Sunday, August 26, 2007

Google Search Appliance.

We've just got one here. It sucks. It really shows that PageRank is the secret sauce that makes Google work. Without PageRank, all you have is an unsorted list of documents that contain the keyword. Worse than useless.

So, let's say that you are looking for the design documents for a piece of code. Let's call it Foo. You search for Foo, figuring that the design documents would be considered important and at least listed on the first page.


First page is full of release notes for patches that delivered Foo. Then you get test exit reports. Then the list of audit reports showing the customers that have it installed.

This is undoubtedly because it is sorting based on date, and the dates on these files are newer than the ones on the word document. However, release notes have no real importance unless you are searching for them specifically. Same goes for test exit reports. They are both write-once documents. Even the audits are easier to find elsewhere.

I never did find the design document for it. The first architectural document that might even be related was on page 2. It was a 5 page .pdf of diagrams.

Anyways, it just re-affirms my opinions. Google with PageRank? Good. Google Appliance? Terrible.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Seems I'm not the only one who thinks that lying to customers is a bad idea. Seth Godin just caught Home Depot doing the same sort of thing. Do people think that their customers don't compare notes and figure out who's lying and what about?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Don't Lie

I remember when I was a child, the worst thing I could ever do was lie. It didn't matter that I broke something, hurt someone or did something bad. It was only when I lied about it that I got into real trouble. Stealing and then lying about it was the worst thing I could ever do (I did it just once). Trust and honesty were indelibly inked into my personality from an early age.

That's why I find other people's behaviour so confusing. I don't understand when people misdirect attention away from the company and back onto the customer. I've seen individuals intentionally lie about faults, with a straight face, and not a hint of shame.

Don't do that. Don't lie to your customers. Your customers will eventually figure it out, no matter how stupid you think they are. Even worse, it will cause confusion in your own team. You know that fault you convinced the customer was their fault? Everyone internally thinks that it's been resolved too. So, when it crops up again, which it will, you've just wasted time, instead of buying yourself some breathing space.

Sometimes you might feel that you really, really need to lie to the customer. O.k. we'll have to disagree there. Even so, if you are going to lie to the customer, make sure that you don't lie to yourselves at the same time.

And understand, if I see you lying, I won't be impressed. I'll think you're an idiot and I won't trust you with anything.

Corollary - Every setting has a reason. If the default has changed, ask yourself "why has that changed?" Don't assume that it was done for no reason.