How to make money in the IT business

High-end database consultant gets on a plane one Friday morning. His mission: install a data mart for a customer of one of his company's clients.

"When I arrived, I asked the client what machine I was supposed to install the database server software on," says fish. "The fellow pointed to a dusty, ancient desktop computer that had been shoved under someone's desk in an abandoned cubicle.

"This forlorn and antiquated machine was decidedly underpowered for the task. But this was all they had on-hand."

So fish goes to work installing the oldest, least resource-intensive version of the database software he can locate. Fortunately, it installs without a problem.

Then he runs a program to export a large dataset from the customer's live data warehouse system. After that he begins loading the data into the database on the beat-up old PC.

After an hour, fish notices the loading process is getting slower. And then slower. And then...the hard drive fails.

By this time, it's too late in the day to restart the whole process. Besides, the customer doesn't have another computer available. Fish flies back to his office -- his mission a failure.

On Monday, the VP of development asks fish how the installation went. His face falls as fish explains about the ancient PC and the hard drive crash. This is a half-million-dollar account, VP groans.

Then fish gets an idea. "I recommended that we buy a decent server, preload the database server and data mart software, and ship it to them gratis," fish says.

"Two days later, a brand-new $2,700 server arrived with the database server already installed and configured. I installed the data mart application, wrote out some very detailed instructions and had them ship it to the customer.

"By the end of the week, the new data mart was in place and running. The customer, satisfied, signed off on the deal by Friday. Mission accomplished!"

Sharky's mission is to get you to send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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