I’m sitting in a consultative meeting with the orc-like representatives
of the Client. Their top man, a Balrog of Smug, has seen the CD-Rom
prototypes, videotext and Webpage elements of the campaign, and is now
dollying around with the colour xeroxes, biding his time before
cantilevering Memo Britannica on to my desk.
‘We’ve got a few improvements,’ the taskmaster belches as a shadow
passes across the sun. I skim the first pages. It makes no sense,
naturally - but not the usual, management speak/marketing puff/Blair
manifesto sense of no sense. Dear God, no. Instead, it reads like a
technical specification - an in-depth, overly detailed, lack of sense.
I’m scared; what if these people have a clue? It’s time to up the
stakes. ‘I’ll pass this to our staff,’ I say, dropping the crates down
to the cellar.
Moments later, Tassos, our resident Greek God of Tech, bursts through
the floorboards. As a seven-foot bodybuilder with degrees in Object
Oriented Database Design and Killing With Bare Hands, he is a somewhat
atypical geek. ‘Thank you,’ he begins, smashing one suit to his knees.
‘We appreciate your co-operation with this prestigious project, but some
of us are concerned with your definition of the technical details of the
product,’ he continues, bodyslamming a consultant.
‘You write here that we should use Java on our Webpage. Ten out of ten
for reading.net. However, Java is overkill for the animation of the
dancing detergent bottle, which is what you want.
‘You say that you want your CD-Rom to run in 1024x768 resolution. To me,
that involves spending an extra four months writing new video drivers
for an effect which will work on 10 per cent of your customer base and
crash the rest.’
Tassos turns to me. ‘You should have presented these ideas to someone
who knew enough to reject or modify them, rather than Drooling Dan.’
We decide to reconvene after the ambulance arrives. Things are improving
though - this time Tassos remembered my name.
Dan O’Brien is a new-media consultant