"You altered ... The Contract!," he insisted.
"Errm ... no," I didn't know how simplify it further him, "this is not a contract unless we both sign it. Nothing has been signed yet. You told me last week that this is just a review copy, and those pencil marks are just my comments about it."
The VP sat silent and confused. He flipped through my copy again, growing more and more disgusted at each pencil mark. He dashed out of the conference room in search of a pencil eraser. He returned moments later, exasperated and unable to find a pencil eraser anywhere in the building because, after all, erasers can be used to alter data and, therefore, were a security risk. Only pens were allowed in the building. Blue ink, to be exact.
He had no idea what to do; he had no access to the tools that could remove my offensive markings on The Contract. I offered this brilliant can-do solution instead: "You could just go back to your desk and print a new copy, right?"
That made no sense to him. No, can't do that. He shook his head. No. NO!!!
I calmly tried to explain it to him: "We don't have to sign this copy of The Contract. If we're going to sign anything, you'd print a fresh copy, and then we would sign that copy."
He couldn't hear me. There were pencil marks on The Contract! Pencil marks! He grabbed my pencil marked pages and bolted out the door again, leaving me alone in the conference room to contemplate the horrible things I had done. After about fifteen minutes, three people entered the conference room. They did not sit. They stood over me. The first speak was the President and Founder of the company.
"Did you ... do this?" she asked referring to pencil markings on The Contract.
Read the rest of the story here.
And then there is the sorry saga of Virtudyne:
The Savior was a self-made billionaire who struck it rich doing the type of business that makes unregulated industries regulated. He heard about Virtudyne's struggles and wanted to help out. He contacted the powers that be and offered some very reasonable terms. In exchange for investing $100M, he would take over operations and sit as chairman on the board of directors. It seemed to be a a win-win for everyone.
First and foremost, there was the new chief of operations, heralded as a "brilliant innovator" and "technological wizard." He was also The Savior's eldest son. Junior's grasp on technology is best illustrated with this simple anecdote: one day, Junior was walking past Rob Graves' office and saw a graph actively moving around on the screen. He got incredibly exited and wanted to know how he could get the cool looking monitoring software Rob was using to watch their World Wide Server. Rob just didn't have the heart to tell him it was the "Bars and Waves" visulization from Windows Media Player.
The sales and marketing department were desperate for ideas. They literally couldn't give their software away; anyone with even the most basic knowledge of Google could find out how well Virtudyne's first customer worked out. No one wanted to be their second.
But just then, it dawned on the sales team. They needed to find a market where the Internet had not yet reached. In such a market, their office suite would develop interest and that interest would lead right in to sales. One of the executives knew exactly how to find and penetrate such a market. They would use The Digital Donkey.
Read the rest of the story here.