There is a Company in the middle of the country that I have grown to despise because their business practices are pure evil. They create spec work and underbid contracts to get their foot in the door. Once they’re in, the Company find ways to go over budget and extend time lines like a pandemic in Asia. Despite having clawed more money and time from their clients, they produce work that would be considered subpar by third world standards. Nothing can be re-used and/or the Clients are eternally bound to horrible, proprietary off-the-shelf software.
I know this because we have been called in to provide relief to their haggard clients and attempt to fix the abominations they create.
This Company seeds distrust and their actions work to destroy the reputation of our industry. By the time we are brought in we have to provide an over abundance of assurances that Happy Cog is nothing like the Company. We have had to do this enough times now that during sales pitches and conversations, we go out of our way to position ourselves as anti-agency so as to be crystal clear that our modus operandi does not entail finding ways to issue change order after change order. As professionals it is not in our fabric to do so but who can blame the client after being burned so bad?
Yesterday, we lost a project to the Company. They pitched with spec work and underbid the effort. I’m willing to put cash money down in Vegas that the client will end up blowing past their deadline and forking over more money than originally proposed. What looked great to them this week will become high blood pressure a year from now. Somewhere North of where I am sitting right now a butterfly flaps its wings and a small disaster begins to build.
I’d love to call the client and try to talk them off the ledge but there’s only so much you can do without coming across like an angry person who is pouting because they lost. Look, I don’t mind losing work to people I know who share our passion for quality, devotion to creating great solutions and a high standard of professionalism. I’m happy to loose a project to our friends and peers, but when the Company (or anyone like them) takes one away from us, any of us, I’d like nothing more than to see them all leave their cubicles and find their way in front of a fast moving bus.
Maybe this project will be different and the good people we spoke to won’t get the shaft as so many others have. And maybe I’ll go home tonight and find twenty burros wearing sombreros making churros after eating a hoof-full of habaneros. Hey, it could happen.