Road-under-construction

"Hey, did you see the email? They're remaking our website!"

"No way, Dave. You're kidding." Cody rushed to his PC and opened the latest company newsletter. After three years of working at IniVenture, he found the news hard to believe. Despite many pleas from the employees, management had never dared to touch that relic of late 90s web design, opting to spend their time and money on more lucrative ventures instead.

"'Over the next few months,'" he read aloud with Dave peeking over his shoulder, "'we'll be cooperating with Victory Design, an award-winning web design and development agency, to bring IniVenture even closer to the world of Internet and modern technology.'"

"As if we were anywhere close to that now," Dave groaned, then took to hunting the usual bull. "Let's see: 'latest technologies,' 'brand synergy,' 'your feedback matters,' blah blah blah ... " He smirked. "Well, I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see the revamp. It's going to be a beautiful disaster."


Months passed without any news about the new website. Some employees sent their suggestions and offered help, only to be met with a standardized response and no follow-up. The newsletter didn't offer many updates either, other than the occasional reassurance that the project was "right on track" and would be completed "shortly." Reading between the lines, it seemed the revamp had either been shoved aside or canned.

Until one day, Cody ended up paying a visit to the IT department.

"Hi, Jen," he greeted the mousy girl tapping at the keyboard. "Can you hook me up with a clean laptop? We have a new guy starting in a few days."

"Uh, yeah, sure, but it'll have to wait a while," she said, not lifting her eyes from the monitor. "I'm just deploying the new website, so ..."

"Oh, it's done already?" Cody asked, surprised. "Is it any good?"

"I ... don't know, really," Jen answered. "I didn't even have time to look at it. The moment the PM got the first version from the designers, she forwarded it to me and told me to put it on a public server immediately."

"Wait, seriously?" Cody's eyes went wide. "Aren't you guys going to, um, test it or anything?"

"I tried to explain, and the other company did too, but ... well, let's just say I got my orders." Jen shrugged and went back to hacking at the keyboard.

"Well, good luck then."

Cody sneaked out of the room and went back to his desk. Wow, what a mess, he thought. It's probably going to be down for at least a week, maybe more.

But he turned out to be wrong. Just an hour later, his browser opened to the new, sleek, and remodelled IniVenture home page.

Except the more he dug into it, the more problems he found. Some links lead to 404 pages, others went into infinite redirect loops. A few images and captions were missing. And to top it off, most projects and clients were just test data left over by the developers, all of them located in "SAMPLE City, SAMPLE State, US".

Trying not to laugh, Cody clicked the "Employee Survey" link to let management know about the issues. The page promised that every employee who offered his feedback would be entered into a drawing to win a new iPhone. He answered the questions eagerly but honestly, describing his findings in detail. Then, when the last field of the form asked him to provide his name and email for the sweepstake, something dawned on him ...


"Hey, did you see the email? Guess who's the lucky guy with the new iPhone?"

"What, did I win?" Dave ran to Cody's desk and peeked over his shoulder. Trying not to laugh, Cody pulled up the latest company newsletter.

"'The new website proved to be an amazing success. We'd like to thank everyone for their efforts, and we'd like to thank over 17,000 of our employees for taking the time to voice their feedback.'"

"Wait, what?!" Dave cried. "We don't even have a tenth of—"

"Read on." Cody buried his face in his hands to contain the laughing fit.

"'The lucky winner of a new iPhone 6S is Mr. Bruce Wayne, who can contact our corporate offices at Gotham City to ...'" Dave shook his head. "Great. Now we have Batman working for us?"

"Either that, or someone failed to make sure that the employee survey was for employees only!" Giggling like a madman, Cody closed the email client.

It wasn't until the following month that management figured out the problems with the website. They ended up taking it down for a month of maintenance, then silently replaced it with the old version.

And as far as everybody at IniVenture knows, the Dark Knight never showed up to collect his iPhone.