About a week ago a thread on Reddit appeared aiming to set the world straight about the ways of the world. The thread was entitled, “What is a ‘dirty little (or big) secret’ about an industry that you have worked in, that people outside the industry really ought to know?” And, with the vitriol the world has begun to know and expect from Reddit, the truth behind myriad industries was laid bare.
Any tech take-homes from the 35,000+ responses? Well, IT, customer service, and software development in general all appear to be a huge mess. But that’s neither surprising nor a secret. There were, however, a few interesting comments that seemed a little less obvious. And, of course, there were some crazies. Here are some of the tech/startup-centric highlights. (Please note: there is a giant “sic” implied in each quotation.)
Perhaps the most obvious: startup life is crazy!
Work for tech startups! Get rich! The glamorous life!
I’ve worked for many. Truth is the vast majority fail. They’re a good place to cut your teeth and build experience, but they’re often not worth it beyond that.
If they don’t fail, chances are the guys running it are asshole shnozzles who will dick you out of your equity too. The “Google chef” story is very very rare. Like, you’re probably better off playing powerball jackpot rare… if you have a really great idea and a great team you might try starting one. You’re going to be in competition with lunatics and complete asshats, which gives you a somewhat better chance of success if you are sane and competent. But starting a startup means 80 hour work weeks. Do not kid yourself.
One startup in particular is mentioned, Kickstarter:
You know those celebrity endorsements in Kickstarter vids? They’re paid for. One of the big ones charges $10k per video. Yet in a video he released about his own game, he filmed it in a scruffy looking kitchen as if trying to play down the vast fortune he has amassed…. Most game Kickstarters can afford their projects or get funds from elsewhere. Most are. Kickstarter is used to just get extra money and to gauge interest in projects.
Here’s an interesting one about ISPs, bandwidth-use, and content providers:
What really makes me angry is how some ISPs are expecting to get paid by three different parties to deliver certain traffic (read: Netflix and Youtube). They want to be paid by the consumer in the form of monthly access fees, they want to be paid by the firms that are delivering the Netflix traffic to their local networks, AND they want to be paid directly by Netflix for the “privilege” of sending all the traffic to their networks. In addition, there have been documented instances where ISPs refuse offers by the content providers to cache locally (at no expense to the ISP) in their data centers or they are slow to upgrade the equipment necessary to facilitate connections to the CDNs (which is one of the reasons Youtube sucks for certain areas of the country).
The ISPs act like Netflix and Youtube are asking something extraordinary of them when in reality, people subscribe to high speed internet service almost completely because they want to use those services. Simply put, if those services didn’t exist, there would be a significant collapse in demand for high speed internet.
On that same note, we don’t even know if fiber is actually that much faster:
Work for a fiber internet “to the home” company…We offer 50gb a second and the fastest 150gb when in reality the company tested a fiber to check bandwidth and couldn’t calculate the speed as the machines weren’t powerful enough, something like 40 terabytes a second before the machines topped out…
We pay too much for internet that is too slow.
IT job market desperately needs a huge pile of good software writers because 80% of software developers in the market are crappy and write immature code that leads to bugs, hacks and costs going over budget. The demand is so overwhelming that you do not need to have a college degree to get a job as long as you have gained some good experience as an intern or a trainee.
I worked at a patent firm in college. Patent offices will patent ANYTHING and will find a way, no matter what, to do so. They will also lie and pretend to be very excited about your “amazing” idea. Trust me, I have worked on some of the most ridiculous patents and smiled all the way through the process. Do not get false confidence from your patent lawyer, they don’t care how good or bad your idea is.
My favorite completely unsubstantiated, out-of-left-field claim: Apple is complicit in the drug trade (?):
I used to work for an Apple Store in New York, then one in New England. We help people launder drug money into iPhones. It happens all day, all the time. Thugs come in with tens or sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash or VISA gift cards. Technically we were supposed to report any cash payment of 10,000 dollars or more to the IRS, but managers always arrange it so each transaction is only ~9,999 dollars and then say that “we can’t keep track of who has paid us what.” We were told that the laws are “impossible to enforce” and it’s “not our place” to stop it happening. They turn the drug money into iPhones and ship the phones back to their country for sale (since iPhones can be exchanged for cash just about anywhere). Many of them carry concealed firearms in our store. If people are wondering why Apple Stores have such a short stock of iPhones even months after launch, it’s usually because these people buy them all and cart them out into unmarked vans. August is the month of tax free holidays for New England stores and if you don’t believe me, check into your local store on days when there’s no sales tax. We stocked the warehouses with thousands of iPhones specifically for these guys. Apple Stores intentionally refuse to comply with money laundering laws and intentionally assist criminals in hiding drug profits.
And of course, there were the NSA conspiracy theories, which are becoming less and less theoretical by the day:
Major internet hosting and service providers that are US based(EG: Rackspace, Softlayer/IBM, etc) will comply with legal requests for your data by three letter agencies. If the FBI wants to know what is in your server, they will get it. They come into the datacenter, take your drives, image them, and then return them. Meanwhile, the hosting provider has to make up an excuse for the downtime.
But, the real shocker may hit a bit too close to home:
Olive gardens delicious, warm breadsticks aren’t actually unlimited.
The world is a lie.