhD mandatory in e.g. maths departments. And knowing people. Cold War is over.

And also "publish or perish" is still valid?
 
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Traden4Alpha
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Re: Post-contract support

April 23rd, 2018, 11:48 am

Cuchulainn wrote:
I would say getting a job in the ivory tower (tenure?) is extremely small these days. PhD mandatory in e.g. maths departments. And knowing people. Cold War is over.

And also "publish or perish" is still valid?
"Publish or perish" is still valid for tenure track. The fundamental problem for ivory tower jobs is gross over production of PhDs. In theory, one tenured professor should have only one student during their entire career -- their replacement -- to maintain a stable population of tenured professors. But, in practice, the professors that I know crank out a new PhD every year or two. Thus, probably 90% of the PhD students are doomed from the start.

It's not unlike professional sports in which there are very few pro job opportunities and very large numbers of young people trying to become a pro.
 
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katastrofa
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Re: Post-contract support

April 23rd, 2018, 3:08 pm

Traden4Alpha wrote:
Cuchulainn wrote:
I would say getting a job in the ivory tower (tenure?) is extremely small these days. PhD mandatory in e.g. maths departments. And knowing people. Cold War is over.

And also "publish or perish" is still valid?

"Publish or perish" is still valid for tenure track.  The fundamental problem for ivory tower jobs is gross over production of PhDs. In theory, one tenured professor should have only one student during their entire career -- their replacement -- to maintain a stable population of tenured professors.  But, in practice, the professors that I know crank out a new PhD every year or two.  Thus, probably 90% of the PhD students are doomed from the start.

It's not unlike professional sports in which there are very few pro job opportunities and very large numbers of young people trying to become a pro.

I don't think 1 PhD student per professor is a sustainable replacement rate for the academic population :-) At my institute, only 5-10% of students enrolling into the PhD programme obtained the degree. Many of them did not want to continue working in that institution or moved to business.


Cuchulainn wrote:
I would say getting a job in the ivory tower (tenure?) is extremely small these days. PhD mandatory in e.g. maths departments. And knowing people. Cold War is over.

And also "publish or perish" is still valid?

I think these are just aches of people who are inept at the job.
 
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terrorbyte
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Re: Post-contract support

April 23rd, 2018, 3:31 pm

One other thing with the "free support". All organizations have staff turn over. Including governments.

You will find that, post project delivery, circumstances will change within the organization and you will be brought back in again to re-train, fine tune, modify based on a changed specification etc. This is particularly true of governments as budgets wax and wane and requirements change.

Don't give this service away free!
 
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Traden4Alpha
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Re: Post-contract support

April 23rd, 2018, 3:46 pm

katastrofa wrote:
Traden4Alpha wrote:
Cuchulainn wrote:
I would say getting a job in the ivory tower (tenure?) is extremely small these days. PhD mandatory in e.g. maths departments. And knowing people. Cold War is over.

And also "publish or perish" is still valid?

"Publish or perish" is still valid for tenure track.  The fundamental problem for ivory tower jobs is gross over production of PhDs. In theory, one tenured professor should have only one student during their entire career -- their replacement -- to maintain a stable population of tenured professors.  But, in practice, the professors that I know crank out a new PhD every year or two.  Thus, probably 90% of the PhD students are doomed from the start.

It's not unlike professional sports in which there are very few pro job opportunities and very large numbers of young people trying to become a pro.

I don't think 1 PhD student per professor is a sustainable replacement rate for the academic population :-) At my institute, only 5-10% of students enrolling into the PhD programme obtained the degree. Many of them did not want to continue working in that institution or moved to business.
Yes, the one-student-per-prof is at the graduation level and further assumes that 100% of graduating PhDs want to go into academia. The universities that I'm most familiar with (University of Texas at Austin and MIT in the life sciences, engineering, and economic departments) seemed to have higher PhD matriculation ratios (maybe about 50%-67%) than your institute did. Those schools really did not want to accept students who weren't highly qualified to complete the program and the programs never had "weed-out" classes or conditions designed to kick under-performers out. In some % of cases, PhD students might downgrade to a Masters if they weren't good enough at research but that wasn't that common.

In the US, there are ethical concerns about the incentives for higher education institutes to accept students who have little hope of graduation or employment. The tuition revenues and "slave" labor offered by students makes them attractive to enroll. Such students may accumulate lots of student loan debt but no degree. Or, they get a PhD but end up in low-paying post-doc or adjunct faculty positions (or drive for Uber).
 
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katastrofa
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Re: Post-contract support

April 27th, 2018, 5:28 pm

I amended the contract in several places, leaving a large margin for my paranoia (2 month support and only on the submitted product). They just said ok :shock:
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