Butter from non-dairy creamer

So all day today, because we’re crazy here at Homestead, Kyle Woodward, Bryan Lee, and I are all shaking little containers of liquid non-dairy creamer (Coffee-Mate, if you must know).

Why? My sister-in-law (a PhD and smart girl) once told me that if you shake them long enough, solids will start to form and you’ll eventually get butter.

Yes, from non-dairy creamer.

She might have been totally pulling my chain.  Then again, I may be completely snowing Kyle and Bryan so I can watch them shake mini plastic cups of creamer all day long. Oh, I wish I were that cruel and unusual.

We’re giving ourselves until 5pm today to see what happens. Stay tuned for results.

I love being stupid.

Update: Well, we haven’t opened them yet, and I left it on my desk for the weekend.  We’ll shake again on Monday then open Monday afternoon.

Update again: Well, after several days of sporadic and not very vigorous shaking, we opened them.  No solids at all.  And worse yet, Bryan and Kyle actually pounded their creamer. There is such a thing as going too far, guys.

Now we just need to get an actually butter churn and fill it with non-dairy creamer and see what happens…  Any takers?

And I thought fried butter was a joke…

A few years ago, Elice and I had a (rather rockin’, I think) deep fry party.  Two deep fryers going, a few gallons of oil, wrappers, three batters, several coatings, the works. We joked about deep fried butter but we never did it.  It’s just a joke, right? Who would do it except idiots who do stupid things like try to make butter out of non-dairy creamer?

Well, apparently Paula Deen of Food Network fame; here’s her ridiculous recipe.

I love fried food, but wow.  Wow.  If anyone actually makes this, you gotta tell me how it is.

The Ninth Annual Homestead Talent Show



It’s coming tonight!  I can’t wait!

Homestead has been buzzing (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating) about the Homestead Talent Show the past few weeks. I’ve gone around and harrassed a lot of people into doing something, anything silly on stage.  And tonight, the world will finally see that glorious, mind-boggling talents of otherwise humble Homestead employees.

It’s really open to anyone (all 1 of you who might read this blog but don’t already work at Homestead), so come on by:

Cubberley Community Theatre
4000 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303
7:00 pm

Don’t be late…

Videos will be posted to YouTube sometime in the next few days.

Yup, Facebook advertising isn’t terribly effective


There’s some buzz today about the ineffectiveness of Facebook flyer ads.

I wanted to chime in because Homestead has had some experience with it as well, and we found the similar issues, but it’s not all bad news.

We ran recruiting campaigns during the height of recruiting season to local colleges here (Stanford, Berkeley, Santa Clara), schools where a lot of our employees come from.  To keep things fresh, we ran different pictures to see which would capture the most clicks and resumes.  And to save money (of course), we bought the ads using alumni accounts from each of the schools (getting the rate of 10,000 impressions for $5).  And we did the most targeting that Facebook allows; we set the ads to be run to students (as opposed to “Everyone”, assuming that alum have jobs already).

We didn’t spend much on the test ($315 for 630,000 impressions), but that should be enough for a decent test. And the results weren’t great:

Our best return was from Stanford, where we got a whopping 207 clicks from 270,000 impressions, or 0.077%.  That’s almost twice as much as Valleywag is seeing, but it’s still not great.  Do the math, and you get a CPC of $0.65.

A CPC of $0.65 is really not that bad, in the grand scheme of things. There are a few things to keep in mind.

  • If you’re not a member of the school/community your advertising on, the price shoots up four-fold to $10/5,000 impressions, meaning your CPC would be a miserable $2.60.
  • Use a decent picture at the top of your Flyer, something that will stand out.  If you take a look at the Flyer board for your network, a lot of the Flyers are just text, or have bland images.

HiddenNetwork: Blog recruiting not ready


So we’ve been recruiting pretty aggressively here at Homestead in every department; of course, I’m most involved in the engineering positions. We’ve tried tons of things, and we continue to experiment.  We recently tried HiddenNetwork.com.

HiddenNetwork.com allows you to submit a job listing that they will show on their network of tech/developer blogs.  It costs $299 to show your listing “tens of thousands of times” (they claim it’s $500 retail but they’re running an indefinite promotion).

Unfortunately, I have to report that it didn’t work at all for us.  We submitted our recruiting ad 5 weeks ago, paid our $299, and so far we’ve received all of 2 resumes, neither of which came close to meeting our needs. And when you go through literally many hundreds of resumes to hire a single engineer, two resumes for $300 is pretty much a total failure.

Maybe the ads weren’t appealing enough, but we’ve had more success with similar copy with other channels of recruiting ads. I think that blog recruiting just isn’t targetted enough; eventhough these blogs are being read by geeks, it’s not targetted enough to geeks looking for work to be worth it for smaller companies like ours.  If we were willing to spend more money for just “brand marketing” for recruiting, it would make more sense.

Disappointingly, for a site that caters to high tech recruiters and high tech blog publishers, it’s surprisingly low tech. As an employer, there are shockingly few resources on the site: there’s no way to see our ads on the blogs themselves, no reporting of where and when my ads appeared, no reporting of click-thru, no reporting of forms filled, no reporting whatsoever.  It makes you wonder if they’re not reporting anything because they know that click-thru is so low.

Even more disappointing was this bizarre footnote to our experiment. I recently tried to log in to the employer portal but had forgotten my password. Amazingly, there was no “Forgot password” functionality to automatically retrieve my password (Strange…).  I had to call their number where a support rep (or someone) told me they didn’t build “Forgot password” functionality because they were waiting to see if anyone wanted it (Huh?).  He told me I was the first person to request my password (What?!).  Then, he asked for my email address, and told me my password with no security questions or authentication (Now, it’s just surreal!).

It goes without saying that we won’t be going back to HiddenNetwork. I really hope they figure it out. But right now, I just want our money back…