BOFH: Guys? Guys? We need blockchain... can you install blockchain?

It's the technology of the future-ture-ture


BOFH logo telephone with devil's hornsEpisode 7 "I've got two words for you," the Boss says excitedly. "Block Chain!"

"That's one word," the PFY shoots back.

"Unless you're talking about old fashioned lifting apparatus," I say. "And it's usually said as 'Chain block'. Was that what you were talking about?"

"No, I mean the new technology."

"Go on," I say, knowing there's not going to be a lot more after this.

"For the company," the Boss says.

"Keep going," I urge.

"For the company and the things we make."

"Still not seeing it..." I respond.

"Do I have to spell it out for you?" the Boss wheedles.

"That would be nice."

"But surely you know how we can use it for the company good?"

"No, but please go on."

"Well I'm sure you can use it for something."

Here we go...

"So you heard the term blockchain, you realise it's something new, and now you want us to use it?"

"I think we should be using anything that brings the company to the forefront of the technological revolution."

"You mean like 3D TVs in all our meeting rooms?"

"Yes."

"Though after the initial two weeks of use the 3D features were never used again?"

"People still use them!" the Boss says defensively.

"Only because they stole them from the rooms and put their home TVs in their place."

"It don't thi..."

"One of them's a pre-digital CRT TV," the PFY comments drily. "It doesn't even have AV inputs."

"I still think..."

"What about hot-desking?"

"Staff loved it."

"The loved it for 6 weeks before establishing their new hidey-hole and defending it against all comers and never moving again."

"REMOTE WORKING is doing well," he counters.

"Yes, but mainly among the members of the staff who are also running home businesses."

"I.... Well I think our Internet of Things projects..."

"Are non-existent," the PFY interrupts. "The only one that's still working is the weather monitoring system – which is only about 1/2 as accurate as using a window."

"What about the Smart Building stuff? That's been working well."

"The building is working well – because we're using the building systems to manage themselves after we tossed the IoT gear in the bin." I counter. "Smart buildings are the mullet-cut of IT and an indicator of collective obsession. The only IoT stuff that showed promise was the self-drive parcel trolley project and you shut that down."

"It was pretty hard to support after four accidents in the first week," the Boss says.

"Yes," the PFY says knowingly, "accidents."

What about our energy savings technology?" the Boss chips back.

"100% successful!" I say "...Once we switched them off. It's hard to argue with those numbers!"

"So you don't think new technology is worth it?" the Boss simpers.

"Not really – though if you could IoT pet rock I think you'd be getting somewhere. It's the perfect match of useless information about a useless object."

"I can't believe you're talking this way. Surely you have a vested interest in new technology?"

"Don't get me wrong – I LOVE new technology. I have a standing alert on new tech on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. However I don't share your blind faith in new technology being the solution to a problem we haven't got at the moment – because we live in different places."

"I'm not sure I'm with you," the Boss murmurs.

"It's simple," I say, drawing an all-too-familiar wavy line on the whiteboard. "You live here, in the Peak of Inflated Expectations whereas the PFY and myself live here, in the Trough of Disillusionment. To you, new technology is a tree structure with branches leading to infinite possibilities but to us its an inverted tree structure with infinite paths leading to disappointment."

"I hardly think we..."

"And even this wouldn't be so bad, except that projects never live long enough to get to the Plateau of Productivity because by the time we've found a problem that could actually MAKE USE of a solution you've been banging on about you've shut the whole thing down in favour of some other magic bean technology which has no current application or relevance to the company at this time."

"Yes but..."

"So what happens is that we implement every glittering IT fad that catches your corporate ADHD attention span and then shut it all down again when you see the next shiny object."

"Yes, I can see your point," the Boss says thoughtfully. "But this Blockchain stuff sounds like the real deal. AND it can be used to make money. Imagine that – we could make money just by having it! And the value of it just increases with time, so even if we DID get rid of it at a later date it would be worth vastly more than we paid for it!!!"

"You've been reading up on this, haven't you?" I ask.

"Yes! And I have to say, as a technology it seems really exciting."

"Okay," I say, "JUST THIS ONCE we'll suspend our natural cynicism and give it a crack – just this once, mind."

"Excellent!" the Boss chortles, rocking off back to his office on the wings of victory.

"Really?" the PFY says.

"Really," I sigh.

"So we're going to fire up blockchain to roll out a non-existent problem in a non-existent project for some untenable result."

"Oh no. I'm going to fire up the self-drive parcel trolley to roll the Boss' wheeley chair out over the edge of the balcony."

"It's God's work," the PFY says.

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