[TAG] (forw) Re: Someone needs help in SF
Benjamin A. Okopnik
ben at linuxgazette.net
Wed Nov 2 10:55:29 MSK 2005
On Tue, Nov 01, 2005 at 11:11:48PM -0800, Bruce Ferrell wrote:
> Benjamin A. Okopnik wrote:
> Ben, I'm sure you have a very successful practice.
> But I think you *might* want to review you ideas of ethics. Posting
> privately sent e-mails to a public list doesn't look all that ethical to
> me. Just a thought. Maybe I should go back and look at the netiquette
> files again... It's been a while.
[shrug] I've seen Rick's response to your accusation. I have no reason
to disbelieve him, particularly since I've known him for a few years
(and knew him by reputation even before then), and I've never known him
to act in a way not consistent with integrity. Not to put too fine of a
point on it, but I've just "met" you today, and you have not created a
particularly favorable impression.
> I personally don't take on jobs I don't think I can do. But I also know
> how to take the time to assess a system and make some kind of
> recomendation to allow the system owner and/or the person who sent me to
> make an informed decision. That didn't come out in Rick's account.
...so you chose to fill in the missing details with your own
assumptions, and accuse him of various mopery and dopery. This, I
presume, is consistent with your idea of ethics? I suggest that _you_
revisit your own set, and consider them at length.
> If we're going to discuss "how to be a consultant", then talk about ALL
> the nasty little disagreeable details like customer relations.
Sure; you want to talk nasty CR, I've got stories that will make your
hair grow in the wrong direction. In the situation that Rick presented,
the decision on whether to handle the job at all - with whatever
technical resources they had - belonged to the company. The decision of
whether *he* would be the technical resource used belonged to *Rick* -
inescapably and 100% so. If he dove into that system and destroyed it
through lack of knowledge, the company would disclaim his actions as
being beyond his mandate, and he'd be hung out to dry.
Now, in the theoretical Perfect World case, he could have called the
company, told them the situation, and demanded that they fax him a
guarantee with little gold curlicues around the edges, signed by all the
officers of the company, that absolved him of all responsibility - after
they had gone through a 3-hour long 3-way phonecon with the client and
made it clear that his system might be totally destroyed with no chance
of recovery. Care to give a projection on the chances of any one of
those things happening, versus a projection on the chances of loud
laughter? And, if it came down to cases, would you be willing to back
all of Rick's court costs when the client sued him for damages?
I didn't think so. But see, _that_ was only one of the risks that Rick
would have been taking.
> If you leave the customer unhappy, as a businessman, you screwed the
> pooch no matter how ethical you think you were...
Wrong! The customer's maximum happiness lies in the best professional in
the business fixing everything that is wrong, permanently, for free. If
you have ever failed in any of those things - and you have - you've left
your customers unhappy - so, by your own ethics, you've been having that
pooch long enough for several states to consider you two married.
Care to review those ethics again?
> And you screwed it
> even worse if not only is the customer unhappy, but the guy who sent you
> is unhappy. So much for professional reputations! You just burned a
> bridge. With that customer and that business contact, you now have a
> bad reputation.
The people who would consider the result of that situation to be a detriment
to my reputation are _precisely_ the ones I want filtered out of my
customer base. I often see the actions I perform professionally serve
double duty as that sort of Occam's Razor, and I consider the effect to
be yet another indicator that I'm on the right track.
> Now, can we call this finished or do we all procede to see who pisses
So far, I notice that you a) started the pissing match and b) have not
yet finished it. You can always NOT RESPOND if you want it to be over.
> I personally regret I said anything. I can most definately see
> that you're both at least as disagreeable as I am.
Disagreeable? I don't see myself that way, and I haven't seen Rick go
that way yet - although the fireworks would be quite impressive if he
did. Willing to piss in the Cheerios of someone who comes in here
rattling his saber without just provocation, well, speaking for myself,
I've got a 6-pack of good beer and I'm not afraid to recycle it
* Ben Okopnik * Editor-in-Chief, Linux Gazette * http://linuxgazette.net *
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