Becoming *that* vendor



  • There seem to have been plenty of stories here with a bit about the clueless salesguy coming in and doing his big pitch in front of the team, the team laughing about how terrible the solution is, and the company just buying it anyway. I suppose I sometimes play the role of Inedo salesguy… and I can't help but wonder if they see it this way.

    Last week, I was doing a BuildMaster presentation/demo in front of maybe a dozen people from different groups in a large (public) corporation. When I got the the appropriate slide, I did my spiel about how "BuildMaster is more than a deployment tool, it increases collaboration among different teams while automating and facilitating the entire software delivery process – all which leads towards better software faster."

    Before moving to my next slide, someone jumped in and asked "how does that help? I don't really agree with your premise."

    "Umm," I was a bit surprised, "I'm sorry, what specifically?"

    "Increased collaboration," she clarified, "what does collaboration have to do with software quality?"

    "Well, I mean, it's not that collaboration will help developers write better code, but it's really important for the delivery process. A lot of teams are involved, and getting them on the page makes the whole process move faster and better."

    "Each teams has their own responsibilities," she objected, "they have their deliverables, and our problem is in the quality of deliverables. How is collaboration going to help?"

    "But that's where collaborative automation came in," I responded, "your devs simply point your release engineers to a build, who then write up deployment instructions for ops, who then write a script to deploy it. When it doesn't work, everyone blames each other. Collaboration tears down these silos, and—"

    "These so-called silos are teams, and this is how teams work in big enterprises. They deliver things to other teams. Our devs write poor code, our release engineers write poor instructions, and our ops write poor scripts. If you think having them collaborate will help, you just don't get it."

    The rest of the presentation/demo was pretty awkward, with plenty of similar objections. They just kept saying "I don't see how this could work."  Fortunately, our "champion" was pretty impressed and said he'll be working to push things through anyway. So… hopefully we'll get a sale against the teams' wishes… and be that vendor that everyone hates.



  •  How long until one of the non-Champions submits a "stupidz vendor" story to TDWTF?

    Were you able to convince Ms. Communique? I'd be tempted to say "When your devs write shit code, your team can communicate the level of shittiness delivered, and tell them to stop shitting it up. The code gets better. Later on, when your team shits up-- umm-- whatever it is they do, everyone else can communicate that you shitters should stop shitting around and get their shit in order. I suspect this would be the main use case. I assume. Y'know-- given how much of a shithead you're being right now. Just reading between the lines-- and by lines, I mean toilet paper. So, how many licenses can I put you down for?"

    I suppose that tactic might backfire. Unless she really is a shithead. In which case you'll score some sweet, sweet spite purchases.

    Unrelated: have you filled that [url="http://inedo.com/company/careers/029-intern-marketing"]Intern (marketing)[/url] position, yet?  Would you like my resume?



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Unrelated: have you filled that Intern (marketing) position, yet?  Would you like my resume?
     

    Sidenote: Inedo does sound like a fucking [url="http://inedo.com/company/careers"]awesome company to work for[/url]:

     @Holy Shit! said:


    Unique Benefits

    We offer all of the standard benefits you'd
    expect (health care, retirement, etc), and a some you might not. Here
    are a few of Inedo's more popular benefits:

    • Super Flexibility - no need to ask can I use four hours of my Personal Time Off to go renew my license? Just do what you need do, and make sure you get what you need to get done
    • Random Range Time

      • when the time seems right, we grab the clubs and head to the driving
        range; or, on other days, grab the guns and head to the firing range
      • The Scotch Library - over 60 single malts, perfect for the six o'clock Scotch


  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Were you able to convince Ms. Communique?

    Not a chance! I will say, working with types like this really give an appreciation for the challenges a new executive must face. You can't exactly just come in and fire this fuckwits -- not only b/c of the institutional knowledge they've hoarded, but how exactly do you replace these people quickly? I've been thinking a soapbox on similar topic...

    @Lorne Kates said:

    I suppose that tactic might backfire.

    Lately I've been feeling a bit of fuckall, but not quite that much. Maybe I should up it.

    Another presentation (to another company) last week, one of the blockers did the"I don't see the benefits to BuildMaster, I could just script this all". I called him out, "If you don't see the benefits, then you haven't been paying attention. Of course you could script it -- heck, if you had tens of thousands of manhours, you could probably write BuildMaster yourself. But you didn't, we did." Apparently, this blocker had been working on/off a CruiseControl-based pile of crap for 5 years, and it still didn't work.

    Quite surprising/disappointing to see devs be vehemently against using/buying tools they didn't make... especially ours!

    @Lorne Kates said:

    have you filled that Intern (marketing) position, yet

    Ha! The interns (or lack there of) who apply are a WTF in and of themselves...



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Sidenote: Inedo does sound like a fucking awesome company to work for:

     @Holy Shit! said:


    Unique Benefits

    We offer all of the standard benefits you'd
    expect (health care, retirement, etc), and a some you might not. Here
    are a few of Inedo's more popular benefits:

    • Super Flexibility - no need to ask can I use four hours of my Personal Time Off to go renew my license? Just do what you need do, and make sure you get what you need to get done
    • Random Range Time

      • when the time seems right, we grab the clubs and head to the driving
        range; or, on other days, grab the guns and head to the firing range
      • The Scotch Library - over 60 single malts, perfect for the six o'clock Scotch

    Do you also have balloons?

     Because if you don't have balloons, we can just forget the whole thing right now.

     



  • I work for a similar large company and I'm sure we've got a half dozen people that would give the same response as the woman from the OP. Also, we use 1000 different tools because each team chooses a tool that works best for them, is managed by them, and is painful for everyone else. As long as decision are made at the team level instead of the enterprise level, you're almost certain to get that.

    For example, we use HP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) for defect tracking. The tool is fine, but our use of it leaves a lot to be desired. It was chosen by and is administered by the QC team. For big projects, the QC team does QC work and all is fine with the world. However, someone decided that ALM is the only corporate tool allowed to be used for defect tracking and smaller efforts don't use the QC team. No one is allowed to move a defect to "Closed" or to open a new defect other than QC. So, for small efforts, we have to keep emailing QC "hey I found a problem" and "close defect 1234321". They work opposite hours from us, so it takes an entire day to open or close a defect.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Super Flexibility - no need to ask can I use four hours of my Personal Time Off to go renew my license? Just do what you need do, and make sure you get what you need to get done

    In theory my job works that way.

    In reality, my boss is kind of a dick about it, and he's the one who recommends me for raises.

    No offense to Alex, but I've learned to take claims like that with a very very very big grain of salt. I've heard from enough Googlers to know, for example, that "20% time" is a myth for the vast majority of their employees. I've heard from Valve employees that their "no bosses" policy is complete bullcrap. Just because something in the job listing doesn't mean it actually exists in the culture of that workplace.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    No offense to Alex, but I've learned to take claims like that with a very very very big grain of salt.
     

    Yes, "no bosses" and "20% time" is bullshit. Our "super flexibility" works b/c we're a small team, and when you don't do "what you need to get done", you kinda screw everyone else on the team over. This model doesn't scale well... especially when you starting bringing in support staff who might be more tempted to abuse this policy. Hopefully we'll have that scalability problem someday...

    Same holds true with our paid time off policy...

    Be Reasonable. If you're sick, don't even think of coming in. If you want a mental health day, then by all means take it. If you want to go away on a trip for a week or two, go ahead. Just don't expect deadlines to magically go away, and make sure to work with the team to plan time off.

    Examples of being reasonable:

    • Taking the afternoon off on a slow day to get an early start on shopping
    • Letting the team know you're planning a trip in a few months, and building deadlines and schedules around it
    • Asking to work out a way (both schedule and salary) to take a 3-month sabbatical

    Examples of being unreasonable:

    • Coming to the office while sick
    • Letting deadlines slip as a result of being sick on Monday and golfing on Friday
    • Telling everyone that you've decided an impromptu trip to New York for a week... starting tomorrow

    If someone's the type to wonder where the "reasonableness" line is, then maybe they're not a fit for our team. It's all pretty obvious to us. Everyone is pretty close to the revenue, and knows we're all working hard to grow this thing.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    Yes, "no bosses" and "20% time" is bullshit.

    I read this as
    @Alex Papadimoulis said:
    Valve and Google are very unsuccessful companies with low employee satisfaction.

    Which makes less sense than "communication impedes progress"



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    "These so-called silos are teams, and this is how teams work in big enterprises. They deliver things to other teams. Our devs write poor code, our release engineers write poor instructions, and our ops write poor scripts. If you think having them collaborate will help, you just don't get it."
    My current client is one of these big enterprises. For decades they used a waterfall based approach and during that time they have built a huge process that make sure every team gets a big stack of detailed documents before they can start their work.

    Recently my company did a pilot using "Scrum" and the enterprise was very very surprised to see we could deliver something in half the time it usually took. So their upper management awarded us a big 5-year contract to build a new front-end using Scrum only. However middle management is totally not convinced of Scrum. Either they keep working in their silos or they completely stop writing any documentation "because that's not required by Scrum".

    When I asked to explain some business terminology, they just refused because it was not their problem I didn't understand the requirements. Apparently I should have read some documentation I was never told about (and as I found out later... wasn't even written at that point). I didn't dare saying it out loud in front of the client but understanding the requirements is vital for us delivering quality which in turn is vital for attracting customers to the new services in their new front-end. (So if I apply some logic to this: good requirements => good quality => good front-end => new customers ... are not of concern to this big enterprise)

    So I did what you do in big enterprises... I escalated to my upper management because still each team has to protect itself and cover their asses (especially in this client/vendor situation)

    TL,DR version: Collaboration is a very alien concept in these enterprises. You need to prepare early for when the "blame game" starts



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    "Our devs write poor code, our release engineers write poor instructions, and our ops write poor scripts. If you think having them collaborate will help, you just don't get it."
     

    If they believed collaboration isn't the solution, did you ask them what they believed the solution was?

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    They just kept saying "I don't see how this could work." 

    Sometimes it's not the quality of the delivery but the cluelessness of the recipient. King Canute and all that.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    You can't exactly just come in and fire this fuckwits -- not only b/c of the institutional knowledge they've hoarded, but how exactly do you replace these people quickly?
     

    There's two issues there: the latter is certainly a good point - nobody's irreplaceable, and some people's longevity is measured terms of difficulty of locating a successor rather than in terms of value to the organisation.

    The former raises an interesting question: are you talking about them taking that knowledge with them or taking a copy of that knowledge with them? One is about using that knowledge to provide a competitive advantage for their next employer, another is about depriving the current employer of that knowledge because they never documented or shared that knowledge - it existed solely in their head. That's a management issue.

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    I've been thinking a soapbox on similar topic...

    I urge you to proceed. I like many of your articles and have been shamelessly plagiarising much content discussing many of your topics during my instructing.



  • @bjolling said:

    When I asked to explain some business terminology, they just refused because it was not their problem I didn't understand the requirements.
     

    Isn't this a problem in both Agile AND Waterfall? Not having clear requirements leads to flawed design, etc?

    Also... surely middle manglement are going to be held accountable, so they'll (a) have to take the fall for project failure, and (b) be on pretty shaky ground when upper management find out failure was due to their process sabotage.



  • @Holy Shit! said:

    The Scotch Library - over 60 single malts, perfect for the six o'clock Scotch

    That list would be awesome if it included the 18-year-old Bowmore, which is way better than the 12-year-old one.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    Our devs write poor code, our release engineers write poor instructions, and our ops write poor scripts. If you think having them collaborate will help, you just don't get it.
     

    "I don't see how a solution to our problem is going to help."

    [memepic of befuddled jackie chan]



  • @Cassidy said:

    If they believed collaboration isn't the solution, did you ask them what they believed the solution was?

    As I've learned trying to sell this software to enterprise organizations like this, there is no "them". As in, a collective mind that makes a decision together. It's a dysfunctional group of individuals, each working towards their own goal that somehow propels the organization to be barely functional. The problem executives face when wanting to make change is that "barely" is better than "not at all", and shaking things up too much will somehow make these individuals even more useless.

    What's cool in this is that I've started to notice patterns of behavior, and have gotten pretty good at identifying which pattern an individual fits in pretty quickly. While I still need to come up with snappy titles to describe these folks, this type of person believes the organization's problem is too many incompetent people. Whatever her job title was (I think release engineering mgr?), she would never make mistakes like her staff would (filling out the wrong field on the form, forgetting a step, etc) - and thus the problem is people, not process (let alone a tool like BuildMaster).

    So no, I didn't ask her what she believed the solution was, because I knew she would already say "getting better people." I've gone down that road w/ other prospects, and it seems lead towards the group starting to believe they just need "better training" or "more consequences" of failure. So, I just ignored her and moved on.

    Interesting thing... this "too may incompetent people" belief is endemic in rockstar developers. When I've asked them how anyone less awesome them then could maintain their elegant Knockout-based MVVM architecture that uses a Hypermedia API against TDD-built Node.js shitlings managed with ChuckNorris.Dickpunch throttling, their answer is "hire better people."

    The soapbox idea I've been thinking out is is "LCD development" - if the place you work will attract 90th percentile (sexy startup, google, etc), then go ahead and use these rediculously complex patterns that you and your fellow rockstars invented. But if you're at a place that will attract average developers (MOST FUCKING PLACES), then stop being a hipster douche.



  • @Cassidy said:

    The former raises an interesting question: are you talking about them taking that knowledge with them or taking a copy of that knowledge with them? One is about using that knowledge to provide a competitive advantage for their next employer, another is about depriving the current employer of that knowledge because they never documented or shared that knowledge - it existed solely in their head. That's a management issue.

    Haha, no definitely not trade secret stuff. More like, the magical dance that needs to be done (that only they can do) to make shit happen. This is surprisingly difficult to fix from a management perspective.

    One of our legendary extended support clients had a release engineer who managed to block everyone's access to BuildMaster except for her immediate team. They had some 100 licenses, and she disabled other's access out of concerns that anyone in the Activate Directory groups that were granted privileges within BuildMaster could use BuildMaster. "Anyone could just be added to those groups," she'd say, "and we have no control over that." When we told them (8 times in... in 8 separate meetings I believe?) that they could just override the groups that they set-up in AD by setting up individual user privileges on top of groups, the response was "it would be nightmare."

    BuildMaster was a HUGE threat to their jobs and way of life... and eventually, they won. The company went back to manual processes, and our champions (we had like 8) all quit within six months This same company had a dev group that was anti-automation. He felt computers couldn't be trusted to do things like build and deploy their software.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    "These so-called silos are teams, and this is how teams work in big enterprises. They deliver things to other teams. Our devs write poor code, our release engineers write poor instructions, and our ops write poor scripts. If you think having them collaborate will help, you just don't get it."

    The rest of the presentation/demo was pretty awkward, with plenty of similar objections. They just kept saying "I don't see how this could work."  Fortunately, our "champion" was pretty impressed and said he'll be working to push things through anyway. So… hopefully we'll get a sale against the teams' wishes… and be that vendor that everyone hates.

    You know, I kind of agree with your potential customer here. I used to work at a place full of office shittiness, and it got even worse when one of the "gurus" pushed the entire Atlassian catalog. It's like buying a sniper rifle before you can handle slingshots. I don't really know that much about your product, but if I was presented something like this in a McShitty corporation I'd also think no, god no, don't give the devs another excuse for their incompetence (i.e.: "so that's why our code sucks! We need this product to fix it!").



  • I think I would've just asked "So, your existing system not only allows, but by your own admission, encourages the practice of all your departments to produce, using your terminology, "shit," and you're ok with this? Instead of being in this meeting which you obviously don't want to be, maybe you ought to be handing out pink-slips and getting some proper teams in here.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Lorne Kates said:
    Super Flexibility - no need to ask can I use four hours of my Personal Time Off to go renew my license? Just do what you need do, and make sure you get what you need to get done

    In theory my job works that way.

    In reality, my boss is kind of a dick about it, and he's the one who recommends me for raises.

    No offense to Alex, but I've learned to take claims like that with a very very very big grain of salt. I've heard from enough Googlers to know, for example, that "20% time" is a myth for the vast majority of their employees. I've heard from Valve employees that their "no bosses" policy is complete bullcrap. Just because something in the job listing doesn't mean it actually exists in the culture of that workplace.

     

    Interesting.  A friend of mine works at Valve.  I'll have to ask him about that next time I see him.

     



  • @Mason Wheeler said:

    Interesting. A friend of mine works at Valve. I'll have to ask him about that next time I see him.

    Fuck that shit.

    Ask him why I can't change the fucking font size in Steam's IM window. For like 8 fucking YEARS.

    ... then ask about the employee handbook bullcrap.



  • The "20% time", "no bosses", and "unlimited vacation" are bullshit to some extent. What they really mean...

    • You can spend 20% of your (40 hours) on a company-sanctioned skunkworks project, just so long as your 80% time has the other 52 hours in it
    • No bosses mean that not only are you judged on the quality of your deliverables, but your judgment on which deliverables to create in the first place
    • Unlimited vacation means that you're still expected to do your job regardless of your time off

    Those sound harsh, but that's an insight into corporate culture of these organizations. Lots of work and high responsibility. Some people (such as myself and my teammates) find it incredibly rewarding. Others -- the benefit isn't worth the cost.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Mason Wheeler said:
    Interesting. A friend of mine works at Valve. I'll have to ask him about that next time I see him.

    Fuck that shit.

    Ask him why I can't change the fucking font size in Steam's IM window. For like 8 fucking YEARS.

    ... then ask about the employee handbook bullcrap.

    He doesn't work on UI stuff.  He's working on the team that's developing Steam support for Linux and working on a Linux-based Steam-powered console. (Possibly a modified Android system like the Ouya, but not all the details are worked out yet from what I've heard.) So you probably wouldn't be interested in anything he had to say about his work on Steam. :P

    Mason

     



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    Lots of work and high responsibility. Some people (such as myself and my teammates) find it incredibly rewarding. Others -- the benefit isn't worth the cost.
     

    Regardless of the pretty design of Valve's flyer, that was my rational takeaway.



  • @Mason Wheeler said:

    He doesn't work on UI stuff.

    Ok, tell him to grab a knife from the kitchen, the big one they use for birthday cakes, then roam the halls looking for the guy who is responsible for Steam IM which I assume is nobody, but after a few false-positive stabs someone'll volunteer.

    Seriously, how the FUCK do you have a bug that critical in your software for EIGHT YEARS!? How does VALVE, a company so disabled-friendly that their games provide subtitles for SOUND EFFECTS, neglect to let users CHANGE THE FONT SIZE!

    It makes me SO ANGRY I COULD PUKE.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    The problem executives face when wanting to make change is that "barely" is better than "not at all", and shaking things up too much will somehow make these individuals even more useless.
     

    I can understand the "tread softly" approach, but that smacks of spinelessness on the part of the execs: let's do the minimum to make it look like we're worth our paycheques but not enough to get into a confrontation with those waste of atoms they call useless developers.  I'd make a radical change for the better, and the useless driftwood will be cast adrift simply by being left behind. Sometimes it's less about what the decision is, more about who will be brave enough to take it and drive through real change. Don't be a fucking charity - demonstrate weak leadership and the troops will tread all over you.

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    What's cool in this is that I've started to notice patterns of behavior, and have gotten pretty good at identifying which pattern an individual fits in pretty quickly
     

    Perhaps you could extend Belbin then.

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    this type of person believes the organization's problem is too many incompetent people

    They could be right. What I'm at odds with is: did people become incompetant, or did we just hire incompetant people? The latter is perfectly feasible: crap hiring process, vague description of job duties, low starting salary, etc - it happens. What makes a difference is your attitude to it: do you shed the incompetant people, or do you try and improve their competancies? We're all incompetant in some regard: no matter what we can do, there are many things we can't do.The trick is separating out the can't do from the won't do - many of those who can't are willing to have a go and with the right guidance and encouragement will prevail.

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    So no, I didn't ask her what she believed the solution was, because I knew she would already say "getting better people."

    It actually costs more to get better people than make our existing people better. Getting better people means you need to do something with the existing ones - sack one and hire someone better is quicker but more expensive than improving an existing resource. Sometimes there are intangible benefits to doing the switch: bring in fresh blood can revitialise a team and shed baggage of the prior incumbent, and perhaps also disperse the bad feeling that individual brought. Sometimes there's a business case to go down this route: the individual in question simply cannot be improved beyond their capability so must move aside for someone else to carry the flame.

    Either way: it's a question I would have raised with her. I know you're not there to waste time on discussions like this but when you've a mindset that the proble is people (and it often is) then no product will change that - other than a cluebat, and that's not what you were touting.

    Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox now. I've a million words I could write on the subject, many of which aren't complimentary.



  • @Master Chief said:

    I think I would've just asked "So, your existing system not only allows, but by your own admission, encourages the practice of all your departments to produce, using your terminology, "shit," and you're ok with this?
     

    That's pretty much what I do on a regular basis: "your current practise is shit, you know it's shit, you're telling me how shit it is... but you're not interested in any of my suggestions... can I ask why the fuck you brought me in? Why not just stay with your shitty processes and whinge like a bitch? Because that's what you're heading towards."

    Naturally, I don't put it in those words. But as soon as you get them to stop and reflect upon what's wrong and understand that they need to make changes otherwise they'll carry on as before, we start to advance. Everything up to that point is simply baggage-offloading.



  • @Cassidy said:

    I can understand the "tread softly" approach, but that smacks of spinelessness on the part of the execs: let's do the minimum to make it look like we're worth our paycheques but not enough to get into a confrontation with those waste of atoms they call useless developers.

    I don't think so. If you're brought in as the new CIO to fix the broken department, you can't just fire half the staff... unless you're willing to go from 40% efficiency to 4%. Morale aside, you need to figure out what they're currently doing, figure out how to do it better -- and the only way to do that is by working with the people doing it. They're not stupid, so they will quickly figure out what you're doing if you don't boil the water slowly.

    @Cassidy said:

    They could be right. What I'm at odds with is: did people become incompetant, or did we just hire incompetant people?

    People forget about the bell curve: most people are average or below average. Everyone can't hire above average people, and for many in the 80th-percentile, that hasn't quite sunk in.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    @Cassidy said:

    They could be right. What I'm at odds with is: did people become incompetant, or did we just hire incompetant people?

    People forget about the bell curve: most people are average or below average. Everyone can't hire above average people, and for many in the 80th-percentile, that hasn't quite sunk in.

    It's not just that ability is on a bell curve, but also that those of us on the lower end of it are also going to be looking for work more often.  So whenever you are looking to hire people you need to find the one in the pile of people that isn't incompetant to the point of being dangerous (but that doesn't mean that they are competant).



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    If you're brought in as the new CIO to fix the broken department, you can't just fire half the staff... unless you're willing to go from 40% efficiency to 4%
     

    Granted, no. But if you're seeking to raise capability, the staff have two options: shape up or ship out. I don't mean this will happen in the first week, but in the long term there will be those that maintain monemtum with company maturity and there will be those that won't make the grade.

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    Morale aside, you need to figure out what they're currently doing, figure out how to do it better -- and the only way to do that is by working with the people doing it. They're not stupid, so they will quickly figure out what you're doing if you don't boil the water slowly.

    Agreed, but that sounds like someone who IS working with the problem and seeks to find solutions. I think I interpreted your original sentence as someone who resisted changes for fear of upsetting the applecart, so refrained from doing anything too taxing. There are situations when slow and gentle is the right approach, but there are plenty of execs that treacle-layer progress and unwittingly form part of the problem.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    If someone's the type to wonder where the "reasonableness" line is, then maybe they're not a fit for our team. It's all pretty obvious to us. Everyone is pretty close to the revenue, and knows we're all working hard to grow this thing.

    Yes. The longer I work in this industry, the more apparent this becomes to me. And it's not just with flex time, but with everything. If I ever have to have "a talk" with a dev on something like coding standards or deadlines or that's it's inappropriate to call your co-workers "stupid" to their face*, or that "my girlfriend is a bitch" is not an excuse to come in to work at noon completely wasted*, then that's a clear sign it's not going to work out.


    (*These both happened. Same employee. Thankfully I was not in charge of him and did not have to deal with firing him. He cried when he was fired. Didn't see it coming. And the thing is, bad employees never do. They're always baffled that they're being fired. It's like "HR has had no less than 3 talks with you about missing work. You've missed 2 days a week, every single week, since your second week. And you only call or email about 10% of the time. It's over," but they still act like it's all some big shock..)



  • @anonymous_guy said:

    @Holy Shit! said:
    The Scotch Library - over 60 single malts, perfect for the six o'clock Scotch

    That list would be awesome if it included the 18-year-old Bowmore, which is way better than the 12-year-old one.

    "My country club would be ashamed to serve the free scotch you are giving your employees. Sir, you may keep your insult of a job! Jeeves, throw 12-year scotch in this man's face."

    Seriously, the entitlement of people...



  • @blakeyrat said:

    ... then ask about the employee handbook bullcrap.

    I am too lazy to Google. Explain.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Mason Wheeler said:
    He doesn't work on UI stuff.

    Ok, tell him to grab a knife from the kitchen, the big one they use for birthday cakes, then roam the halls looking for the guy who is responsible for Steam IM which I assume is nobody, but after a few false-positive stabs someone'll volunteer.

    Seriously, how the FUCK do you have a bug that critical in your software for EIGHT YEARS!? How does VALVE, a company so disabled-friendly that their games provide subtitles for SOUND EFFECTS, neglect to let users CHANGE THE FONT SIZE!

    It makes me SO ANGRY I COULD PUKE.

    Blakey, blakey, blakey...

    You're posting this on a forum IN A FONT SIZE SMALLER THAN THE ONE YOU'RE COMPLAINING ABOUT.

    If you REALLY can't read Steam chat messages, try a different screen resolution.



  • @Ben L. said:

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:
    Yes, "no bosses" and "20% time" is bullshit.

    I read this as
    @Alex Papadimoulis said:
    Valve and Google are very unsuccessful companies with low employee satisfaction.

    Which makes less sense than "communication impedes progress"

    I just.. how did you manage to take that away from what he said? The point is, these companies often exaggerate this stuff to get new employees. It's a strategy. For most people, it ain't gonna work they way they've been lead to believe.

    Also, I can't say anything about Valve, but a lot of people go to a Google or an IBM because it's safe and easy, not because it's necessarily great. I mean, everybody has their own definition of "great", but a lot of people just want job security and to be a cog in some massive machine. Personally, I wouldn't take it. I'd rather crawl through sewers* than work at Google. At least I'd be able to have an actual sense of self-satisfaction and not one manufactured for me by a company intent on keeping it's employees from going to potential competitors. (Cue people saying "you're just jealous" or whatever..)

    Oh, and I find most of the "perks" provided by the Googles of the world to be irritating. I'd rather have extra pay and buy my own damn coffee. And massages? WTF? I don't want you spending my money on massage therapists I will never use. If you're going to spend my money for me, then at least get me something I want, like a few thousand rounds of 5.56, please. That shit's getting hard to find.

    You know what else annoys me about Google? They promote this "developers are wizard geniuses" mindset which I find so irritating. This just makes these people even bigger narcissistic prima donnas. You're not making a cure for cancer, you're just building a competitor to Facebook that will be shut down in a year when management tires of hemorrhaging money, just like nearly every other Google product.

    And what we do? It's not that hard. Sure, there's some real hard-core CS/math stuff out there, but the hard part of most engineers' jobs is to make sure your code actually works before committing, and so very many still fail at this. It would be like bakers forgetting not to put rat poison in the goddamn baguette dough. ("Sometimes I check to make sure I haven't accidentally dumped 5 gallons of rat poison into the dough, but you can't expect me to check every time!") Programming is tricky, yes (especially when you use awful tools, languages and frameworks), but it's not magic. I've taught friends with an normal amount of computer experience how to program, just to show them that it's a lot easier than they think. And they probably know more about proper practice than 50% of the people who do this for a living. This is bad.


    (*Okay, not really. Not because I've got anything against getting dirty, but because I'm pretty claustrophobic. I'd probably do something like be a mechanic or something.)



  • @Ben L. said:

    Blakey, blakey, blakey...

    You're posting this on a forum IN A FONT SIZE SMALLER THAN THE ONE YOU'RE COMPLAINING ABOUT.

    If you REALLY can't read Steam chat messages, try a different screen resolution.

    WHOOOOOOOOOOOSH

    Seriously, Ben, you need to slow your roll and think. You're been saying a lot of stupid stuff lately. And I know you're not a stupid guy, but let me point it out for you: browsers let you change font size. Which is a basic accessibility feature. The precise same feature Blakey is complaining about missing from Steam.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    ... then ask about the employee handbook bullcrap.

    I am too lazy to Google. Explain.

    How did you miss the brouhaha over Valve's employee handbook leaking online a couple months ago?

    Just glance at it and you'll see what we're talking about. Or read any of the thousand articles written about it when it leaked. Or get wasted and hang out in your uncle's garage.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Ben, you need to slow your roll and think. You're been saying a lot of stupid stuff lately.

    He's become Boomzilla Jr.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Programming is tricky, yes (especially when you use awful tools, languages and frameworks), but it's not magic.
     

    We design and manipulate sets of arcane symbols according to highly arbitrary rules, in order to create a system that only truly "exists" on an invisible level, made of pure energy.  When invoked, it alters reality according to a person's desires.  If that's not magic, I don't know what is. ;)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    How did you miss the brouhaha over Valve's employee handbook leaking online a couple months ago?

    I am pretty much completely disconnected from mainstream culture.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Just glance at it and you'll see what we're talking about. Or read any of the thousand articles written about it when it leaked. Or get wasted and hang out in your uncle's garage.

    Everyone seems to think it's pretty cool, but it sounds kind of dumb. But I just glanced at a couple articles after Googling. I'm not going to bother reading it because I hear my uncle opening another MD 20/20.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    Just glance at it and you'll see what we're talking about. Or read any of the thousand articles written about it when it leaked. Or get wasted and hang out in your uncle's garage.

    Everyone seems to think it's pretty cool, but it sounds kind of dumb. But I just glanced at a couple articles after Googling. I'm not going to bother reading it because I hear my uncle opening another MD 20/20.

    Holy crap. This thing is amazing. I don't think the culture would be me, but I really dig that they do what they do.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    browsers let you change font size.

    Browsing at a zoom level other than 100% is TRWTF.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    Holy crap. This thing is amazing. I don't think the culture would be me, but I really dig that they do what they do.

    ... assuming it's not all lies.

    And while it seems to work pretty well for games (well, DOTA2 is fucking awful, but it's not really Valve's fault), it doesn't work worth shit for "boring" things like desktop software. Steam is an absolute mess. It does explain why Steam support takes 5 business days to get back to you no matter how urgent the request and always fails to do anything even slightly useful.



  • @Ben L. said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    browsers let you change font size.

    Browsing at a zoom level other than 100% is TRWTF.

    Yes, people with disabilities should be mocked and hated.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Ben L. said:
    @morbiuswilters said:
    browsers let you change font size.

    Browsing at a zoom level other than 100% is TRWTF.

    Yes, people with disabilities should be mocked and hated.

    There are plenty of other ways to enlarge regions of your screen that don't break every website in existence.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    it doesn't work worth shit for "boring" things like desktop software.

    Maybe that's why it didn't feel right for me. I just do boring shit most of the time, and I often wish I had a boss to tell me what boring shit I'm supposed to do next.



  • @Ben L. said:

    There are plenty of other ways to enlarge regions of your screen that don't break every website in existence.

    Or maybe they just want to actually see the whole site without having to enlarge individual parts of the screen to see what they want? Or how about anybody using a monitor with a DPI over 72? There are lots of good reasons to enlarge text on a site.

    And if it breaks a site, it's because that site was coded by a moron. I know this is hard to understand if you work mostly with FOSS, but resizable text--like GUIs--are not some far-flung sci-fi concept. People use it. Today. In fact, people have been using it for some time. Only poorly-coded applications by incompetent cousin-humpers like those employed by Valve just throw up their hands and say "Resizable text!? Maybe you want me to make you a teleporter, too!"

    Seriously, this is what Blakey and I are always ranting about, and it's amazing the beatings haven't made the lesson stick. Hey, here's a list of projects we can spend precious engineering resources on:

    1. Making software that is actually usable by people with disabilities and sites that don't explode the second you try to enlarge the text at all.

    2. Building usable GUIs so that users don't need to spend weeks in their Mom's basement trying to learn obscure CLI arguments when they just want to send a fucking email.

    3. Developing yet another, shitty language no serious business will ever use for anything more than novelty projects. Oh, and if it has shoddy tools and is based on the dubious premise of a systems language which uses GC, all the better!

    Look, I don't say this shit because I'm just some asshole, I say it because it's downright criminal that somebody would waste time on #3 when numbers 1 and 2 are so badly neglected. It would be like pharmaceutical companies saying "Well, we could either cure childhood cancer or make a pill that makes your dong 20 inches long" and everyone just cheers, except for the kid with leukemia*.


    (*Nevermind, he's probably cheering, too. He's like "Yay, they're gonna have to build me a special coffin to hold my monster wang!!")



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    And if [zooming in] breaks a site, it's because that site was coded by a moron.






  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Ben L. said:
    You're posting this on a forum IN A FONT SIZE SMALLER THAN THE ONE YOU'RE COMPLAINING ABOUT.

    WHOOOOOOOOOOOSH

    Seriously, Ben, you need to slow your roll and think. You're been saying a lot of stupid stuff lately. And I know you're not a stupid guy, but let me point it out for you: browsers let you change font size. Which is a basic accessibility feature. The precise same feature Blakey is complaining about missing from Steam.

    Hint: you can also click the Edit Profile link, go to Site Options tab, and change the font size there.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    And if it breaks a site, it's because that site was coded by a moron. I know this is hard to understand if you work mostly with FOSS, but resizable text--like GUIs--are not some far-flung sci-fi concept. People use it. Today. In fact, people have been using it for some time. Only poorly-coded applications by incompetent cousin-humpers like those employed by Valve just throw up their hands and say "Resizable text!? Maybe you want me to make you a teleporter, too!"
    You know, one thing that GTK+ does properly is adjusting itself to different font sizes - it's layout engine works with relative positions, and has no problems when text is enlarged. Compare this with non-WPF Windows programs where running in anything but the default 96 DPI mode will almost certainly result in some text being clipped or controls overlapping (and this despite Windows supporting different DPI settings as far back as Windows 3.1, over 20 years ago).


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