Nathan's colleague ("Steve") works as a "rogue" IT operative. No one knows what department he works for, who is supervisor is, or even what his real name is. Steve's job is, apparently, to analyze, develop, deploy, and support "unofficial" IT projects without ever telling, let alone getting any support from, the IT department. No IT support means that Steve's job is a dirty one: he can only use non-development tools (such as Microsoft Excel), rely on rogue servers (such as a random user's workstation), and non-database databases (such as CSV files).

But what Steve lacks in tools, he makes up in job satisfaction. Since no one seems to know his job title, many people from the "business side" just refer to him as "The Hero." Unlike the mean-old folks in IT, Steve works in a developmestruction environment[1] and doesn't bother with things like testing, code review, deployments, etc. -- he just does what it takes. The "business people" also empathize with Steve and his constant battles with IT who's sole purpose sometimes seems to be shutting down Steve and his rogue operations. In fact, just recently, the mean-old database folks shut down one of his latest creations called "Dashboard.xls"

Dashboard.xls was a spreadsheet that boasts more lines of code than most "real" applications. It was developed for a single manager, who used it to view trends in over 500 critical datapoints (each one appearing in a cell) and with most varying by parameters (entered in different cells). Better still, the spreadsheet simultaneously and asynchronously refreshes the datapoints from live production data on a regular interval. The spreadsheet did this by opening a database connection for each of the 500 datapoints. Though it may seem like a lot of connections, a well-built SQL Server can easily handle the load.

The problem came when the manager, who absolutely loved Steve's appli-spreadsheet, shared it with some of his peers. As it turned out, his peers liked it as well, and they decided to share it with their peers. When the database finally stopped working after ten or so thousand simultaneous connections, the DBAs frantically asked Nathan, responsible for maintaining application apparently making the connections, to help fix it. By the time Nathan tracked the connections down the spreadsheet, Steve was long gone, off working on some other rogue operation.


[1] See The Developmestuction Environment (


Update: Fixed Typo (rouge --> rogue)