He was a stranded contractor on an Internet team that relied on the headless blunder IT department to make fixes to the company Web site.
"But we own the user experience on the Web site," his manager declared at a meeting, exuding smiling goodwill, tranquility and Alpha-and-Omega-ness.
How wonderful, thought Spig. We own the user experience. We cannot do a thing to improve it, but by gawd we own it.
Spig wrote to a friend:
"Owning the Web site's ‘user experience' is like someone pointing to a car and saying, ‘You own that car.' But when you move to get into the car, you're stopped and told: ‘Hey, you can't drive the car—you just own it.'Hurrah for pride of ownership!
"Then you see a guy who's blindfolded and sucking on a bottle of tequila led to the car. He's helped in behind the steering wheel.
"'Is that guy OK to drive?' you ask and you're told, 'Don't worry! You own the car!' But you can't help yourself, and you say, 'If I own the car, can't I control who drives it?' And the person you're talking to looks at you like you just coughed up a snail. 'Uh, no,' the person says, 'you don't get to own the car and drive the car.'
"All the while, the blindfolded guy drives recklessly around in the car, fumbling with the steering wheel and his tequila bottle and cell phone, going up the curb, smashing into fences and parked cars.
"'Could we just take the tequila away from the guy?' you ask, but the person you're talking to is already shaking his head. 'Or the blindfold?' you say, 'can't we take the blindfold off? The guy's going to ruin the car if he can't see where he's going.'"
"'You own the car,' the person says. 'You own the car.'"
Hurrah for employee engagement!
And finally, hurrah for hurrah's sake!