Looking At The Things Flashing By

Lj user saltdog reminded me of something from the not so long gone era of dotcoms. Back then there was a tremendous proliferation of web development companies that called themselves “agencies”. I worked for one back then.

These companies behaved kind of like bacteria in a pool of agar-agar. At first they multiplied. Razorfish, iXL, Scient, Viant, Sapient, Agency.com, Organic, Xpedior, Proxicom. Then they tried to enlarge themselves. Some by what they called “organic growth” which is like when a bacteria that grows more cells. If I remember correctly Razorfish tried doing that. Others engorged themselves by swallowing smaller companies like some corporate amoeba. A prime example of that was iXL. Then there was a type of companies that multiplied by cloning. Scient, Viant and Sapient even had cloned names.

Clients that wanted websites (agar-agar) were plentiful, but coding monkeys (minerals) were the growth limiting factor. The agencies spent much of their profits on advertising to lure in potential employees. One of the more creative ways I’ve seen at Sapient (I think, it could have been some other -nt clone). They rigged their website to detect referrals from ip addresses that belonged to other agencies and present a customized front page that presented top reasons to leave that agency and start working for the clone.

A magazine ad (I think from Silicon Alley Reporter) that stuck in my head and what lj user “saltdog” reminded me of was rather unique. It was just a copy of a ticket. A real ticket given by an MTA cop to some codemonkey at some now defunct agency. It was a little hard to read and probably not very eye catching. In the memo field of the ticket it said something like this: ” MTA police officer [Cop’s name] encountered [Codemonkey’s name] riding between the cars of the [some letter or number] train. When asked about what he was doing [Codemonkey] answered, that he was “looking at the things flashing by” “. The ticket was for $25 or $50 dollars, or something like that. The copy below the ticket invited people who like “looking at the things flashing by” to go work for that agency.

Yeah, that in itself was the epitome of the dot com era. Looking at the things flashing by. Then the amoebas, multicellular scum and clones ran out of agar-agar and began to merge, become swallowed by more evolved corporations and die.


These real smart real estate agents were havening a strategery : let’s use that computer thing to put together a flyer and post it in in the office window. And this evening I brung my camera with me and took a picture of it:

Mantainence and airconditeonery. Leny and Boris lerned rite real good. And what an economy of words! Oh, and the amazing mathematical formulas. This is advanced real estate calculus, don’t even try to comprehend it.

Real estate broker’s fee is 5 percent to 7 percent of the sales price. That’s pittance for the services provided, wouldn’t you agree?

A phrase that I hear a lot these days is “Well he used to be a programmer, but now he is a real estate agent”.

Die Kunst der Rant : Contrapunctus 2

“How may I help you?” is probably the stupidest question that salespeople ask. There are hundreds of things that salespeople mean by it. It can mean “Do you even know what you want?”, or “Are you here to buy something?”, or “Buy something, dammit, or get out”, or “Dude, you are wasting my idle time” or “My manager is making me say this, but all I want is see you leave”.

“How may I help you” implies that you need help. It suggests, that you can’t make a decision on your own. A shopper that answers “yes” is obliged to come up with an explanation about how the salesperson can assist, and it’s not an easy thing to do. Many people don’t even know what they want yet. On the other hand, people that actually know what they want and have questions will seek out a salesperson and ask those questions. That’s of course when the salesperson will be nowhere to be found.

But guess what, turns out, there is an alternative! I’ve been reading this book about buying used boats. The author mentioned that real professional boat salesmen don’t use the phrase “How may I help you”. What the say is “What can I show you?” You see, this question is very hard to answer negatively. To make a sale, the salesperson needs to know what the customer is interested in, show off the product and make a pitch. “What can I show you?” is a question that is easy to answer and hard to walk away from. It’s a polite way to ask a permission to launch a sales pitch.

Strangely enough, I don’t think that I ever heard “What can I show you?” asked in a store.

Computer Desk Manifesto

I need new computer desks. Two of them. I’ve spent enough time working with computers, and here is my computer desk manifesto:

1) All desks created specifically as computer workstations suck.
2) Keyboard drawers are evil. You don’t need them.
3) Telescoping keyboard platforms are evil as well.
4) You don’t need a section in a desk to hold the computer case. It will make it hard to get to the computer, plug in devices, change video cards. You computer will overheat.
5) Little shelves and enclosures on top of the desk suck. They will fill in with worthless junk, like old disquettes and cds, paperclips and other garbage. You won’t be able to fit in a large monitor, and the monitor will overheat.
6) There is no need for a special monitor stand.
7) There is no need for a printer stand under the desk. In fact, you don’t need anything under the desk except space for your legs, computer case and the cat.

So what an ideal computer desk is like?

1) It’s a regular sturdy table. 4 legs and a tabletop. Very sturdy.
2) Height should be easily adjustable.
3) It should be fairly large.
4) If there are rollers on the legs, you should be able to lock them.
That’s it!

I like Overkill Design’s Jack Kidney table. They make other stuff as well. One thing I’ll say for themBlue Jesus is cool. (sung to JCS music)