Once upon a time there was this little company that did engineering work for a government customer. They grew fast and instilled a culture of teamwork and reward for effort. Times were good. At least, that’s how it appeared on the surface.
Some people (ok, ok, software developers) within this company developed this rather useful piece of software to help them gain a competitive advantage, and it in fact did just that.
Then their competitors came knocking. They wanted to know if they could buy or license this wunderkind software product to use for their business needs. And the MBA wizards and warlocks, in their magic capes and cone-shaped hats decided to… (dramatic music here please…) do nothing at all. They didn’t even give an answer. Not to the competitors, and not to their own employees who inquired about it.
Months passed without any reply to repeated inquiries from inside and outside of the company. The wizards had gone into hibernation. Then at a large meeting of masterminds of genius innovation and ultimate circle-jerking (without Jergens though, no budget for Jergens), the wizards were cornered. The HPIC (that’s Head Peon In Charge) asked again: “Have you decided what we’re going to do about these requests to license our product?”
One of the wizards asked “why?”. He then sat back into his oversized chair as if putting the battleship on cruise control and watching the stars streak by in hyperdrive on the way to Alpha Cent-assface.
The leader of the peon-pack, the developer epsilon minion himself responded:
“…Because it would not only bring in additional revenue, sir, but we could require a subscription contract and that would in-turn mean forecast-able revenue. In addition, it would mean our competitors would by nature become proponents of our product, which would in-turn build momentum for additional licensing and yet more revenue. Let’s not forget, three of our five competitors are asking, and not just once but every week for the past few months. And not least: it would mean that our competitors would become dependent upon us for this lifeline of productivity. These are all positives for us. Sir.”
The MBA straightened his overpriced suit, positioned his pen on the table top (to be perpendicular to the table edge, of course), rubbed his fragile, recedent chin and furrowed his manicured brow: “I don’t like it. I don’t want to sell our product to the competition. I wouldn’t want to buy a competitor’s product either.”
The peon/minion quickly replied with a grin: “But sir, we already buy a competitor’s product. Remember that PO you signed for? Requesting X seats of ‘Product X’ last month? You recall it was for $10,000 per seat, plus maintenance and support? I believe that PO amounted to over a million dollars, sir. That product is owned and sold by ‘Company X’ who is one of our BIGGEST competitors.”
The MBA sat still with utter shock: “Impossible!”… “Is this true?!”
Just because you earn an MBA does not make you wise. It does not make you knowledgeable either. It doesn’t even make you aware of what your own company spends money on, even when YOU are the one signing the fucking checks.
And we are still somehow amazed when companies like Enron, AIG, ChoicePoint, and so on pull the pin on their corporate suicide vests and blow themselves to pieces on the evening news. An MBA is a symbol of accomplishing a pile of work. It is not a knighthood or religious symbol to be worshipped.
(In case you’re wondering, yes, this story is absolutely true. And those same MBAssholes are still raking in great salaries making bad decisions)