By | April 23, 2011 12 Comments

The big crash

We’re baaack! But at least when we crashed, we crashed with good company. Read:

Amazon cloud goes down, takes every hot startup with it on

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Hi Donna,
You have my sympathies for the extreme aggravation I know you’ve been going through over the last few days.

This area (IT large systems, back-end databases, governance, security, etc…) is my professional area, or was before I became ill. This is an area I’ve always wanted to talk about, but it’s been very difficult because it’s hard for non-technical people to relate to, and technical people don’t want to talk about sociopaths (or have ANY awareness). It’s been my experience when you have an IT disaster or an industrial disaster of this magnitude that there is almost always a ‘snake’ involved in setting it up or undermining defences – frequently many snakes. The IT field is very advanced with many PROVEN guidelines and best practice frameworks to avoid exactly this type of thing. Those guidelines and assurances were what was used to sell you this service. The IT industry is (or I should say was before it got massively outsourced) largely made up of logical people who wouldn’t recognize interpersonal manipulation if they fell over it – because most of them don’t think that way. Bob Sutton (“The No Asshole Rule”) says that you generally encounter less “assholes” (which I believe is his term for what you’re proposing to label ‘sociopath’) in IT than most other professions. But that also makes them ripe for the picking for the ones who make their way up the foodchain in that profession. And it is the snakes who are constantly cooing sweet words in the ears of the executives who aren’t technical enough to understand that these proven practices are there for specific and well-proven reasons. And, unfortunately, when those industrial best-practices are followed by conscientious people the result you see looks like… nothing. Calm. Efficiency. No drama. It’s very hard for technically advanced and proficient groups to document that the ‘quiet’ that results is due to a lot of hard work, integrity, analytical thinking and professional competence, rather than just luck or simplicity. So there is always some opportunist ready to brag: “I could do that same thing twice as fast for half the cost.” Well, yes s/he could – 9 times out of 10. But by the tenth time, which was entirely predictable and generally looks pretty much like your experience over the last few days, they are usually long gone. It’s usually the discredited and marginalized workers with professional ethics who bother to stick around and clean up the mess (unless there is an overtime &/or bonus structure benefit for the predators to be the ‘heroes’ and cleanup the mess they themselves made).

I think the nuclear disaster in Japan is a great example of much of this. The public may not realize, but from the perspective of disaster planning that group was negligent and ignored glaring and completely obvious risk factors. And who is sticking around, and paying literally with their lives in this case, to clean up the mess? The ethical conscientious workers who are sacrificing themselves for the larger good for their societies or families. Certainly not the predators who knowingly took risks with the entire country’s well-being.

After all, I only discovered that my mother was a psychopath after trying to figure out what in h*** was going on in my workplace and reading “Snakes in Suits”.

So once you’re finished with high schools (ha!) – you have an even larger area of opportunity in business if you’re interested.

In the meantime, glad the site is back. And I hope, after LF’s unscheduled downtime, you can get some well-deserved, but planned for, downtime yourself. Thanks again for all you do for your readers.

Ox Drover

WOW! Donna, sociopaths playing games with a nuclear reactor for “fun and games” to see just how far they could get…I hope to hell they died with radiation poisoning in the most painful way possible.

Some of these stories of what sociopaths do is just enough to almost STOP YOUR HEART, it is unbelievable and yet SO EASILY BELIEVED…that is the kind of thing that they would see as FUN! Sheesh!


In all my years reading about technical disasters I’d never heard that! But I can’t say I’m surprised.

I’ve worked with many versions of those guys (the Chernobyl engineers). And those guys were ALWAYS knowingly put there by ‘snake friendly’ management, and inevitably replaced ethical and conscientious workers who understood the rules (and the reasons for them) and would push back if they were asked to do the wrong thing.

The problem for snake-friendly management who want to populate technical areas with people who will gladly break the rules if asked – because that management has to setup arm’s length arrangements to avoid responsibility – is that they can’t always control which rules get broken or procedures overlooked.

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