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if your boss is a child November 3, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Did I Hear That Right?, Management, Seen Elsewhere, The Two-Year-Old.
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Is your boss a bully? Or, as my old boss was, a two-year-old? Well, apparently there’s a book about this. Here’s a tip:

Reinforce good behavior. When your 3-year-old does something wonderful, you praise her. Do the same thing when your boss does something praiseworthy. Example: “Thanks for clearly explaining that assignment. Now I understand why we had to push so hard.”

cs_tantrum

cc-licensed photo by Christine Szeto

Well, I’m not quite certain how I feel about that. Sounds more to me like it would be taken as a sarcastic comment, and no one wants to do that these days because jobs are so scarce.

What employees need to remember these days is that, just like themselves, bosses are under huge amounts of pressure to make more money for the company while spending less, hiring and paying fewer people who are constantly asked to take on new challenges and new initiatives. And, for the most part, they know their employees are overworked and underpaid and unhappy about it. Some bosses are legitimately pains in the ass, but I’m willing to bet that if you try to see things your boss’s way, you might be a little more forgiving. After all, it’s a lot harder to get a management job than it is to get yours.

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shortly after I return September 17, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Inexplicable Memos From Above, The Two-Year-Old.
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I was clearing out my e-mail today and found this inexplicable memo from the Two-Year-Old:

I will be at our corporate office Monday through Wednesday. I am attending meetings with all other executives in our branch to learn about CorporateSpeak’s new program which some of you have heard of, called Mercury. They want me to take this information and share it with all of you shortly after I return. So we’ll be meeting in the main conference room room Tuesday, July 28th at 10:00am.

Baroo? (Originally seen on Cute Overload)

Baroo? (Originally seen on Cute Overload)

This was sent on Friday July 10, which means she returned on Thursday July 16. I don’t know if 12 calendar days (8 business days) is corporate’s definition of “shortly”, but it certainly isn’t mine. To me, “shortly” indicates that we should have had this meeting on Monday the 20th.

This e-mail highlights a problem I’ve been seeing more and more of in both my own company and companies my friends and e-mailers tell me about: the fear of moving quickly. Companies are petrified of doing something wrong, of taking a chance that might not pan out, so they refuse to commit the kind of resources they need to really do something right, whether it’s right or wrong. If you don’t take bold steps, you won’t succeed, not in this economic climate.

Mercury, as it turns out, is completely useless to our branch. We never use it, and we never will. Of course, the corporate office will continue to send out e-mails about how we should be using Mercury, and people here will hem and haw about it, and then someone intelligent (usually me) will say “ah, but we don’t use Mercury, and we never will, because we never will receive the software package”, and everyone will ctfd and go back to their lives.

Oh, and by the way, we still had that meeting, and the Two-Year-Old still explained Mercury to us, and you wouldn’t believe* the amount of questions she received… and then, as she said “well, we’re not going to use that aspect of Mercury” to each of them, the crowd became more and more restless and distressed until finally one of our Old Guard — a photographer who’s been here for about 20 years — said, “so what you’re saying is we’re not going to use Mercury at all?”

Naturally she couldn’t give us a good answer to that either. So, you know, an all-around success.

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* Yes you would.

my problem with give-and-take August 31, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Lessons Learned, The Two-Year-Old.
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What we were always taught as children is: be fair. If you do something for me, I need to do something of equal perceived value for you. Perhaps it isn’t fair in your eyes, but it is in mine. This is also a founding principle in sports trades — perhaps Randy Moss was only worth a fourth-round pick to Al Davis and Bill Belichick back when he was traded to the Patriots. Davis felt he was getting a fair shake, so both sides were satisfied.

If your boss is on the other side, you lose. (CC-licensed photo by toffehoff)

If your boss is on the other side, you lose. (CC-licensed photo by toffehoff)

Unfortunately that doesn’t happen a lot at work.

The trick of give-and-take is to not overload one side — either perceived or actual overload. That happened to me last week. I went to the Two-Year-Old with an idea: we have this topical blog network, and I offered to write a new blog in the network about a subject that interests me — let’s say, for the sake of argument, I’m going to write about professional wrestling*. Writing blog entries about the world of wrestling will make me happy, and I’ll be able to bring to bear my not-inconsiderable writing talent** and wrestling knowledge to the table. Many people will read and enjoy my words as a result.

She was fine with the idea. But while I was sitting in front of her, she hit me with an “oh, by the way…”

Yes. That’s right. I’m now in charge of making sure people remember they have to consider the web side of their projects during planning meetings. That’s going to eat up about three hours every morning. Some of my web development duties are going to be shifted to the new corporate guy, which I guess is fine, but the problem here is that I don’t have any real power. I just have to be in charge without being able to pass punitive judgment on employees who refuse to do the web right (if at all).

But that’s what she decided would be the price of running this blog, and now I’m stuck with it. To me, it’s unfair — taking on a ton of responsibility in exchange for spending maybe 30-40 minutes every couple of days doing something I actually enjoy and getting paid for it. I really wish I could take it back, but it’s too late.

Beware the management definition of give-and-take. It will rarely end in your favor.

It was so easy living day by day
Out of touch with the rhythm and blues
But now I need a little give and take
The New York Times, The Daily News

–Billy Joel, “New York State of Mind”

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* I haven’t been seriously interested in professional wrestling since about 1999, but the principle is sound.

** If I do say so myself.

OUR COMPANY’S FUCKING AWESOME WEBSITE!!! July 28, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Management, Technology Trouble, The Two-Year-Old.
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This is how management views websites. (Click for bigger.)

This is how management views websites. (Click for bigger.)

Yesterday I was sitting at my desk, working on our sharepoint site when I heard, from over in the meeting vortex, the sound of the Two-Year-Old saying, “that’s so awesome, I love that!”

Which is manager code for “no one outside of this building will care”, but that’s another story.

Anyway, that was followed by the six most dreaded words any web designer or developer will ever hear:

Put a button on the homepage.

Yeah. Way to screw up the designs that marketing and web worked so hard to create to promote the entire company. Way to ruin our promotional schedule by saying “my stuff matters more than anyone else’s stuff, and that’s too bad for everyone else.”

But here’s the thing: a really good design is expandable in some ways, but doesn’t have room for a big graphical button. If there’s space in the design, it’s highly unlikely that a big vertical rectangle that says, essentially, “CHECK THIS SHIT OUT” is going to look nice amid genteel text and small accent images. Most designers use very few graphics these days anyway.

Managers don’t care. They just want their stuff to appear.

This is what managers wish websites looked like, when you get right down to it — as simple as possible, brightly colored, big letters and big graphics, saying how awesome the company is, and showing very simple links. Because really, as nice as our work usually is, content consumers are often not that bright and they need to be led.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a big graphical button to cram into one of my designs. Never mind the fact that people don’t even see graphical buttons because, in their brains, they are ads, and we’ve all trained ourselves to stop looking at ads.

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“catastrophe curve” July 21, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Definition, The Two-Year-Old.
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catastrophe curve
kuh-TASS-truh-fee KURV

I first came across the concept of a catastrophe curve in the Terry Pratchett novel Maskerade, in which Mr. Salzella, the music director of the Opera House, tells the house’s new owner, Mr. Bucket, how opera runs:

A catastrophe curve, Mr. Bucket, is what opera runs along. Opera happens because a large number of things amazingly fail to go wrong, Mr. Bucket.

Opera, like business, runs on a catastrophe curve. (Photo by Jonny Ross)

Opera, like business, runs on a catastrophe curve. (Photo by Jonny Ross)

Sounds an awful lot like an office environment to me. See, it seems to me that most businesses these days run on a catastrophe curve — or, worse, a recursive catastrophe curve, which means that a large number of things amazingly fail to go wrong, thereby producing one product, which is a part of a larger catastrophe curve, and so on, infinitely.

As I mentioned last week, I’m working on this new site for a new client. When I got to work yesterday, I had a micro-meeting with the Two-Year-Old — her idea, not mine — because I’d asked Hope, who is in charge (more or less) of this project on the client side, if I was still doing the project. There had been some e-mails shot back and forth about how one of our other designers might work on it. Anyway, the micro-meeting was a micro-dressing-down where she said “you said you wanted to do this project, and now you’re asking if James is going to design it? I can have him do it, but you wanted to…”

And so on.

After clearing that up, Hope and the Two-Year-Old showed me a few things related to the project and gave me a few items to write down. Then the Two-Year-Old said “we really need to get working on this.”

Duh.

There’s just one problem: I have no assets. No art, no color palette, no phone numbers, no addresses, no CMS data, no nothing. All I have is the design, as drawn on our meeting room smartboard, which I printed out so I would have a handy copy to refer to.

I sat in front of Dreamweaver for a moment, thinking about what I could do on this project, and I quickly determined that the answer is “not a whole lot”. Without the art, I can’t build out the web elements. Without the phone numbers and addresses I have no information. Without content from the client (which they’re working on now), I can’t populate the page. I also can’t build the Flash animations, the video players, the forms, and the advertisements. All I can do is put categories in the CMS.

That took me all of five minutes.

I can predict what’s going to happen: two days (if I’m lucky) before the deadline, everything is going to come together, and I’m going to have to shelve all my other projects to finish this one while somehow avoiding telling anyone that I’ve shelved all my other projects. Because, you know, nothing I’ve been working on for a while is nearly as important as the newest, coolest thing.

And that, my friends, is a catastrophe curve: when you finish the project on time, on (or under) budget, and you do so at almost the very last moment because just when you’re about to give up hope every single one of your assets arrives with precisely enough time to put them all in place.

I’m sure you’ve been in my position at least once in that regard.

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fighting the derailer… and winning July 16, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Meeting Minutes, Project, The Two-Year-Old.
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We recently got a contract for a big company previously based in Washington State that is opening a local branch. They want a completely new website, and they’ve hired us to produce it. So this week I had a meeting with the clients, the Two-Year-Old, and one of our graphics design supervisors.

Don't derail! (Photo by Louise Docker)

Don't derail! (Photo by Louise Docker)

And, despite all efforts to the contrary, the meeting went well.

It started with Bill — the GDS — making notes on what the clients wanted their graphical presentations to look like on-line, in their TV spots, and even on their building (yes, we do that too). Bill’s job is to translate client demand into something our artists can understand, and he’s very good at that and pretty much everything else he does except managing actual employees*. Bill did his part and then had to leave to work on some other, more pressing projects (this particular one isn’t due until August 31, I think).

So it was me, the Two-Year-Old (“2“), and Mack and Hope from the client company.

The meeting started promisingly; I took control of it from 2 to offer Mack and Hope a look at other designs I’ve done for clients, stressing that these were just examples and I could do pretty much whatever they wanted within their corporate specs**. They picked a design to start from, one with clearly-defined boxes “floating” on the background color of the site, because they liked the bite-size-ness of it. (It’s one of my favorite designs, but I think they picked it because it was so different from the other standard designs I showed them.) I’m not sure 2 liked it, but that’s okay, because it’s the client who has to be happy, not 2.

2 has this thing where everything has to have her stamp on it in some way — that is, she tends to take control of meetings, both internal and client, and impose her ideas upon them. She did it with the graphics even though Hope, the client’s marketing manager, had her own plan for the graphics. It turned out to be about a 60/40 compromise in Hope’s favor.

That’s when I knew I had to side with the clients, even if they made unreasonable demands — 2 has a habit of trying to do too much that clients neither want nor need and only agree because she’s so insistent.

Fortunately, Mack — the client’s local operations manager — is more like me, and Hope is even more like me than Mack is. They came in wanting streaming video, a CMS, several forms, two or three Flash animations, and incorporation into the rest of their corporate site***. 2, standing at our whiteboard, started drawing and writing textual cues for customers.

And to her not-very-well-hidden dismay, almost every suggestion I made was accepted by Mack and Hope even as she gave her “yes, well, how about this way instead”. I had already figured out via research what the clients wanted and was providing them not only what they wanted but giving them the opportunity to expand as needed. 2, by contrast, was giving them what she thought they liked. Thing is, 2 is a manager; she doesn’t deal directly with clients the same way I do, and as someone who’s been doing this as long as I have, I’m really good at divining what clients want and delivering products that go just beyond that.

Throughout the whole meeting, 2 kept trying to derail what the clients wanted and the three of us — Mack, Hope, and me — kept pulling her back on track. Honestly, I think the meeting would’ve gone better without her there, but I didn’t have that authority. In the end, we all separated amiably and Hope promised to stay in touch with me and back me up on any unreasonable changes that 2 might try to force through as we build out their digital business. That’s reassuring. I know she’ll probably not be as supportive as I might like when push comes to shove, but she’s made it clear that she sees what 2 was trying to do and appreciates it as little as I do.

Sometimes meetings get derailed. Sometimes you fight the derailer and lose.

At that meeting, we fought her and won. And it felt good.

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* Well, you can’t be good at everything, right? Unfortunately his lack of good management of people tends to make my life difficult.

** Their corporate office had e-mailed the official “you can do what you want as long as you also do this, this, and this” document to me last week. It’s surprisingly short.

*** Their Washington office works with our Washington office, which is fortunate because now I have code to copy, thereby saving me time.

feedback: the creativity killer June 25, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Experiences, Management, The Two-Year-Old.
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I've heard this was originally printed in the Utne Reader, but I'm not sure.

I've heard this was originally printed in the Utne Reader, but I'm not sure.

I took a lot of flack last month for a post about a manager turning one of my projects into crap. I freely admit that I got too attached to that project, and that management’s prerogative — as I well know, after writing this blog for this long — is to ruin everything and then blame you for it.

On that topic, Six Revisions has an excellent post up about how feedback can ruin your creativity.

I would hesitate to tell a surgeon how she should initiate the first cut, or tell the airplane pilot that I think he should move to another altitude for faster travel. But heck if I haven’t had someone walk past my desk and offer unsolicited tips on how I could improve a design I am working on.

That’s amazing. Because it’s true. Hell, I’ve done it! But more often I’m the victim; more often I’m the one who someone says “hey, that’s great, but why not do this instead because I like it better.”

What I love about the article is SR’s three types of creativity-killing feedback:

Egocentric: This person believes that their opinion has more weight because their experience or rank means more than your experience and/or rank. They will take credit for ideas until something goes wrong, then it’s all you.

Uninformed: This person feels they know enough to make important decisions based on something like reading an article or working with a designer in the past. They know enough to be dangerous. Some might offer an opinion just because they were asked or only speak up to justify their value as a team member.

Influenced: This person has motivations that relate only to the world they live in. It might be a marketer who only is concerned with a brand guide being followed to the “t”. The user experience might be secondary or quickly drop completely off the list, as they get distracted with unimportant details.

Funny how all of these fall into the category of “types of ‘feedback’ a manager will give you”.

Egocentric: Wow. Perfect. Here’s an example: one of our internal sites was doing a lot of promotion and not a lot of internal company news, so I did a minor redesign to facilitate promotion. The Two-Year-Old decided she didn’t like it, and even though she asked me to solicit opinions, in the end we changed it to the way she wanted it because she’s the manager and I’m not.

Uninformed: Managers generally got to be managers by, at some point in their lives, doing the kind of work they hired you to do. Then they gradually gain more and more power until they supervise a vast number of people similar to the team they used to work with — a marketing manager, for example, who is in charge of marketing, web, PR, and graphics. Maybe she was a marketing person who ordered graphics, wrote some PR, and ran a blog; now she’s got just enough knowledge to say “at my old job, we did it this way, so let’s change parts 1, 3, and 7 to look like my old company’s website.”

Influenced: At the same time, managers are responsible for conforming to brand/corporate identity. They want things to look new, cool, and different, but only within the confines of what we are permitted to do by our corporate one-sheet. So once designers (like me) put together something exactly the way the manager wants, it’s the manager’s job to pull out everything that doesn’t fit the accepted model and leave the project looking like the same thing you always do.

SR also has twelve great tips about how to manage critical feedback and make use of it, and the commenters on the article have useful tips as well. Definitely worth reading. While you do that, I’m going to go change something that a manager told me doesn’t meet our brand identity even though she’s seen it done at two of our other offices that she worked at so it must be good enough to happen here.

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hoist by my own petard June 22, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Did I Hear That Right?, Experiences, The Two-Year-Old.
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Most offices do things in strange, roundabout, or complicated ways not because those are the best ways but because those are the ways that have always been used. As a web guy, I’m much more up on technology than most office drones, and as such, I’m looking for new ways to do things that actually improve the process. To that end, I’ve printed out the following Grace Hopper quote and put it on my desk.

The most dangerous phrase in our language is ‘we’ve always done it this way’.

Well, that came back and bit me in the ass on Friday.

One of the things instituted by the Two-Year-Old is that everyone in her department is in charge of putting their own web content online. Some do it well, some do it average, some do it because they have to, and some (the highest-paid ones, rather predictably) don’t even bother, counting on everyone else to do it for them. I’ve been in charge of plenty of web training, because (a) I’m an expert in all our web apps and (b) I’ve actually been a teacher. Oh, and I also write all the manuals for the web apps, using pictures, big arrows, and as many small words as possible.

On Friday, I went to see the Two-Year-Old about a better way to do web content that basically boils down to this:

Remember when you halved my department and absorbed the person who oversaw all web contend during the day, then made it so he doesn’t do that anymore, and then didn’t replace him but instead just told all your people to put their own stuff online? Basically, we need your people to each take a day and oversee all web content to the exclusion of all else.

For a company that believes the web is the future, I still find it appalling that:

  • I am the entire web department.
  • If I didn’t take it upon myself to police our web content, no one would do it, and no one would care.
  • The rest of the staff either doesn’t care about the web or puts it last instead of first.

However, the conversation was rather deftly turned to “how can we make things easier?” I put forth that more people need to be able to move layouts from the art computer to the production computer. In the old days, we had to use an internal FTP program, but in the past year we’ve implemented a really good piece of software that I’ll call MoveItThere. Dump the layout in MoveItThere, tag it, then go to the production computer and type your tag into MoveItThere. Voila!

Yes, I know, it would be better if they were on the same system, but like I said, “we’ve always done it this way”.

Anyway, the Two-Year-Old said “we need to find a better way” and I said, rather stupidly, “because of the firewalls, we’ve always had to have a process like this.”

“But don’t you have a sign on your desk…”

My stomach dropped down into my socks.

Hoist by my own petard!

I managed to recover and turn the conversation back to my point, which was: “look, we need to make some changes around here. I can plan them out, but as the boss you have to actually make them.” She agreed, looking rather haggard — her job is pretty stressful and she spreads herself very thinly — but we didn’t come to any actual conclusions about changes being made.

Score one for the Two-Year-Old.

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This is post #250 of CorporateSpeak. Thanks for supporting me this long. Tell your friends!

turning right into wrong, one project at a time May 28, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Experiences, Management, The Two-Year-Old.
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That pile of brown stuff was spread all over my hard work, and I can't even take issue with the person who did it. (Photo by Mike_el Madrileño)

That pile of brown stuff was spread all over my hard work, and I can't even take issue with the person who did it. (Photo by Mike_el Madrileño)

Okay, I have to step out of the “That Guy” persona here for a moment and vent about The Two-Year-Old, who for this post I will simply call 2. Because last night she took something that I worked very hard on and shoveled a huge pile of shit on it, then spread it around evenly, creating something that I’m no longer proud to have my name attached to.

Here’s what happened*.

Wally, who I’ve written about in the past, was working on a huge project for one of our biggest accounts. We’d all heard about this, and we knew it had the potential to be one of our biggest money-makers in a very, very long time. A lot of people worked on it, including 2. As it got closer to the project being delivered and going live on the customer’s site, I realized that Wally simply didn’t have time to do his portion of the web work.

So I went to Wally and said, “give me list of web work and I’ll take care of it for you, because I know you’re busy.” That, and this project could conceivably win us an industry award, and I’m always up for adding another one of those to my wall (I have four so far). Wally gratefully accepted my offer and I spent a good chunk of Tuesday building the accompanying website to complement Wally’s video and photography for the client.

Wally was not only extremely grateful, but he said several times how good he thought it looked and how pleased he was with the work I’d done.

I passed some information onto our night shift coordinator, telling him that Wally might have some last-minute stuff and here’s where it should go on the site, before leaving for the day. The night shift coordinator knew what he had to do to make the project go live for our client (and did so).

I came in Wednesday and, after doing some administrative work, went to the client’s site to see how Wally’s — and my — project looked. I always do that; you never know when something’s going to look weird, and I’d rather push out a change from my end before anyone says anything.

The project? To put it mildly?

I just about yelled “HOLY FUCKING SHIT” in the middle of a crowded production facility, with one VP and three managers in earshot.

I knew it would happen. I just knew it. Anytime 2 gets involved, she has to change things to look the way she thinks they should.

I build websites that are cross-browser compatible, and pretty much seamlessly integrate everything that needs to be integrated, using whitespace artfully while making sure things look neither too cramped nor too empty.

What she had done was evocative of a Geocities website from the late 90s, IE-only, with flashing cyan Comic Sans text on a burgundy background, passages of text she thought were important highlighted and in bold, and — in my opinion, as a writer, the worst of all — the accompanying text that went with Wally’s video and photography had been replaced by a slightly-sanitized version of Wally’s shooting script.

I eventually calmed down and, when Wally came in, I went over and said, “2 replaced the site we** built with something else, didn’t she.” I didn’t ask.

Wally confirmed it, and had the decency to look apologetic. Hell, he probably was apologetic.

Then I came back to my desk and tried not to stew.

Meanwhile, over in the meeting vortex, I found out that the client’s legal department was having issues with some of the subject matter of the project. They passed that on to us, and since Wally had left for the night, 2 did the only thing she knew how to do: take apart someone else’s vision with inexpert tools*** and slam it back together, then put a coat of paint on it and hope to dazzle the client with bullshit instead of baffling them by doing something brilliant.

2, by the way, is not a web expert in any way. For example, she made all of her people responsible for web content at her old job and then did nothing when the quality of said web content went from “A” to “C-minus” in about two days. She has a marketing mentality, which isn’t the best thing to have in a content production role; that is, if it’s not big, shiny, and flashing, and above the fold, it doesn’t exist. Also, in her mind, the right column is not seen by anyone going to a website (she actually said that to one of my supervisors).

I’m not going to go and talk to 2 about what she did because of the whole legal issue, but seriously? If this was the New York Times and she’d done a hack-and-slash job like this to one of my articles and let it go to press with my name on it, not only would I be dragged up before the editor but I’d be glad to have it happen. I’d be glad to show the editor what I did and what 2 did and let the editor decide who’s at fault for making the article into a piece of utter promotional bullshit instead of the well-written piece I’d submitted to the layout person.

Unfortunately, because I work at a production house, I can’t even complain. All I can do is go into the code, take my name off the project, and if the client comes to me, refer him to 2. Let her deal with the fallout.

When you’re trying to make things better on all your distribution outlets, 2, taking good work that people have done and spreading your own personal brand of shit on it is not the best way to go.

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* Obviously I can’t use real names or give you web links because… well, because I don’t want to get fired, to be honest… so you’ll have to bear with me. Sorry.

** Yes, I know, I was the one who built it and Wally just provided some parts, but it’s always good to say “we” around people who are usually difficult to deal with. Also, Wally was under a lot of stress — more on that in a moment, back up in the entry — due to some legal issues with the client.

*** With apologies to Terry Pratchett and the Susan-in-English-Class scene in “Soul Music”.

on being hamstrung May 26, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Management, Technology Trouble, The Two-Year-Old.
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One of the things our CorporateSpeak office does is run a feed service that pulls in articles and sends them out to our clients who want news feeds on their sites. One of my jobs is to cherry-pick from our various branches and include the articles in client feeds.

A model in a fashion show. (Photo by Ben Yeoh)

A model in a fashion show. (Photo by Ben Yeoh)

I found an interesting article on Friday posted by one of our clients on their company blog about a fashion contest they held. At the contest, one of the entrants chose not to wear underwear and was photographed without it. A photo with her nether regions showing appeared on another website. Anyway, long story short, the client said “you signed the indemnity agreement, so it’s entirely your fault. Tough it out.” The woman, however, is in a position of some visibility at her office and is concerned about her image.

Given that web traffic often increases when stories about animals, children, and attractive women are posted (and this woman was attractive), I thought the story would be good to put on our own site’s feed — we maintain a small news feed as part of our promotional material.

The story was up for about six hours; the moment the Two-Year-Old saw it in our top pages of the day report, she decreed it to be completely removed from all feeds. Which was done.

Today I checked our traffic reports; the story was the second-most-viewed thing on any of our sites, and on the website where it originated, they received 300,000 page views (we got about 4,000). It was also the most-viewed video of the day on our video CMS, and the fourth-most-viewed video of the week. Pretty good for only being on the site for six hours.

I put the story up to drive traffic to our site. It did that. People saw our ads — video pre-rolls and banners. They may have clicked them. Money may have been made because of that story; I know our client made some. But because the Two-Year-Old happens to have two nieces the same age as the young woman in the story, she was particularly affected by it and ordered it eliminated. I imagine if the story had come from one of our other branches, instead of a client site, she would’ve been on the phone to her peer over there and had it taken down (the Two-Year-Old is a very powerful person in our company, and can order almost anyone around, including — I think — my Big Boss).

I just don’t understand it: companies want to grow their web business, but managers refuse to comprehend that you have to be edgy on the web sometimes — and if the option to be edgy without it being your “fault” falls into your lap, you have to take it. I mean, the most popular post ever on CorporateSpeak is The Facebook Babe — maybe because there’s a picture of two women in bikini tops? I don’t know.

Boobs sell. Cute kids sell. Puppies and kittens sell. Wardrobe malfunctions definitely sell. Just, apparently, not around here. Because we really don’t want to grow our web business; we just want upper management to think we do.

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This post marks the addition of a new category, “The Two-Year-Old”, because it seems like an awful lot of my posts are about things she does that make no sense.