Shark Tank: The True Meaning of Value

FRAMINGHAM (04/18/2000) - THE VALUE OF PRIORITIESPilot fish's team is given two weeks to test a pair of database tool sets. Tool A barely works. Tool B is clearly better. But before they can report their results, the boss tells them Tool A has been selected. Huh? Why? they ask.

Well, Tool A is cheaper. More important, Vendor A is preapproved by the company, so by picking A's tool, the boss can save a lot of paperwork.

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Forward-thinking enterprise puts in a new authentication system with a public-key infrastructure (PKI), digital certificates, the whole works. One day, the PKI system refuses the CEO's certificate. He goes ballistic. The system is, er, adjusted. Now the CEO's certificate is an electronic skeleton key: Whenever it's presented, the door swings open. "No checking the certificate revocation list, no verification, nada," says a pilot fish. "It goes on through to do its thing."


In March, Boss No.1 reams this pilot fish for making long-distance calls home when he works late. Next month, Boss No.2 lauds fish's work bringing his project in on time: "You easily saved the company a half-million dollars," says the boss. October: Boss No. 3 lays him off - at $35,000 per year, fish is "too expensive."


Pilot fish reports half his IT group has left for start-ups in the past three months. "Management is in a panic and wants us to hire warm bodies," he says.

"Problem is, they don't want us talking to recruiters - they're worried we'll wind up getting better offers!"


One LAN manager just got a new directive: Register the domain names for every variation of his company and subsidiaries' names followed by Seems some suit read that *** "was the most likely domain name to be used to post damaging information about a company," says the pilot fish. Right - that'll put a stop to all that grousing, for sure!

Sharky doesn't suck - he bites: If your tale sees print, you get a sharp Shark T-shirt. And get another nibble every day at

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