Engineers and Customers

Scott Adams lampooned it, but it's true. Engineers should not be left anywhere near customers. Particularly not engineers in areas where official policy is orthogonal to common sense and the resulting mess has to be pampered like a baby in order to maintain the illusion of a viable system.

Simple proof: this conversation

Joe: So, what are we going to put in this email to the customers apologising for the downtime and the teething problems[1]?

Me: "Dear Customer,
Thanks for using our site. We'd like you to keep using it, despite the fact that we were hoodwinked into thinking this bunch of tossers who call themselves "internet developers" could write us a system on time that did the job we asked for without needing a full-time support crew of rocket scientists. We promise that in future, we will punish them individually per error we find, although at the rate at which we're finding bugs ourselves, I don't think there's enough body parts in the entire combined staff of the development company to cater for the amount of mandatory amputations we'll need to perform. We know we were foolish to believe we could run a high-traffic website on NT-based systems, and will be getting back to an improved version of our reliable old Solaris-on-Sparc machinery before long. If you can see your way towards paying us vast sums of money between now and then, we promise we'll keep taking it from you."

Joe: Hmm. Not quite the tone I was looking for. Maybe I'll write the email myself.

[1] "teething problems". Hah. You don't HAVE teething problems on a 4-year-old website, you have MORONIC DEVELOPER problems. You have MORONIC POLICY problems. You have ONGOING CLINICAL BRANE DEATH problems. Your teething problems all went away during the first week of operation.

This appeared in talk.bizarre in May 2000.

Waider Ah, I see the fuck-up fairy has paid us a visit again.