City tv control room Doors Open Toronto 2012 (1)

Mr. Reynholm took great pride in his technical knowledge. Of course, as is often the case with CEOs and self-appointed CTOs of technology startups, that didn't necessarily mean he possessed any in the first place. But what Mr. Reynholm lacked in skills, he made up for in charisma. His designer suit, Brilliantine-laden hair, and the ability to turn a reading of El Reg with a thesaurus into a business pitch kept the company afloat despite the lack of any real product to speak of.

And as Jenny sat behind her ebony desk in Reynholm CorpoTech's office, reminiscing about her "technical" interview from two weeks ago, she thought that maybe she shouldn't have been that eager to accept her first real job offer from Mr. Reynholm's hands.

Suddenly, the loud ding of an Outlook notification snapped her out of her thoughts.

"Hey, Rob," she asked a young guy sitting to her right, "what's a, um ... Technical Meet-Up With Mr. Reynholm? Do I need to attend?"

"What, again?" Rob sighed, checking his email. "Aw, no. Aww, Jesus. And it's this afternoon?"

"Let me guess, it's not a fun ride?" Jenny asked.

"Well, that depends on how much you value your sanity," Rob said. "Think 30 minutes of buzzword bingo plus 30 minutes of Star Trek-grade technobabble, blended together to give you an hour of absolute common sense violation."

"Yikes. Can I—?"

"No, you have to be there," Rob interrupted her. "But hey, there's always pizza afterwards. It's from some really good place, too: Mario's Pizza, or something like that."

Jenny decided to bite the bullet. After all, meetings were part of a professional programmer's job. Numbing her brain for an hour couldn't be that hard.


The shiny, high-tech meeting room easily hosted all the company's coders. While most of them eyed the side door, hoping for the pizza guy to show up, Jenny focused on a large, strange object in front of the speaker's podium, covered with a bedsheet.

"What do you think that is?" she poked one of her colleagues.

“No idea," he said, trying to hide a yawn. "Probably some marketing gadget. Trust me, there's no way it's something interes—"

"AHEM! Let's start, shall we?"

The lights in the room cut off as Mr. Reynholm entered the stage, silencing everyone.

"So! Developers! Developers, developers, developers, as one Steve Ballmer used to say. The best of the best, crème de la crème, the relentless force of progress! Do you know why I gathered you here?"

Nobody raised a hand. Well, Jenny thought, it's not like you bothered to include an agenda...

"You see, here at Reynholm CorpoTech, our mission is to bring technology to everyone. It doesn't matter who or where you are. If you want to take this journey with us, we're waiting for you with arms wide open. For you see, I had a dream, and in that dream I was a poor child living on the streets..."

As much as Jenny tried to stay professional, her attention frequently wandered away from the speech.

"...and by making our company webpage viewable from even low-budget devices, we'll make our userbase as inclusive as possible. Which brings me to today's topic: responsive web design! You see, content is like water..."

The audience's collective grimace told Jenny it was okay to let go. A lot of words were being said, but none were worth listening to.


A half-hour later, the lights cut back on, startling everyone awake just as Mr. Reynholm approached the sheet-covered contraption.

"And now, I present to you ... The Responsive Testing Workbench!" He pulled away the sheet and let it drift to the floor.

Jenny blinked, then blinked again. The revealed table housed a great-looking PC tower, an ergonomic keyboard and mouse ... and six monitors of different sizes, from a huge 4K to a tiny fourteen-inch CRT hooked to a converter.

"With this setup, we'll be able to see how our website fits on any screen," Mr. Reynholm explained triumphantly. "Tiny ones, huge ones, we're prepared for anything! And I see we already have questions! Jenny, wasn't it?"

Jenny nodded, her raised hand still in the air. "Um, do we need all those screens? Can't we just test the website at different resolutions?"

Everyone was looking at her now—some with a smirk, others with genuine compassion in their eyes.

Mr. Reynholm didn't miss a beat. "Of course we could, and we will, but that's not the point! You see, when you browse the website on this huge screen, the fonts and images are bigger. On a small screen, they're smaller. So we need these monitors to see the website through our all our users' eyes. Understood?"

"But ... but ..." Jenny was about to object, but the first lesson in being a successful employee dawned on her. Sometimes it's better to let your opponent win. "I guess you're right. Sorry."

"Now now, no need to apologize, we're all here to learn! Now, back to the Workbench ..."


Months passed slowly at Reynholm CorpoTech. With two top-tier graphic cards, an overclocked processor, and open administrator account, the Workbench found its true purpose as a great time-wasting device. As for Jenny, she gained confidence and bonded with her team, but as the torrent of venture capital slowed to a trickle with no projects past the planning stage, she found herself looking for greener pastures.

Eventually, she ended up in front of Mr. Reynholm's office door.

"Oh, Jenny! Come on in,” he waved her inside. "By the way, have you seen any 14-inch monitors around here? I want to check the website at that size, but the Workbench is busy."

"No, I don't think we have any," Jenny said. "Can I show you a little trick, though?"

"Oh, I love learning new things! Come on, I'm all ears!" He shoved away from his PC, offering her control of the keyboard and mouse.

Jenny found the resolution settings and scaled them down to 1024x768.

Mr. Reynholm marveled at the results. "Now that's clever! That means I can finally test the website from my own office! It's nice to have all you geeks around to teach an old man new tricks."

"I hope you can make do with one less," Jenny said, handing Mr. Reynholm the envelope with her two-week notice. "I'm sorry. It was great working here, but I guess … I guess sometimes you need to look at things from several perspectives."