Subject: Re: arch advocates
From: (Kragen Sitaker)
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2002 15:36:46 -0400 (EDT)

Tom Lord writes:
> Is that a joke?  I mean, isn't managing technology a large part of
> what those companies are for?

No.  Those companies want to make money.  They only manage technology
as a means to that end, and the less technology they have to manage in
order to make the same amount of money, the closer they can come to
starting to make money again.  If you want to sell to them, you have
to convince them that working with arch will make them more money than
spending the same amount of effort doing something else they already

You've asked for advice on rehabilitating your career and making
sales.  I offer my advice; though I think little of my skill in such
things, I think even less of yours.

Don't insult potential customers.  Insulting their intelligence,
competence, and integrity, as you have done, makes it very difficult
to close a sale with them afterwards --- they have to feel desperate.
Doing it in public makes it very difficult to close a sale with anyone
else, too, as other people fear you will insult them, too, if they
talk to you.  (I fear you'll insult me now, for example.  My fear has
kept my mouth mostly shut so far and will probably keep me from using

Don't persist in pestering people after they've told you to leave them
alone, especially in public.

Consider finding a job among people who've never heard of Michael
Tiemann or Larry McVoy, whom you've insulted in this thread.  You
might find a job among people who think ill of them (both), but I
think you'll find such people bitter and unpleasant to work with.

If someone rejects you, try to understand why.  Don't simply assume
they rejected you because of their own stupidity; every effect has
many causes, and perhaps you can affect some of the other causes of
their rejection, but you probably can't make them smart.

Try to understand what they want.

Try harder not to appear insane, especially in permanently archived
media.  When rage and fear creep up on you, as they will sometiems do,
go offline.

Don't tell other people your opinions about their job responsibilities
unless you pay them.  Asserting that they bear responsibility for
something when neither they nor their employer agree will only annoy

Don't tell people they or their companies are dangerous, unless you
think they will think this a good thing.

Don't threaten people, not even a little bit.  "Do I need to
elaborate?" sounded like a threat to me.

Don't assert your opinions about your own good qualities --- merely
asserting that you are well-informed, honest, competent, or
good-hearted will convince only the feeble-minded.  The skeptical will
infer that your assertions aim to reassure doubts among others about
their veracity, and they will wonder what gave rise to the others'
inferred doubts.  Instead, assert facts that will tend to convince
people of your virtues; for example, to convince others of your
well-informedness, you might describe the amount of time you have
spent studying a subject, the papers you have written on it, the
plaudits and citations they have received, or the money you have made.

Don't declare your own bad qualities either --- for example, claiming
to be arrogant.  Even if your declarations have little bearing on
reality (and people rarely know their own faults well), their readers
will tend to notice what little they do have.

You won't get along well with everyone.  Spending time with people you
get on well with will build happiness and better friendships; spending
time with people you don't get on well with will build frustration,
bitterness, and enmities.  Which do you want more of?

Try to sell something that doesn't require a complete restructuring of
your customers' business models.  arch doesn't, but your sourceware
development model does.

<>       Kragen Sitaker     <>
Edsger Wybe Dijkstra died in August of 2002.  This is a terrible loss after 
which the world will never be the same.