• ManBunny (unregistered)

    It's this how all business is done?

  • Erick (cs)

    I guess software is more profitable than bridges.

  • Blumer (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Jimbo (unregistered)

    I guess the endless stream of managment approval could have been predicted from any company that was willing to buy a product called "Enterprise Knowledge Management Essentials". 

     

    Is a predictable idiot still an idiot? 

  • GrandmasterB (cs)

     leaving Dave to spend his first two days in The Netherlands waiting around for a "temporary access badge."

    Translation: spending his time in brothels and hash houses.

    Is Bennentech hiring? 

     

  • v6h10p6 (cs)

    So, The moral of the story is:

     Sales staff should sell non-existent products to big companies, because by the time bureaucracy in that company works and the moment arrives for installation of the project the development team will get enough time to create the system from scratch….

     Note to self: start selling that new software from the dream.  lol

  • Anonymous coward (unregistered)

    The real WTF is that the pre-pre-pre-pre-Alpha version of the code is not indented properly.

  • Tachyon (cs) in reply to v6h10p6

    I would put some humorous reply here, but I haven't thought about it yet...

    If the product RTM's before it's first alpha, would that be extreme "agile development" then?

  • mbvlist (cs)

    I'm just really curious what company you anonimized to binnentech. Sounds a lot like 'binnendienst', which every tech company has. Maybe a Philips devision?

    @above: Yes, there are 'coffeeshops' in Amsterdam, selling weed. But it's not common practice as every American seems to think. You know, Pulp fiction is just what the name says, fiction.

  • James (unregistered)

    Jesus, with this kind of business model I could be the most successful government IT contractor on the face of the earth!  And it would probably work!

     
     
    Seriously,  Mike Judge should turn this into the sequel to Office Space.  I'd pay 9 bucks a ticket to go see that.

  • mrsticks1982 (cs)

    So what neat gizmo did dave buy with the 20% bonus and where did he go on that extra week of vacation?

  • mrsticks1982 (cs) in reply to mbvlist
    mbvlist:

    I'm just really curious what company you anonimized to binnentech. Sounds a lot like 'binnendienst', which every tech company has. Maybe a Philips devision?

    @above: Yes, there are 'coffeeshops' in Amsterdam, selling weed. But it's not common practice as every American seems to think. You know, Pulp fiction is just what the name says, fiction.

    And New York women are not as slutty as they are protrayed in Sex in the City, its just ... oh never mind 

  • Dave (not that one) (unregistered)

    int main(int argc, char ** args)
    {
      return 0;
    }

    I can assure you that--unlike the final product--this initial version is bug-free, highly performant, obviously correct, ANSI compatible, well formatted, modular, and understandable by nearly any programmer except perhaps Paula Bean. The only problem is, this particular code was stolen from the Linux program "true".

     

     

     

  • ssprencel (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous coward

    Anonymous:
    The real WTF is that the pre-pre-pre-pre-Alpha version of the code is not indented properly.

    Well, at least it's not K&R style, so it should be easy to maintain.

    int main(int argc, char** argv) {

    return( 0 );

    }

     

  • ptomblin (cs) in reply to mrsticks1982

    mrsticks1982:
    So what neat gizmo did dave buy with the 20% bonus and where did he go on that extra week of vacation?

    1. Hash
    2. Amsterdam's red light district

  • wyz (unregistered) in reply to James
    Anonymous:

    Jesus, with this kind of business model I could be the most successful government IT contractor on the face of the earth!  And it would probably work!


     
    Seriously,  Mike Judge should turn this into the sequel to Office Space.  I'd pay 9 bucks a ticket to go see that.

    Mel Brooks already made the movie, called it Producers. No wait, he sold the play and it was supposed to fail, then he failed because it was a success.

    ...Never Mind... I'll wait for the sequel ...

  • bramster (unregistered)

    I suspect Dave's previous trip was an overnighter a couple of hundred kilometers across the province FROM Ottawa.

     

    His company was one of the very few that prospered through the hi-tech melt-down.  This "agility" may be part of the explanation.

     

    I am zork, and I am not a robot. 

     

  • ptomblin (cs) in reply to Dave (not that one)
    Anonymous:

    The only problem is, this particular code was stolen from the Linux program "true".

     

    But you left out the parsing the command line for "--help", "--version", "--license" and "--invoke-emacs-and-send-email".
     

  • ParkinT (cs)

    Reading this story gave me chills.
    I was on a similar trip (in the Netherlands), meeting with a very, very large French company for a similar presentation.

    In my case the product existed.  However, I arrived from the US on Monday, Sept. 10, 2001.

    Needless to say, I spent the most frightening (and lonley) several weeks stranded in Amsterdam; worried for my family in Washington DC area.

     

  • ptomblin (cs) in reply to bramster
    Anonymous:

    I suspect Dave's previous trip was an overnighter a couple of hundred kilometers across the province FROM Ottawa.

     

    You're not suggesting it's DMR, are you?  P5 and all that? 

  • Dazed (unregistered) in reply to v6h10p6
    v6h10p6:

    So, The moral of the story is: Sales staff should sell non-existent products to big companies, because by the time bureaucracy in that company works and the moment arrives for installation of the project the development team will get enough time to create the system from scratch….

    Before everyone gets too cynical, I can provide a counter-balance to this one. I was once involved in a very similar situation; probably the only full-scale WTF project I have been on. (Thank goodness I didn't have to do any of the lying to the customer.)

    However this particular customer was definitely not a WTF organisation. They also had more clout than the con-men ... er ... salesmen had reckoned on. I told the perpetrators more than once that I didn't think they were being very clever. They told me I was just naive.

    One morning they just didn't turn up for work. That afternoon we heard they were "pursuing other challenges". The rumours in the organisation were that their dismissal was of a pretty ballistic nature. Maybe I wasn't quite so naive after all.

  • biziclop (cs)

    Nice story. However, I'd like to hear the tale from the triple-shifting developers' view.

    (I just wonder what would have taken so long to migrate to the Enterprise Knowledge Management System. Dave simply could have typed all the Dutch company's accumulated knowledge in the new system in less than an hour. Imagine if he accidentally added "Pay for software after shipment." and doubled the size of the database.)
     

  • Anymoose Jr (unregistered)

    Up until the moment they pulled it off I could have sworn this was my current project.

  • biziclop (cs) in reply to Dave (not that one)
    Anonymous:

    int main(int argc, char ** args)
    {
      return 0;
    }

    I can assure you that--unlike the final product--this initial version is bug-free, highly performant, obviously correct, ANSI compatible, well formatted, modular, and understandable by nearly any programmer except perhaps Paula Bean. The only problem is, this particular code was stolen from the Linux program "true".

    Or "filenotfound". You forgot to mention reusability.
     

  • PseudoNoise (unregistered)

    pffft, not a WTF at all.  This is efficient use of the development pipeline.

  • Derek (unregistered) in reply to ManBunny

    Anonymous:
    It's this how all business is done?

     

    Pretty much, yes. 

  • WIldpeaks (cs)

    The real WTF is that I'm not yet working for those guys :-p

  • Chris (unregistered) in reply to ManBunny

    I have actually been involved in almost an identical situation.  For any doubters out there, I can assure you that this truly is how a lot of business is done.  Salesmen are constantly deceiving potential customers and, believe it or not, these customers actually want to be deceived.  These large customers know that to install a new product in their system will often take longer than it would be to make the product in the first place so all they're really looking for is a salesman who can sell them the idea that their software company is capable of creating such a product.

    It generally sucks to be the developers in these cases though.

  • Space Cake (unregistered) in reply to mbvlist
    Comment held for moderation.
  • anony-mouse (unregistered) in reply to biziclop

    biziclop:

    (I just wonder what would have taken so long to migrate to the Enterprise Knowledge Management System. Dave simply could have typed all the Dutch company's accumulated knowledge in the new system in less than an hour. Imagine if he accidentally added "Pay for software after shipment." and doubled the size of the database.)

     

    I lol'ed. 

  • asdf (unregistered) in reply to v6h10p6
    Comment held for moderation.
  • dave (unregistered) in reply to Derek

    I worked for a small co. that played development chicken with L3 communications (fixed wireless local loop group) and motorola (cellular group) at the same time- our boss figured their boss was fibbing about being ready to integrate, so we decided to call their bluff and claim we were ready evemn though we were far from it (contract penalty clause for being late...).

     

    We got lucky. 

  • darin (cs) in reply to Erick

    Erick:
    I guess software is more profitable than bridges.

    I think there's an entire economy based upon people selling things that don't exist to people who aren't quite ready to use them.  I also think everyone knows that everyone else is lying, but they've had all idealism beaten out of them so they just put up with it.

    I was in Germany for a couple of weeks, and while I was there my company figured I should head over and meet with a vice president at Deutsche Bank.  Now a VP at a bank is not a high level executive, they're more like middle managers or directors (my boss once told me his son got a job as a branch manager for a bank, which I thought was pretty good until he told me that the branch was the ATM inside the local grocery store).

    So this vice president starts lashing into me and the sales guy.  His voice is quite loud and he's telling me how lousy our product line is and that it doesn't do what the sales people promised, and that he's getting no where with service, and so forth.  As he continues I start taking notes.  He asks what I'm doing, and I say I'm writing it down so that I can fix this when I get home.  He seems surprised, and says "you can get this stuff fixed?"  I say of course, I'm the developer of package A, and I talk to the developers of B, C, and D every day.  "Wow" he says, "I thought you were another salesman."  He then proceeds in a calm manner to tell me specific details of where he was having problems, with a smile on his face.  Turns out he didn't really hate the software so much as he hated the relationship with the company and the brick wall trying to get things fixed.  I was the first developer or service member that he had actually talked to, and none of his complaints had even made it into our bug database.

  • EvanED (cs) in reply to Derek
    Anonymous:

    Anonymous:
    It's this how all business is done?

     

    Pretty much, yes. 

    Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes and should stay a grad student and go for a PhD, or if I should leave with a masters and go into industry. And then I read stories like this, and I know that I want to stay. Mmmm, non-real-world-ness...
     

  • Dear Lord (unregistered)
    Alex Papadimoulis:

    In terms of code, Knowledge Essentials could be summed up like this:

    int main(int argc, char ** args)
    {
    return 0;
    }

    You got me.  I was expecting a big, whopping WTF after seeing the above example!  Whew!  Everyone knows that first curly brace belongs with it's mates on the very first line (and not take up a whole entire line on it's own).

    Congrats to Dave.  :-)

    captcha = hotdog (indeed)

  • Richard Nixon (cs) in reply to mbvlist
    mbvlist:

    I'm just really curious what company you anonimized to binnentech. Sounds a lot like 'binnendienst', which every tech company has. Maybe a Philips devision?

    @above: Yes, there are 'coffeeshops' in Amsterdam, selling weed. But it's not common practice as every American seems to think. You know, Pulp fiction is just what the name says, fiction.

    It's funny - you decided to correct an overly broad generalization with another one. Not every American believes what you imply they do.

    sincerely,
    Richard Nixon 

     

  • Noam Samuel (cs) in reply to ptomblin

    Reading your message made me check if /bin/true (as opposed to bash's true command, which is built in) has a version argument, and lo and behold what I found:

     

    true (GNU coreutils) 5.96

     

    Yes, that's right, there have been more than 5 versions of /bin/true. I'd like to see their CVS commit comments.

     

  • Licky Lindsay (unregistered) in reply to ssprencel
    Anonymous:

    Well, at least it's not K&R style, so it should be easy to maintain.

    int main(int argc, char** argv) {

    return( 0 );

    }

     

    If "K&R" is defined as the style used in the The C Programming Language, 2nd edition, then it places the opening brace of a function on its own line. Only left-braces *inside* a function go on the same line as the if, else, while, etc.

    void foo(int x)
    {
        if( x == something ) {

            ... code ...
        }

    Inconsistent? Yeah. But remember that K&R style is older than ANSI C:

    void foo(x)
        int x;
    {
        if( x == something ) {

            ... code ...
        }
    }


    Then it sorta makes sense.
  • mbvlist (cs) in reply to mrsticks1982
    mrsticks1982:
    mbvlist:

    I'm just really curious what company you anonimized to binnentech. Sounds a lot like 'binnendienst', which every tech company has. Maybe a Philips devision?

    @above: Yes, there are 'coffeeshops' in Amsterdam, selling weed. But it's not common practice as every American seems to think. You know, Pulp fiction is just what the name says, fiction.

    And New York women are not as slutty as they are protrayed in Sex in the City, its just ... oh never mind 

    Maybe I'm mistaking, but everytime some of your politicians, or someone who thinks he is important (lets say Dr. Phill), need a bad example, they take the Netherlands. We're the guys that are killing babies at random, who smoke a joint everyday, and so forth. There are people smoking weed each day, but that's a very small minority. It's just more visible than (for example) crack-addicts in the USA.

  • Noam Samuel (cs) in reply to ptomblin

    Arrgh, that was supposed to be a a response to this comment:

     

    [image] Anonymous:

    The only problem is, this particular code was stolen from the Linux program "true".

     

    But you left out the parsing the command line for "--help", "--version", "--license" and "--invoke-emacs-and-send-email".

     

  • biziclop (cs) in reply to EvanED
    EvanED:
    Anonymous:

    Anonymous:
    It's this how all business is done?

     

    Pretty much, yes. 

    Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes and should stay a grad student and go for a PhD, or if I should leave with a masters and go into industry. And then I read stories like this, and I know that I want to stay. Mmmm, non-real-world-ness...
     

    The longer you stay there the harder the fall. Unless you're attending WTFU.

    One Wednesday evening I was busy staring at the telly trying to recover from another mind-numbing day of software maintenance when I suddenly spotted a commercial. Our company was proudly advertising our new Service. I stared blankly for another five minutes while trying to figure out what to do.

    For I knew I was the lead developer of the product. Furthermore, I knew the development project hasn't even started yet. There was no kickoff, I didn't have the specs (and by specification I mean a bunch of marketing guys sitting on the opposite side of a large table joyfully brainstorming while I desperately try to follow their pogostick of thoughts and write down the keywords), all I knew from the advert that users can register on Friday.

    Several months later (we were progressing well, except for the fact that we had to gather the registrations in a dummy database for two months) we needed a decision from marketing. We've spent a week using various methods of interrogation, but all our effort was in vain. And then came the spark: I went to one of our resellers and picked up a leaflet that went into great detail as to why our service was the best in the world. I managed to find all the answers in it.

    Leaflet-driven development works just as well as its lie-driven counterpart. 

  • Jack (unregistered)

    I think Paula Bean should apply.  This looks like the kind of code sample she is Brillant at!

  • kbiel (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous coward

    Anonymous:
    The real WTF is that the pre-pre-pre-pre-Alpha version of the code is not indented properly.

     Perhaps you were expecting this:

    int main(int argc,char **args){return 0;}

     

  • Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to EvanED
    EvanED:
    Anonymous:

    Anonymous:
    It's this how all business is done?

     

    Pretty much, yes. 

    Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes and should stay a grad student and go for a PhD, or if I should leave with a masters and go into industry. And then I read stories like this, and I know that I want to stay. Mmmm, non-real-world-ness...
     

    If you *want* to work in the industry, a PhD will close all your doors. 

  • Scott (unregistered)

    How long did Dave get to stay in the Netherlands?  Kind of shallow here, but that was the cool part of the story for me.

  • I Best VP In All Portland (unregistered)

    Alex Papadimoulis:
    Several months later, and long after the developers built the real Knowledge Essentials system, Binnentech finally approved the purchase (despite paying it long ago) and Dave returned to The Netherlands to do a real install of the system. A few months later, Binnentech purchased a full license and deployed the system across the globe.

    Based on my experience working with the Dutch, the actual timeline was years, not months.  Why make a decision now, when you can endlessly discuss the merits and failings over the long haul.   It was amusing to watch contractors, employees, and management come and go over the years while the "decision makers" continued to debate the details of the product purchase and deployment.  Basically they made a career out of the process.

    ya ya ya

  • ang (unregistered) in reply to Noam Samuel

     true (GNU coreutils) 5.96

    Yes, that's right, there have been more than 5 versions of /bin/true. I'd like to see their CVS commit comments.

    Silly wabbit.  There have ben more than 5 versions of GNU coreutils, not /bin/true.  GNU coreutils has about 180 tools in it.
     

  • biziclop (cs) in reply to I Best VP In All Portland
    Anonymous:

    Alex Papadimoulis:
    Several months later, and long after the developers built the real Knowledge Essentials system, Binnentech finally approved the purchase (despite paying it long ago) and Dave returned to The Netherlands to do a real install of the system. A few months later, Binnentech purchased a full license and deployed the system across the globe.

    Based on my experience working with the Dutch, the actual timeline was years, not months.  Why make a decision now, when you can endlessly discuss the merits and failings over the long haul.   It was amusing to watch contractors, employees, and management come and go over the years while the "decision makers" continued to debate the details of the product purchase and deployment.  Basically they made a career out of the process.

    ya ya ya

    When the management books say "The employee should take pride in his part in the company's business processes." I'm pretty sure this is not what they've meant.

  • spec (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA, yeah, a PHD means you'll never get a job!!!

     

    Here's a clue for you buddy: Lots of huge companies will hire a PHD with no other qualifications needed. 

  • EvanED (cs) in reply to Anonymous
    Anonymous:
    EvanED:
    Anonymous:

    Anonymous:
    It's this how all business is done?

     

    Pretty much, yes. 

    Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes and should stay a grad student and go for a PhD, or if I should leave with a masters and go into industry. And then I read stories like this, and I know that I want to stay. Mmmm, non-real-world-ness...
     

    If you *want* to work in the industry, a PhD will close all your doors. 

     
    Well, my thoughts are that if I go for the PhD, then my plan is going to be to become a professor. (Industry research is also an option, but I'd prefer a university or college.) This is my goal. However, I'm still trying to find my way in research (I'm a new grad student, been here a couple months) and figure out if it's something that I want to do both for the PhD and beyond. I figure I should get a pretty good sense in the next year. If it turns out that I think I can't hack it, or think that it'll otherwise suck, then I'll leave with a masters and go to industry. (Though maybe sort of a crossover thing... there's a job at MS Research called a "research software design engineer" that sounds pretty awesome.)

     So while my last post IS true, and I'm still not totally sure what I'm doing, it was also largely tongue-in-cheek. I'm not here because I want to delay entrance to the real world. I'm here because I want the PhD and a professorship.

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