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(The Register)   Developer outsources his own work, pulls in 6-figure salary while watching cat videos all day. It's this guy's world. We just live in it   (theregister.co.uk) divider line 100
    More: Hero, VPN, critical infrastructure  
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18475 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Jan 2013 at 9:45 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-16 08:30:12 AM
What's his fark handle?
 
2013-01-16 08:50:49 AM
TFA brought to mind the probably not too obscure quote "Lady, I just sold a cat for $50,000. God bless America..."

This guy's biggest problem was just doing this on the retail (individual) level rather than wholesale (department/company wide). If he was in charge of a programming department or had his own company doing this he'd probably be praised to the roof for saving the company money. However he shoved it in his boss' face that they were silly for paying him as much as they were. Good (great) plan, poor execution.
 
2013-01-16 09:41:35 AM
This sounds like an urban legend to me...
 
2013-01-16 09:44:07 AM

labman: This sounds like an urban legend American hero to me...



FTFY
 
2013-01-16 09:48:04 AM
Yep, nothing says quality work from someone who cares like outsourced work...
 
2013-01-16 09:49:07 AM

antidisestablishmentarianism: What's his fark handle?


They already said he was a Redditor, so he is dead to us.
 
2013-01-16 09:49:29 AM
Humm...I do have complete unfettered access to the flash-drive copyable, rip out of source control and put back in later, code at my office.  This gives me an idea...
 
2013-01-16 09:50:07 AM

antidisestablishmentarianism: What's his fark handle?


BOFH

I mean who else?
 
2013-01-16 09:51:05 AM
He should have created a tunnel to his home machine and has the outsource company VPN from there.
 
2013-01-16 09:51:09 AM
How is this different than any other business in the world, other than the fact that his bosses didnt know about it?
 
2013-01-16 09:51:11 AM
Pretty epic, if true. Can't beat labor for $0.10/hour when you make $60/hour. Hell, I'd hire an entire TEAM of people for less than my cell phone costs me every month.
 
2013-01-16 09:51:24 AM
Should have used more proxies.
 
2013-01-16 09:51:35 AM

labman: This sounds like an urban legend to me...


My ex-wife found out one her developers was sending all of her work to India then submitting it as her own. Don't know if she watched cat videos all day but she was making a nice salary.
 
2013-01-16 09:54:06 AM

logieal: antidisestablishmentarianism: What's his fark handle?

They already said he was a Redditor, so he is dead to us.


img22.imageshack.us
What Fark and Reddit might look like.
 
2013-01-16 09:55:50 AM

monoski: My ex-wife found out one her developers was sending all of her work to India then submitting it as her own. Don't know if she watched cat videos all day but she was making a nice salary.


Was it well done, or poorly documented spaghetti?
 
2013-01-16 09:57:08 AM
The VPN traffic logs showed a regular series of logins to the company's main server from Shenyang, China, using the credentials of the firm's top programmer, "Bob".

ablognamedsue.typepad.com
 
2013-01-16 10:05:45 AM
I'm not sure what the problem is, here. They hired a programmer to write code, they didn't hire Van Gogh to create new art. The guy got the work done, for the money they offered to pay him to get the work done.

Looks like he got fired for bringing the project in on-time and on-budget. The horror.
 
2013-01-16 10:07:56 AM
This must be an urban legend. There is no way I would get away with this with a line manager sitting across the desk from me, weekly development meetings etc. The thought has crossed my mind more than once ...

/But then you Yanks work in cubes as opposed to our open-plan offices
 
2013-01-16 10:08:09 AM
TFA: The analysis of his workstation found hundreds of PDF invoices from the Chinese contractors and determined that Bob's typical work day consisted of:

9:00 a.m. - Arrive and surf Reddit for a couple of hours. Watch cat videos
11:30 a.m. - Take lunch
1:00 p.m. - Ebay time
2:00-ish p.m - Facebook updates, LinkedIn
4:30 p.m. - End-of-day update e-mail to management
5:00 p.m. - Go home


Taking this rather BS-smelly account at face value, I'd find that just as soul-sucking as any full-time job. I mean, work can really suck sometimes, but this sounds like mind-screaming boredom.

labman: This sounds like an urban legend to me...


That he outsourced his work is plausible, but the details could be greatly exaggerated. When you outsource for cost, you get what you pay for. Many companies have gotten so badly burned trying to outsource coding work for bottom dollar that they moved their shops back to the U.S. You really, really, REALLY need to know what you're doing when you deal with sweatshops; the most implausible fact is that this guy somehow magically found $0.10/hour labor that was good enough to get him considered an "expert". If it was that easy, the IT industry in America would be damn near extinct.
 
2013-01-16 10:08:31 AM
If he was consistently rated the top coder in his department (not sure what metric was used...lines of code written? fewest number of defect reports? some combination of the two?), then it seems he was running an effective IT outsourcing operation...unlike most IT departments. He could turn this into a consultancy gig where he coaches IT managers on how to do it right.
 
2013-01-16 10:09:05 AM
This man is my hero.
 
2013-01-16 10:10:13 AM

GORDON: I'm not sure what the problem is, here. They hired a programmer to write code, they didn't hire Van Gogh to create new art. The guy got the work done, for the money they offered to pay him to get the work done.

Looks like he got fired for bringing the project in on-time and on-budget. The horror.



Well guess what? Now they don't have to pay him at all.
 
2013-01-16 10:10:51 AM
 
2013-01-16 10:11:14 AM

LordBollocks: There is no way I would get away with this with a line manager sitting across the desk from me, weekly development meetings etc.


Supposedly the guy was working from home, so no over-the-shoulder management. However, there is the question of how he clarified the technical specs to a foreign office such that he didn't have to directly answer any questions about the code he was supposedly writing. I mean, this 10-cent sweatshop was giving him code that was completely free of bugs? Really? They must be a $100 billion business by now.
 
2013-01-16 10:12:36 AM
www.standard.co.uk

"Only WE'RE allowed to make enormous profits by pimping the work out to sweat shops!"
 
2013-01-16 10:13:42 AM

GORDON: I'm not sure what the problem is, here. They hired a programmer to write code, they didn't hire Van Gogh to create new art. The guy got the work done, for the money they offered to pay him to get the work done.

Looks like he got fired for bringing the project in on-time and on-budget. The horror.


I think it was more to do with the security breach.

/Chinese? On my VPN?
 
2013-01-16 10:16:28 AM

GORDON: I'm not sure what the problem is, here. They hired a programmer to write code, they didn't hire Van Gogh to create new art. The guy got the work done, for the money they offered to pay him to get the work done.

Looks like he got fired for bringing the project in on-time and on-budget. The horror.


Actually, it looks like he got fired for sending his two factor authentication key to China.
 
2013-01-16 10:16:53 AM
I wonder if he made the subcontractors sign an NDA, although that means jack sh*t in China.
 
2013-01-16 10:17:17 AM
 
2013-01-16 10:17:28 AM

logieal: antidisestablishmentarianism: What's his fark handle?

They already said he was a Redditor, so he is dead to us.


I thought that guy killed himself.
 
2013-01-16 10:17:42 AM
Why do I hear the "Real Men of Genius" song playing?
 
2013-01-16 10:17:59 AM

dragonchild: TFA: The analysis of his workstation found hundreds of PDF invoices from the Chinese contractors and determined that Bob's typical work day consisted of:

9:00 a.m. - Arrive and surf Reddit for a couple of hours. Watch cat videos
11:30 a.m. - Take lunch
1:00 p.m. - Ebay time
2:00-ish p.m - Facebook updates, LinkedIn
4:30 p.m. - End-of-day update e-mail to management
5:00 p.m. - Go home

Taking this rather BS-smelly account at face value, I'd find that just as soul-sucking as any full-time job. I mean, work can really suck sometimes, but this sounds like mind-screaming boredom.

labman: This sounds like an urban legend to me...

That he outsourced his work is plausible, but the details could be greatly exaggerated. When you outsource for cost, you get what you pay for. Many companies have gotten so badly burned trying to outsource coding work for bottom dollar that they moved their shops back to the U.S. You really, really, REALLY need to know what you're doing when you deal with sweatshops; the most implausible fact is that this guy somehow magically found $0.10/hour labor that was good enough to get him considered an "expert". If it was that easy, the IT industry in America would be damn near extinct.


He didn't find $0.10 an hour workers; He found $15 an hour workers and then charged his company $60 an hour to do it.
 
2013-01-16 10:18:08 AM
The Bobs think Bob has upper management written all over him...

centralpagazelle.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-01-16 10:18:38 AM
this guy has management written all over him...
www.adafruit.com
 
2013-01-16 10:18:59 AM

dragonchild: LordBollocks: There is no way I would get away with this with a line manager sitting across the desk from me, weekly development meetings etc.

Supposedly the guy was working from home, so no over-the-shoulder management. However, there is the question of how he clarified the technical specs to a foreign office such that he didn't have to directly answer any questions about the code he was supposedly writing. I mean, this 10-cent sweatshop was giving him code that was completely free of bugs? Really? They must be a $100 billion business by now.


Hmmm. Well supposing he already got a very detailed spec from a business analyst and just answered any questions via email or Skype ...

Yeah I think it's pretty unlikely though
 
2013-01-16 10:22:02 AM
if you can't tell any difference between the work produced by an onsite employee making $100k and a Chinese offshorer making $20k, you probably shouldn't be in that business in the first place.
 
2013-01-16 10:29:29 AM
The firm may have fired him, but it seems according to the article he was working at several different firms. Sounds like he'll do just fine. Could probably win a contract at several different jobs and make millions being an IT Pimp. Making all that dough while his Chinese Hos do all the work.

I say good for him

Work smarter, not harder!
 
2013-01-16 10:33:45 AM

MilesTeg: The Bobs think Bob has upper management written all over him...

[centralpagazelle.files.wordpress.com image 500x271]


AND


cwheelie: this guy has management written all over him...
[www.adafruit.com image 600x326]



30 seconds. Beautiful.

My hive mind experiment is working.
 
2013-01-16 10:35:31 AM
Budweiser Presents: Real Men of Genius.
♪ Real Men of Geeeenius

Today we salute YOU, Mr. Outsources His Own Coding Job.
♫ Mr. Outsources His Own Coding Job!

While others around you slave away at their computers, you're posting memes, and laughing at videos of animals doing funny things.
♩ Look at that Keyboard Cat play!

At a small cost to you, you're living every Redditor's dream. Sure, you could be earning 20% more, but that would be 100% less fun.
♪ Screw THAAAAAAAAAT!

So crack open an ice-cold Budweiser, Mr. I'm-too-smart-to-work, and why not Fed-Ex a six-pack to your bros from another homeland, because at the end of the day, together, you've done the honest day's work of one man.
♫ Mr. Outsources His Own Coding Job!
 
2013-01-16 10:35:48 AM

poot_rootbeer: if you can't tell any difference between the work produced by an onsite employee making $100k and a Chinese offshorer making $20k, you probably shouldn't be in that business in the first place.


But did they hire the the Chinese offshorer for $21k? Sounds like he does first class work!

If they didn't, I'd like his contact info.
 
2013-01-16 10:36:27 AM

meanmutton: He didn't find $0.10 an hour workers; He found $15 an hour workers and then charged his company $60 an hour to do it.


More or less. That'll teach me to RTFA. So the work was probably decent, at least.

Still doesn't explain how he overcame a time zone difference (minimum one full day to answer any question he needs to ask the contractors, unless this guy wants to work late or forced them to), a language barrier (trust me, I know from experience -- even if the other side speaks your language, that barrier is still there), and any questions directed at him about code he supposedly wrote himself. How'd this guy do during meetings? Just because you work from home doesn't mean they won't hold meetings over Skype or something. What'd he do, have the Chinese coder on chat at the same time -- in the middle of the Asian night? Stall for time every time ANYONE at ANY time asked a question about ANYTHING?

I just have a really hard time believing it was that easy. Again, companies that outsource high-skill labor either get burned or, if they know what they're doing, employ a key point of contact -- which is, and here's the rub, a stressful, time-consuming job. Having been that point of contact in the past, I can assure you, I never dreamt I could spend the entire day looking at cat videos and get away with it, let alone juggle this sort of work at multiple firms. If another department needs information, getting a coherent answer from an overseas shop is like pulling teeth. If he was parsing the code to stay on top of it he could spend his entire work day doing just that, which completely defeats the purpose. Fark has no shortage of engineers and coders who have plenty of horror stories about miscommunication and other disasters resulting from outsourcing skilled labor, and I can vouch for many of them.
 
2013-01-16 10:37:43 AM

abhorrent1: Should have used more proxies.


What is the correct number of proxies someone should be behind in this situation?

/And do the Chinese consider proxies to be good luck?
 
2013-01-16 10:42:00 AM
Bob is no longer employed by the firm.

And if he was smart and invested in Muni's, he's sitting on the SS Big Bun somewhere in the Keys.

Guy is brilliant, subby is right +1internets for you subby
 
2013-01-16 10:45:45 AM

arcas: If he was consistently rated the top coder in his department (not sure what metric was used...lines of code written? fewest number of defect reports? some combination of the two?)



I think the metric always used is that the individual knows the business logic for their industry really well.
 
2013-01-16 10:50:12 AM

you have pee hands: monoski: My ex-wife found out one her developers was sending all of her work to India then submitting it as her own. Don't know if she watched cat videos all day but she was making a nice salary.

Was it well done, or poorly documented spaghetti?


Worked out well for a while for her but then she was caught when asked to support the code in an upgrade.
 
2013-01-16 10:50:43 AM
I honestly don't see what the problem is... he was still meeting his goals.
 
2013-01-16 10:56:41 AM
Two days a week I have an office job sitting at a desk from 9 to 5. During that time I have about 30 minutes of work, max. Some days nothing. I spend the day surfing the web, playing games on my phone, listening to the radio, watching TV on my phone or YouTube vids, handling correspondence, shopping, taking walks, etc. None of this has to be done furtively btw. The other days of the week I am self employed with my small business, and I actually have some work to do. Here's something that I find counterintuitive: When I get home from the office job I usually grab a bit to eat and then curl up and take a nap because I am exhausted.
 
2013-01-16 11:00:15 AM
Isn't this basically the strategy espoused by that Four Hour Work week guy?
 
2013-01-16 11:01:54 AM

aaeko: I honestly don't see what the problem is... he was still meeting his goals.


A little issue with security keys to the VPN plus most companies worth their salt make you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement - China is rife with stealing company secrets to make cheap knockoffs - who knows what mission critical source codes fell into the hands of unscrupulous competitors.

I've had to let people go because they refused to terminate relationships with third parties that violated the NDA they signed when they were hired.
 
2013-01-16 11:09:46 AM

MilesTeg: The Bobs think Bob has upper management written all over him...



shakes tiny fist at Miles Teg
 
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