Monday, October 14, 2013

My 2008 mrontemp rant about those who ignore the enterprise

One of my pet peeves about Silicon Valley is that the residents often assume that everyone in the world is just like them. Everyone in the world agonizes over Android vs. iOS wars. Everyone in the world works for really cool startups with great stock options and an on-premises chef. Everyone in the world obsesses over Michael Arrington's sex life. And, everyone in the world always uses cool and shiny things, and never does anything that the Valley considers uncool. And if you do something that they Valley considers uncool...well, you obviously have a serious mental problem.

By the summer of 2008, Internet Explorer 6 was definitely in the Valley's "uncool" category. And yes, the concerns about Internet Explorer 6 were legitimate. However, the hipsters forgot that there were millions of people who had legitimate reasons for continuing to use Internet Explorer 6.

To the Valley, such a stance was unforgivable - so they took online action.

Now I could have responded in the Ontario Empoblog, but I had quit writing in that blog by 2008. My then-current blog was called mrontemp. So my response appeared there. (In-line links can be found at the original post; not sure how many of them still work.)

Rant of the day - why YOU are to blame for the continuing use of Internet Explorer 6.0

(Rant on.)

When I am at work, many of you take the time to tell me, and others like me, how much of an idiot I am.

Perhaps I'll visit Cristian Neagu's site. Or Mark Theunissen's site. And I'll get THE MESSAGE.

Or I'll go to TechCrunch, and I won't get THE MESSAGE, but I'll read about THE MESSAGE.

Or I'll hear what 37signals did.

Or I'll try to visit - and be unsuccessful in doing so.

Or I'll ask a question in FriendFeed - and get a response similar to THE MESSAGE.

Now, some of you may be wondering what THE MESSAGE is, because you don't receive it. Well, I do receive it.

And what, pray tell, is the solution to all of these issues? If I don't want to get THE MESSAGE, what should I do?

Hey, it's easy.

If all those folks using a version of any browser older than IE7 could just upgrade, get with the program and do their bit (it’s only a few moments to download and install and it doesn’t even insist on a legal copy of Windows these days!) then developers could concentrate on making great web applications using all the cool Ajax, Silverlight and Javascript features without having to worry about testing a load of different quirky behaviors.

Gosh, that's so easy, I'll go ahead and do it right now.

Um...there's one condition.

Are you willing to pay my salary?

Because, you see, the computer that I'm using now isn't mine. My computer at home is not using IE6, but that's a computer that I control. When I'm at lunch, however, I'm using a computer that I don't own - and if I insist on updating this computer, I might have a little minor problem with my future employment.

So after I pack up my things and am escorted off the premises, I can go home and play with a non-IE6 web browser all I want - well, that is, until I have to cancel the Internet access, sell the computer, and move my family to Tent City.

Or perhaps you're a businessman like RJ Owen, and 37signals is telling you to tell your customers to upgrade so that they can continue to use 37signals products. Owen points out how well THAT will work out:

[T]here's no assistance I can provide that will get these khakis-and-polo-shirts companies to upgrade any more than I can get them to quit thinking buying cake for their employees once a month will keep they happy....[W]hile they're only a few blips on your radar, they're the type of client most small to mid-sized software companies can't afford to lose. We can't stop supporting them, and we can't make them upgrade either.

37signals decision to quit supporting IE 6 forces us to choose between using Basecamp and supporting our customers, so the answer is pretty clear: goodbye, Basecamp. You're losing 100% of our business by refusing to support only 14% of our users - how's that for a bad customer experience?

OK, so Owen isn't an employee of a company using IE6, but I am. "Surely, O," you say, "you can just tell your employer to get with the program."

Let me clue you in on a little secret. If I march into the boardroom of my Fortune 500 employer, with my "save the developers" banner and my "IE6 sUxX, d00d!", I don't think that will be cause enough for my employer to see the error of its ways.

Because, you see, publicly traded Fortune 500 companies do not listen to employees. They listen to investors and the market.

If investors quit investing in a company because of a company's business practices, you can believe that the company will change its ways.

Which brings me to you.

Do you have some stock investments? Mutual funds? An IRA or 401k? If so, in which companies have you chosen to invest? What web browsers are these companies using? If you don't know this, then you're part of the problem.

OK, maybe you don't have any investments because you're a student or investments are fascist or something like that. Where do you shop? Which web browsers are used at your store's corporate headquarters? Are your purchases funding the abuse of Web developers? If you don't know this, then you're part of the problem.

So unless you want to pay my salary, get off my back - and onto your own.

P.S. Because everyone agrees that newer Microsoft applications are better than the old ones, I assume that I will soon be slammed for using Microsoft Windows XP and not upgrading to Vista. I will, right?

(Rant off.)


blog comments powered by Disqus