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Ernest Cline

geek job #19: “Acquiring” beer for developers

I know without a doubt the motivation of the gent who purloined 450 kegs of beer from the Guinness Brewery in Dublin.

The old myth is that whenever you want to get a technical job done, you grab your system administrators, database administrators, developers, or appropriate techno-geek gods, lock them in a computer room or data center, throw raw meat in the room and not letGuinness them out until the job is done.

This is, of course, an urban myth.

You don’t feed them meat, you feed them beer. All good managers know that.

I’ve had some great technical teams working for me, and they all run on the same fuel (preferably kept cold under the floor tiles in the data center). But they are a somewhat discerning crowd. If you get them normal grocery store mainstays like Miller Lite or Bud, they will in fact work with a quality level much much lower than six sigma…probably negative. If you get them Guinness, or Bass, or even Shiner for those of us in Texas, they will appreciate it and pick up the pace.

But if you get them the most off the wall local brew, the job will be over quickly so that they can sample and offer their opinions. Just go out and purchase Sir Smeadly’s Slightly Stinking Pale Ale, and (1) at least someone in the gang will have tried it and offer and opinion, and (2) by the end of the evening, not only will the work be complete in a satisfactory manner (a couple of minor bugs not withstanding) all of the geeks will be experts on said local brew and it will be in their fridges by morning.

So the gent who “acquired” the 450 kegs must have had a large upgrade coming, but he obviously wasn’t in a red hot hurry. Of the 450, 180 were Guinness, 180 were Bud and 90 were Carlsberg. If he could have substituted Old Speckled Hen for the Bud, he would have had a successful project on his hands…but one would assume he didn’t spend much time examining the contents of the trailer before hooking up and speeding off.

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  1. [...] just goes to show what a few good words about Rugby, basketball, beer and my wife will do for the enrichment of your intelligence [...]

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