Shark Tank: The Smartest People Money Can Buy

MIL SPEC Pilot fish at a U.S. Department of Defense contractor gets a message from a fellow employee - and so does everyone else at the company - shortly after the secure headquarters intranet switches from a military to commercial domain name: "I have been changed over from .mil to .com and I forgot my password to get on to put my time sheet in. Could you tell me what it is? Thank you. My employee number is . . . "IF IT'S BROKE, DON'T FIX IT Corporate IT director unilaterally decides to outsource all PC support on a per-call basis.

After a 60-day transition period, he calls all in-house IT support staff and tells them to stop solving their teams' PC problems, says a pilot fish.

According to the boss, they're "reducing the need for the external help desk" - and he's underspending his outsourcing budget.

SYSTEMS ANALYST Pilot fish mail-orders a hopped-up PC for his own use. It arrives, he pops open the case and finds the 933-MHz Pentium III chip just swinging free, dangling by its fan cord. He sends it back for rebuilding, and a few days later calls for a status report. They've found the problem, the service rep tells him: "The CPU wasn't seated correctly."

A NETWORK PRINTER stops working, so this pilot fish investigates. Turns out the printer was moved across the hall - where there's no network port. A supervisor tells the fish she needed a file cabinet where the printer was. She moved the printer, but "didn't know what to do with this extra red wire coming out of it."

UNDERPOWERED Citrix Systems Inc. server is making life miserable and unproductive for this company's field staff. But when a vendor offers a free trial of a fast new server, the boss says fuggedit. His logic? Once the field staff has worked on a faster server for a month, they'll never want to go back - and he'll have to shell out $15,000 to keep the new system.

Tell me your tale: sharky@computerworld.com. If your story prints, you get a sharp Shark T-shirt. And get more online every day at computerworld.com/sharky.

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