Holy cow, I wrote a book!
We Burned the Poop
reminded me of an embarrassing story
a colleague of mine related
from earlier in his programming career.
During the development of the product he was working on,
the programmers needed an image for
a comparatively rarely-used piece of the user interface.
Since programmers aren't graphic designers, they inserted a
placeholder bitmap which would be used until a real image
And since programmers are nerds,
they used a picture of a television character who was
popular at the time.
The testers naturally ran the program through its paces,
and when that piece of the user interface appeared
with the placeholder bitmap,
the testers smiled a little.
Time passed, and people became quite accustomed to seeing
that television character's face appear when they exercised
that little corner of the program.
An oddly appropriate face to alert you of an unusual condition.
And then the project reached its completion,
and the master CD was sent off to the factory for
Wait, what about that picture of the television character?
When asked why they signed off on testing with a placeholder
bitmap, the testers explained,
"Oh, we thought that was an artistic decision.
The character's personality
sort of made sense in that part of the program."
Since the image appeared in a comparatively rarely-used corner
of the program,
it never appeared during product demonstrations.
contacted the producers of the television program
to see whether they could just license the character's face
and avoid having to destroy all of the CDs that had been
pressed so far.
The producers responded politely,
"Thank you for your interest in our television character.
Our licensing fees begin at $big-number, plus an additional
royalty which varies depending on the nature of the usage,
but it begins at $another-big-number per unit."
That amount was far too much,
and management had to choose the cheaper of two expensive options:
Delivering a new master CD to the factory and telling them
to destroy all the copies they had already pressed.