Barometer: tech

Pedal power

Innovative gadgets geared to the freewheeling cyclist

Blink Steady Light, $125, (US only so far). This sleek new bike light responds to daylight and motion, turning itself on and off.

CamelBak Charge LR 2L Hydration Pack, £59.99, Light, comfortable and able to hydrate you – without any pit stops.

Biologic Bikebrain App, free, Distracted by tracking distance and speed? Leave it to this app and focus on those thigh muscles.

Hövding Helmet, €499 + shipping, A scarf that turns into an airbag in a crash, for those who risk their lives to avoid helmet hair.

Airnimal Joey Explore Drop, £1,329, A commuter gem that’s more of a real bike and less of a toy scooter, but still fits in a suitcase.

Silicon notebook

By April Dembosky in San Francisco

Tips for tips

As the technology talent wars become more heated, one commandment of the engineering brotherhood is becoming more entrenched – thou shalt not reveal the names of thy friends to pushy recruiters. In Silicon Valley, those engineers that are considered the best are often barraged – some might say practically harassed – with job offers.

Morgan Missen

Incumbents are increasingly asked to tap into their social networks to cut through the chaff, as a call from a former colleague is often the best endorsement a hiring company can get. But with engineers on lock-down, protecting their comrades, companies have had to boost the cash bonuses they give employees for referrals – $10,000 to $20,000 per hired computer geek, according to Morgan Missen, a recruiting consultant who has worked at Google, Twitter and Foursquare.

“When engineers are sensitive about being too aggressively recruited, they’re less likely to give up their friends’ contact information,” she said. “Bonuses are an incentive to get less-social engineers thinking like recruiters.”

But money isn’t always enough to cut through the culture clash between nerdy, shy (mostly male) engineers, and gregarious (mostly female) recruiters. “Any headhunter is a worthless, scum parasite,” said Dwight Crow, an engineer who now works at Facebook, but had a terrible experience with a recruiter in the past. “They were trying to turn me on to an inferior opportunity that they were getting paid more for.”

His more recent experience of Facebook acqui-hiring him and his start-up co-founder, chronicled in the new reality TV series Start-ups: Silicon Valley, was more pleasant, but he says he still guards the names of his friends who are considering leaving their current jobs like a “hot stock tip”.

Facebook has its own line of defence against talent-poaching, including a non-solicitation policy that bars recent defectors from helping to recruit their former colleagues for two years. For most companies, the policy is one year. “Facebook is uniquely aggressive in pursuing any violation of this,” Missen said. “I’ve seen engineers and recruiters get legal letters.”

But if recruiters and engineers get more chummy, then there’s usually a way to wink and nudge around such formalities.

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