Tone-deaf "tech diversity" panels are the best form of real-life cringe comedy
The CEO, Miloslav, and Lain are sitting at a "Women in Technology" panel.
CEO: Of course - our company is a great place for women to work. It's a complete meritocracy, so everybody has an equal chance to succeed - even our two women!
Lain: Actually, it's
CEO: Oh, I'm sorry, we're out of time. We're going to have to get back to you.
CEO: Hey, cheer up. At least we remembered to invite you this year.
Remember that time that Paypal held a "Gender Equality and Inclusion in the Workplace" panel and forgot to invite any women?
I also went out of my way to make the logo as tone deaf as the panel itself. And Melissa is conspicuously missing.
According to Myers Briggs, I'm an ENQM.
Walt: Has everybody got their Meyer-Brigg test results?
Lain: Yeah. I'm an "ICC". Introspective Cold-Cut. I like quiet walks and America's Favourite Bologna.
Milo: I'm a Justicar-Thinky-Thick-Carved-Ham.
Warbeard: Mine just says "Probable Arsonist"
Lain: Walt, I am concerned that you may have cheaped out on the personality tests.
Walt: Eh, it's not any less scientific this way.
One of my longest-standing pet peeves is the office personality test. It's meaningless office-astrology.
Slack is nothing new, really
cube drone: ha ha lol butts
sparky: peach emoji
miloslav: off topic, you guys - take it to #random
cube drone: hey, this is a #marketing level discussion at least
lain: I bet that people have been arguing about topic relevance for eons
lain: uploaded an image: a Roman senator saying "by Jupiter! This belongs in the Democracy forum, not in the Justice forum!"
cube drone: what about #random, did the ancient romans have something like that?
lain: uploaded an image: the Roman coliseum
#random is the /dev/null of Slack channels
This is a strange joke.
Walt: We have reason to believe that we may have been hacked. One of our file-servers has filled up with pictures of beautiful young animated men kissing!
Lain: It's Yaoi.
Milo: How do you know what it's cal-
Lain: Ha ha I hear those dirty hackers love the stuff!
I think maybe Lain did it.
Where is Milo from, anyways?
Walt: Ok, what are the odds on Ukraine?
Milo: What are you people doing?
Walt is standing in front of a board labelled "Where is Milo from?" with odds on Ukraine, Russia, Uganda, Survivor, Ancient Babylon, Blurgoslavia, and Alternate Universe
Walt covers the board with his body.
Walt: Uh... sprint stuff.
Cube Drone: Burndown.
Walt: Agile processes.
Walt squeaks his body across the board, wiping it off.
If you hold an agile event in the desert, do you call it "Burndown Man"?
I made chess better!
Milo, observing Melissa and Lain playing chess: Playing a game of chess, eh?
Melissa: Sort of, but we improved it.
Melissa: Queen to pawn four!
Melissa: Double castle!
Lain: Ha! You activated my trap card! My king evolves into a mecha-emperor!
Milo: Pawn four?
They are about 15 minutes away from a full-blown game of Warhammer
Melissa: So, here's the scam. The app I wrote just logs into tinder with an image randomly selected from a Google image search for "sexy". Anybody who messages her is paired with the next person to message her. Then, it just acts as a proxy, ferrying messages from one horny dude to the next.
<CEO and Milo are on a date.>
Milo: Well, nobody's perfect. Still want to do this?
CEO: (icily) No.
It's also programmed to swap all images transferred with pictures of a loading gif spinning.
Our CEO bought us a book...
The crew are carrying travel gear like backpacks and bags.
Walt: Man, this kickoff is going to be great! Did you all read that book the CEO bought us? I hear he's lined up a talk from the author!
Cube Drone: The one with the graph on the cover that looked like a butt?
Cube Drone: Oh yeah! I totally read it. I am going to agile managementize the hell out of my paradigms.
Lain: I actually read it and it was hot garbage from end to end.
Milo: I found the book very useful. It is cold in my cabin this time of year.
Sparky: We got a book?
Windy Pillows is talking in front of a crowd.
Windy: I am being paid handsomely to be here. Let's look at some stock photography while I read to you from my book.
A Venn Diagram that looks like a butt.
A series of arrows that look like a butt.
A slide selling his next book, "Agile Software Systems" with another butt on the cover.
Windy: As you can see, I spend a lot of my time thinking about Agile.
I chose the name Windy Pillows because it evokes a windbag, and also because it is a fart joke, and also a good name for a man secretly obsessed with butts.
The hamburger element is not a very good element.
UI Corner with Lain: This is a hamburger menu. When you click on it, a proper menu will pop out with all of your app's actual navigation. |
The term "Mystery Meat Navigation" refers to navigational elements that are a complete mystery until you click on them. |
A hamburger element, like all hamburger, is mystery meat. You don't know what's in there. And it might give you butt cancer.
America's meat inspection standards are some of the worst in the developed world, but American restaurants keep offering me burgers rare because freedom! Gross, you guys. You don't know what's in that meat. Studies show it's probably poop.
Sparky can't stop telling people that he's doing Crossfit
Lain: Have you noticed that Sparky's been going out of his way to mention he's doing Crossfit, like, all the time?
Cube Drone: Uh... no? |
Sparky: Guys - I have to skip team building. I have another team to work with. My sweet delts. *shoulder flex* |
Cube Drone is reading a text from Sparky: p.s. crossfit btw
Wait, we weren't doing any team building today. Dammit, Sparky.
Bad halloween puns about programming? I've got 'em.
Walt, in a vampire costume: Lain, I'm not sure if I get your costume. Heavy load? Lead weight? |
Lain, wearing a grey costume that reads 1000Kg on the front: Oh, I've been waiting for someone to ask all day! |
Lain: I'm a singleton!
You are not in the sudoers file!
Lain on a computer: Lain is not in the sudoers file. This incident will be reported. |
Lain looks around, shiftily. |
A drone is outside the window.
I always feel like... somebody's watching meeeee.
This is the first comic I've made with the Surface Pro 3. The Surface Pro 3 is not a very good device.
Pay close attention to your ergonomics when programming.
Diagram: Your hands and wrists should be encased in protective alginate. |
Diagram: Your arms should be no more than 13 degrees from your body. |
Lain: This is insane! | Diagram: Ergonomics for PHP developers! Pain is life!
I had a lot of trouble coming up with a funny punchline so I just went back to the ol' PHP punching bag.
I don't want to rail on PHP - even though PHP totally deserves it - because I think of it as lazy writing.
The promo for this comic is super easy to write: sex robot.
The BBC just ran a story about how a prominent roboethicist is calling for a ban on sex robots, like the Roxxxy. |
Or a Roomba with googly eyes and a fleshlight taped to the top. |
Lain: I feel like the BBC is not taking this seriously. |
Cube Drone: Of course not. Nobody considers a "roboethicist" to be a real thing.
That Sex Roomba is great. I want a sticker of THAT.
You'll lose hours of office productivity to this one fun command.
Lain's computer: Butts! Butts butts! Come on and slam! Through is not rough. You have been eaten by a grue. Oonts? Oonts oonts oonts! Interbutts.
Lain discovers the "say" command.
The "say" command only works on Mac computers. Crank up your MacBook's volume, open a terminal, and type in "say butts". Your office can thank me later.
Smart and Gets Things Done are not the only hiring guidelines
Walt: We're hiring for Smart and Gets Things Done. |
Lain: I feel like those shouldn't be our only criteria.
Walt: What are we missing? |
Lain: How about "not likely to burn the company to the ground in a fit of rage", "hygienic", and "able to communicate without accidentally cramming both hands in their mouth".
I keep trying to communicate without accidentally cramming both my hands in my mouth but it keeps MRRPFH MMPH MRPFH
How to decipher dress codes. Hammer pants optional.
How Formal is Formal? A guide for confused programmers who plan to dress like traditional businessmen. |
Casual: Wear whatever your damaged mind desired. Beach jorts! |
Business-Casual: Like "office", but you can trade out any single item for a casual item. (Miloslav is wearing a collared shirt, nice shoes, and hammer pants.) |
Office: Collared shirt. Slacks. Leather shoes. Argyle optional but encouraged. |
Informal/Business: Surprisingly, suit and tie. |
Semiformal/Wedding: Suit and tie or tuxedo. You decide! |
Black Tie/Formal: Full tuxedo. Cufflinks. Cummerbuns. Bo-tie. |
Creative Black Tie: Tuxedo, but also a dinosaur hoodie that covers your face. |
White Tie: Tuxedo with top hat and tails. (Xyzzy: I feel like a circus ringleader.) |
Ceremonial: Maximum fanciness levels achieved. (The President of the Internet wearing a crown, cape, and medals on top of a three-piece suit. )
PAX: Steven Universe costume.
It's been just over a year since the last team portrait.
It's a picture of the whole team. Nobody says anything.
It's been just over a year since the last team portrait. Nobody has grown or changed, but they got everybody in the picture this time, and there's a new hire!
The fix is in! It's (unsurprisingly) Melissa!
Walt: ... and on Thursday, our new Build Engineer will be joining us.
Lain: Wait, we had 3 people who were applying for that. Who'd we get? |
Melissa Nguyen: Continuous Integrator, Ruby Expert, Arduino Hacker, Foodie. What about the other two? |
Athena: Stopped returning our calls when she found out our build was 40,000 lines of Bash. |
Sheik: Much better offer from Amazon
That terrible Bash thing is derived from a true story that is also terrible. The brave buildsman responsible is still alive, but at what terrible cost to his sanity?
Here are some of my thoughts on hiring...
So, lately, I've been reading a lot about how traditional culture-fit and whiteboard interviews tend to produce monocultures, very little useful data, and often choose confident air-bags, people who are great at "gotcha" puzzles and language minutiae, and great culture fits over shy-but-awesome people.
So here's a process that might work. Take with a grain of salt.
Create a list of skills that you feel would be valuable to the team. ("Android Development", "Conflict Resolution", "Ability To Eat Many Hot Dogs") For each skill, decide which member of your team would be best equipped to evaluate that skill.
For each skill, have the subject-matter-expert on your team prepare two to three open-ended non-trivia questions about that skill. ("How many hot dogs would you say that you can eat?" "Describe a time when you have eaten many hot dogs.")
Prepare a five-point scale for every skill, with a loose definition of what a person should be expected to know for each point on the scale.
Pick a language that nobody has ever programmed in, ever, like Rust, Eiffel, O'Caml, or M.
Choose a trivial problem space that is very well defined, like "Scoring Poker Hands", or "Scoring Yahzee".
Think of a single thing to change about the problem space, after the fact. "2s are now wild".
Let your prospective candidate know every step in the hiring process from the get-go, with a friendly chat with the team lead that lasts at least 30 minutes.
Have the candidate take home a copy of every open-ended question, as well as a description of the problem space. Ask them to produce a library, with documentation, in Obscure Language, that allows users to solve problems in that space. Try not to allow the candidate more than one day to work on the library.
Have every member of your team look at the library. Score each library on how easy it is to learn to use, how flexible it is, how easy it would be to adapt the code to account for the change in the problem space, and how easy the code itself is to understand.
If the library meets the criteria, bring the candidate in for the interview. Grouping by team-mate, have the subject-matter-experts ask their prepared questions. Estimate their skill using the rubrics.
Have two team-mates ask the candidate questions about their library, asking how they would change the single thing about their problem space, and to talk about any technical decisions that they made.
To get a lot of useful baseline data, perform this series of steps on all of the people in your current team (making sure to ensure them that their jobs aren't at risk).
That opening is the longest run-on sentence I've included in a comic in ever. Yugh. I apologize, everyone. Doubly for the "scare quotes". Yeesh.
Lain: Yeah! I did it!
| Cube Drone: That's just an error message.
| Lain: Yes, but it is a different one! That's progress!
All programming is like this.
Walt: However, we do have a new client to announce! We're going to be
developing a new cel-phone support portal for Bellcomcasprint.
Meet your new product manager, Patrick Wendt!
| Patrick Wendt has a pyramidal head. He's surrounded by a cloud of
enterprise words: "SOAP, JIRA, JBOSS, Enterprise, JavaBeans, Ticketing,
GANTT, Waterfall, Eclipse, Factory, Application, Bus Factor, SourceSafe,
WebSphere, Spring, Aspect-Oriented Programming, Inversion of Control Framework,
Centralized, Risk Management, Oracle, JAR, Rational Unified Process, ISO9001,
| Lain: Hey, Cubes, do you know this guy?
Cube Drone: I've never met him. But yes.
Bellcomcasprint: Embracing The Future From Behind
Walt: After numerous texts, messages, emails, and phone calls from one concerned
employee, I'd just like to assure you all that we are not being bought out by a telecom.
| Cube Drone: Yay!
| Miloslav: What? I have stock options.
also one concerned fax, and a few concerned singing telegrams
(Cube Drone and Lain are sitting in a park) Cube Drone: "I want to like the Apple Watch, but I'm afraid it's going to be another Google Glass or Segway. |
Miloslav cruises up on a Segway, wearing a Google Glass, leaning on a Nintendo Power Glove: "Y'all just jealous". |
Miloslav rolls off into the sunset. |
Cube Drone: Huh.
It's the Apple Watch, not the iWatch.
<Suit is standing in front of a chart, on a Google Hangout> Suit: This quarter, we're seeing increases in our KPI, our ARPU, our CAPEX and our WAGYU. |
Suit: Money is up, anti-money is down, and we are on track to make a lot of money next quarter. |
Cube Drone: Oh wow. Inspiring.
Lain: Do you think if we worked harder we could make them even _more_ money?
It's nice to know the company is doing well, but at some point you're just gloating.
In Lain's office:
Lain: Who are you? And what are you doing in my office?
| Red-Haired Woman: Shh shh shh... we just need to have a conversation that's not about men.
| (Hugging) Lain: I am not super comfortable right now.
| Red-Haired Woman: This is nice.
In the office:
Lain: These commercial property websites are terrible. We might need...
Cube Drone: Don't say it!
Lain: A property developer.
| Elsewhere, a red-haired woman with a blazer and leather boots.
| She looks up. "I'm needed somewhere. I can smell it."
It smells like money.
Lain: I've made a sketch of an office floorplan that meets most of our requirements.
| *a nice, spacious floorplan with an eating area, soft seating, private offices, and a water feature*
| Walt: Nice!
| Lain: Do you think we'll find a place like this?
| Walt: Gods no.
This is Vancouver. We'll be lucky if we can find a place with windows AND floors.
Walt: Before we start searching for a new office, let's write down some priorities.
| 15 Minutes Later: A whiteboard filled with options.
* Quiet: 7 pts
* Coffee: 5 pts
* Don't Want to Sit Next to Sparky: 3 pts
* Fortifiable (In Case of Zombies): 1 pt
* Hot Tub: 2 pts
* Treehouse: 1 pt
| Walt: I think we can work with this.
They can't work above a Pinkberry anymore. It's distracting.
Happy New Year!
The whole team is standing around on a roof. Walt is holding champagne.
Walt: A toast!
| Walt: To a team who can handle just about anything!
| Xyzzy (remoting in, on a phone): To working from home!
| Lain: To long life and short line lengths!
| Miloslav: To failing fast while you can
| Warbeard: And failing gracefully at 3AM
| Cube-Drone: And to never hardcoding the year into anything!
| Everyone but Sparky: Cheers!
| Sparky: shit.
Sparky hardcoded the year into something. The joke has now been explained.
Lain: My new markers arrived in the mail! |
Lain: Marker dance party! |
Cube Drone: The things that make artists happy never cease to amaze me.
Immediately after this, Cube Drone was delighted to receive 32 gigabytes of RAM in the mail.
Walt (to Lain): But you're not a real developer, you're a web designer. |
Lain says nothing |
Lain falls over, revealing that she was nothing but a cardboard cut-out the entire time.
Saying that someone isn't a real developer doesn't tell you anything about that person, but it does say an awful lot about you.
Walt: Another woman in gaming has been driven out of her house by anonymous threats.
Lain: That's terrible. |
Walt: It's a good thing that women in programming don't have to deal with that kind of horrible sexism. Right Lain? |
Lain is just glaring at Walt.
Cube Drone: Ha ha! I've spent a month completely rewriting my site renderer in Gulp! It's done! |
Lain: This is even uglier than the old site! |
Cube Drone: Yes, but it renders 50% faster!
Lain: *sigh*... developers.
I will get around to making it look good eventually.
The CEO is talking, but all anybody hears is empty platitudes, like 'growth hack the enterprise stack - maximize our clickstream revenue - disruptive entrepreneur - funnel engagement' |
Cube Drone: I didn't understand a word of that.
Lain: Get Walt.
Only Walt can decipher this demon language.
Milo: It should be in arial! Is good font.
Walt: Oh, and the presentation should be a Powerpoint so that I can edit it. |
Cube Drone: Animations! We should draw the eye with animations!
Sparky: Ooh - big, punch, two-word slides. |
Everybody: 36 pt! I can't remember the words, can we put them all on the slide? Needs more zazz. Like, 20% cooler. I ahve this photo of a baby on an iPhone.
Lain, looking anguished: Aaaaaa
The terrible burden of the designer.
It's just a picture of the team.
I havent forgotten that I have a comic, i've just been distracted by animated shorts
Lain: Aw no. I just learned backbone.
Cube Drone: Again?
Sparky: Damn. |
Walt, pressing the button, which resets the clock to '00:00:00': I know, I know, it sucks to start over.
Oop, everything changed again. Hold on to your pants.
Cube Drone: Would you mind if I tried on your google goggles?
Lain: Go ahead! |
Cube Drone, wearing the Google Glass: oooooooh |
Lain: Take it off.
Cube Drone: Why?
Lain: You have an erection.
Yes, I tried it on _over_ my glasses.
Lain: God, I'm trying to play online pong but there's so much lag! Would you look at this! |
Cube Drone: What am I looking at, here? |
Pong ping! Yes, bad joke Saturdays are back!
Hurr hurr hurr
Cube Drone: Morning, Lain! |
Lain: Morning! (This text is in a serif font) |
Cube Drone: You've been hanging out with your graphic design friends again.
Either that or you have developed an accent.
Lain and Cube Drone are buying iced cream. Lain: Large? That thing is huge. |
Lain: Seriously, how do you even fit that in your mouth?
Cube Drone: Snrk. |
Lain: You'd have to take it home and share it with a friend.
Cube Drone: pfffft.
Sometimes when you let a Thats What She Said ride, it just gets funnier and funnier.
Cube Drone: Java. Unreadable.
Lain: Perl |
Cube Drone: Lisp. Closures.
Walt: What are they doing?
Milo: Programmer Password.
Cube Drone: Shit show!
Ha ha! Making fun of PHP.
Lain: Hey, could you maybe not call me paranoid just for wanting to encrypt my communications?
Cube Drone: Wait, how did you know that I called you paranoid? |
Lain: You posted it on a publicly logged IRC channel.
Cube Drone: Whoa, whoa, not cool. That channel is private. |
Lain: Oh, man. If only there was some software you could use to protect your privacy. Oh wait.
I AM WATCHING YOU, CHRIS.
Lain: It was wonderful. What did you do with your long weekend?
Cube Drone: Oh, not much. I bought a bunch of Kool Aid, a big red shirt, and I rented a bulldozer. |
Lain: Wait, what? |
Cube Drone: Oh yeah.
I initially planned for the third frame to be a big-action punchline with Cube Drone breaking through a wall, but I think it might be funnier if the weekend is just implied.
Cube Drone, with Lain in a drugstore: Why are we here? Shouldn't we be at the conference - you know - learning stuff? |
Lain: Tradition. Whenever we're out of town, we buy unusual dollar store items to hide in the hotel rooms. |
In a drawer: Guess who's turning 8! Trojan unlubricated condoms. Gideon Bible: Extra Shame Edition. Clown Makeup!
We have also helpfully circled all of the dirty parts in the bible.
Cube Drone: It looks like Reddit has fallen in love with this 'Forever Project' idea.
Lain: Forever project? |
Cube Drone: Yeah, some Redditors have found projects that are truly special to them. They only need that one project - forever. |
Cube Drone: Although it looks like most of them are just procrastinating so much they'll never finish.
I mean, that is what reddit is for, right?
Sparky: Oh, hey, dude, I'm Wen Zhang. |
Lain: Don't let him fool you. He's Sparky. The Co-op. Right Sparky? |
Sparky <hangs head in shame>: Yeah, I'm sparky.
Lain: Damn straight.
I have decided to abandon all pretense of a story and just spend the rest of my time abusing Sparky.
Lain: Okay, Sherlock. It's my turn. You're an ex-Java developer, you're kinda lazy, and you're a bit depressed.
Cube Drone: How'd you guess? |
Lain: I read your resume, dummy. Your last job was as a Java developer for a big telecom. Ex-Java because you work here, now. Lazy because the end-game for everybody I've ever talked to in telecoms is to find a position where they don't have to code that much and retire at 55. |
Cube Drone: And the depression?
Lain: You heard me say Java Developer, right?
When in doubt? Helvetica.
Cube Drone <shaking hands>: Hey, I'm Cube Drone.
Cube Drone: UI Developer? |
Lain: How'd you know? |
Cube Drone <holding a Sherlock pipe>: Elementary. |
Cube Drone: You have a framed t-shirt at your desk. Simple deduction, really.
The T-Shirt says "Powered By Unicorn Farts" and has a rainbow on it.
I must make that shirt real someday.
Lain is writing an e-mail to her co-workers; Lain: "It looks like the new guy has arrived." |
Cube Drone is very gradually peeking over the cubicle wall |
Lain: "He is very strange."