Subject: Re: The pony show.
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: 19 Jun 2002 12:28:34 +0900

>>>>> "fsblist" == fsblist  <fsblist@netscape.net> writes:

    fsblist> Seven months ago I wrote an email to a FSB (who may or
    fsblist> may not be on this list) which outlined an idea I had
    fsblist> that would help them sell products.  It was by no means a
    fsblist> secret formula, the answer to the universe, or something
    fsblist> they could not have conceived of themselves.

In brief, it wasn't "patentable".

    fsblist> As things developed they said they wanted to build this
    fsblist> 'selling tool'

And it wasn't a product yet, either.

    fsblist> In other words: "you can do this if you can make money
    fsblist> from it, but if not we're going to do it anyway."

And they were pretty sure they could effectively turn it into a
product, with no further help from you.

While I sympathize with _your_ frustration, it sounds to me like
_they_ did the best they could in a situation where the ethics are
pretty murky.  (To work out an ethically acceptable approach, I mean.
Obviously they could have just hired you outright, which would be best
from your point of view.)

If I'm right, then this could be a valuable relationship in the future
if you treat them with respect, even though nothing comes of this (for
you).  If I'm wrong, I don't see what you can do except decide that in
the future you have to have something closer to a product before
revealing it, something good enough that they say "_he_ can do it
better and cheaper than _we_ can."  (You probably should do that
anyway.)

Note that you could actually be perceived by them to be a better
programmer than the in-house staff available, and you'd still be
substantially more expensive as a new hire/new contract.  So no insult
to your abilities is implied by their clear preference for in-house
development, either.

Maybe you should just ask them: "I appreciate your coming back to me
when you could have just run off with the idea.  But now your
responses seem pretty pessimistic to me; do you see it that way, or do
you think we still have some shared interest in this project?"

-- 
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
 My nostalgia for Icon makes me forget about any of the bad things.  I don't
have much nostalgia for Perl, so its faults I remember.  Scott Gilbert c.l.py