Upside Down Secrets

I recently signed another NDA. Yet at the heart of this company are patents. You know those PUBLIC documents describing the process that the company wishes to protect. Additionally it is a company that has been running a website for many, many years. Nearly all of the features are now available at a ton of other websites, though like a Swiss army knife it can be argued that they are ALL conveniently available only there. I’m not naming the website or the company, but they know who they are.

Their packaging was revolutionary when it was brought out. Now with so many wanna-be social-networking-collaboration-sharing sites and similar web apps available from Yahoo, Google and Bing (a MS response to mentioned threats) it is strange they still maintain a veil of secrecy. Cone of silence please! (Maxwell Smart)

The company has recently found several people that really want to use their product and is not letting them. Why? Because it is a nuisance to grant them access (or some silly reason like that). By the way, their web based subscriber product recently had a mishap making it unavailable for a week! This naturally caused a primary subscriber to reconsider their service. I presume he/she is seeking an alternative means of keeping his/her data accessible, even as I type. Looks like it is not the best managed company either, but we all have our faults.

So in a world where you want everybody to know everything about you, at least to the point that their appetite is whet and they are hungry to try out your goods, this place keeps itself hidden. Meanwhile other sites continue to gobble up their potential clients, minute by minute and day by day.

But they are SAFE from anyone ever KNOWING about them! Yeah for SECRETS!

Unless of course the world starts reading my blog. Because all the secrets are revealed here, somewhere, extracted from places otherwise hidden such as in obtuse references within Classic ASP and Legacy Code and wonderful twisted Spaghetti dB’s. From within horrible guts of code containing neither comment nor documentation.

I imagine any new hire will NOT have a clue as to how to maintain their companies core; its website software. But that’s good! It is yet another way of keeping things secret.

However YOU can follow my humble attempt at being Sherlock Holmes. Watch as I piece it together bit by bit. Thus forming an ugly picture of how things came to be. Discover alongside me how this is not unique to the unnamed company. Sadly, many other companies have rushed to judgment trying to make money before establishing a solid foundation of quality and reliability. A sucessful company needs more than mere promises from vendors. A company must do its own testing. Like fire drills and tornado preparedness. For calamity will happen. Are you prepared?

So what will your company do if key personnel are no longer available for questioning? Will it be satisfied with documentation paid for? Does your next employee have ALL the knowledge needed to at a minimum; maintain the current system albeit with antiquated tools?

Or is your company TOO more obsessed with secrets?

In my humble opinion ALL companies should be obsessed with GREATNESS and especially the ingredients that “Make it so!” (Picard).