Get Thee Behind Me!

I’ve just jettisoned yet another asshole client, one I’ve carped about here before. Mister Perpetual Crisis, I believe, is how I referred to him. If not then I should have, because the guy is a one man clusterfuck of extraordinary magnitude. I could go on and on, and by now you know that I have that capacity, but I just don’t feel like it. The guy’s assholery just isn’t worth any more of my mental energy and I already spent a few hours after I told the guy to blow away being all pumped up for a confrontation that never came, so now I’m just done and glad of it.

I’m kinda hung up just the same. When this guy first contacted me, he was looking to have some custom software developed and the specifications he had for it were very clearly in the realm of extreme performance. I told him that I could do it, but with a caveat: The code would be inaccessible to all but a rare few who possess very deep knowledge of the technology and extraordinary working memory capacity. It’s just the nature of the beast — to get that kind of performance you’ve got to go right to the extreme edges of the abilities of both machines and programmers. I play in that realm all the time as it’s my favorite place to be, but I always recommend to my clients that they should go some other way if at all possible because the result is essentially a vendor lock-in scenario. There are other programmers who do this kind of work successfully, of course, but good luck finding one. It’s far more likely than not that what you’ll find are programmers who don’t yet know but are about to discover their own limitations.

The guy said that his performance specifications were concrete and he could accept that in order to meet them he’d have to accept code that most programmers cannot grok. But now I feel bad for delivering it to him. I don’t really care one way or the other if the client CEO goes bankrupt, but he’s got employees who depend upon the paychecks he signs to make their lives comfortable and for them I feel bad.

Oh well.


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