Big D

Big D was the nephew of one of the founders of a company I worked for in the Sacramento area. He had just graduated with a BSEE from Texas A & M and, like a typical 22 year-old Aggie he knew everything about everything, or so he thought. He may have understood a little something about hardware, but he didn’t have a clue about the software development process or management.

Of course, the upper management of the company made him a software manager. Nepotism: the great enemy of the start-up company.

Big D’s people skills were abysmal. He had the finesse of the proverbial bull in a china shop. I once had a professor who described the two (it’s always two) types of people that make up the world: one group floats through life like a raft on a river, following the river’s path wherever it may lead; the other group stomps through life in combat boots, over and through the hills and valleys and rocks and trees like a tank.

Big D was definitely in the latter group. Whenever I would do anything that he didn’t approve of, Big D would employ his pet phrase: “now a normal manager would have…”, rather than come right out and say what he didn’t like. One thing he really didn’t like was when I responded to his pet phrase with, “Well, I guess I’m lucky that you’re an abnormal manager.”

Big D was very cavalier about software product release levels and had his own idea how a release directory tree should be structured. I thought at first that he implemented it to provide himself with job security, now I understand why he did it the way that he did it: he was incompetent. At one time the were 4 releases of revision 3.2 of the product and instead of giving them another revision sub-level (3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.3, and 3.2.4) like most software development companies, Big D had 32C which was really 32B for TellLab and it resided in the 32A directory along with 32A, 32B, and 32fix which contained bug fixes for … oh, who the hell knows? Then there was another version of 3.2 for Sprint named 33s – somehow it made it into its own directory. It was a complete mess and inspired one of my co-workers to write the following song.

Where is NetExpert?

(to the turn of “I am the Walrus” by the Beatles)

32C
Is 32B
In 32A.
In 32C is Tellab.
I will build NetExpert now and see Just how its runs.
I’m crying.

Modulistic core dumps
Dotting the directories.
32C resides in…
32A resides in…
32fix resides in…
33s resides in… hell, I don’t know.
I’m crying – I’m crying.
I’m crying – I’m cry-ing.

I am an egghead – woo!
You are an egghead – woo!
Where is NetExpert?
Koo koo kajoob?

Put it under ClearCase –
Slow it down to just a crawl.
Gomer’s pumping e-mail.
Goober’s merging branches.
Oh how much I wish I really knew for sure
Just how it runs.
I’m crying.

I’ll attend a meeting.
Then I’ll know what’s going on.
Wait a minute here, I’m
Hearing things in here
That sound just like that stupid e-mail
That Gomer sent.
I’m crying – I’m crying. I’m crying – I’m cry-ing.

Sitting in my cube and waiting,
Waiting for the build to quit.
If the build won’t work,
We get our kicks by
Smurfing on the world wide web.
I am an egghead – woo!
You are an egghead – woo!
Where is NetExpert?
Koo koo kajoob koo koo kajoob!
Koo koo kajoob koo koo kajoob kajoob!
Joob joob joob!
Koo kajoob!
Koo kajoob! (Fade away)

Eventually Big D moved to the Silicon Valley and became a big-shot at Cisco. I am amazed that the Internet still works.