Oct 1, 2006

One step forward, two steps back, run in place.

I helped to implement quite a bit of change at ePrize, including pushing us from HTML 1.0 “table based” layouts to fully standards-compliant extensible HTML (XHTML) and Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) driven websites. This was done via consensus building (rather than mandate setting as done by the former “leader” of the team). We proved out that our web audience was finally to a point that would support this technology and showed that adopting it would save us a considerable amount of build time while making invariable client changes far easier and faster to do. In a business where every minute counts, any kind of time-saving is appreciated.

Before I was left ePrize, it looked as if my team were on their way out. In a bold move, one of my coworkers seized power of his group by promoting the idea that the entire company would move from HTML-based promotions to Flash-based promotions. This plan included an entirely new technology to build architecture for these promotions utilizing some “bleeding edge” uses for Flash, PERL, and XML. Luckily, he and his team had just the right guy to do this; one of those almost scary computer geniuses.

The irony here is that after my departure it was deemed necessary to utilize several outsourcers in an attempt to replace me. I’m not sure how many people it finally shook out to equal one of me but I do know that these folks were unable (or unwilling) to use the XHTML+CSS. Thus, they were allowed to take two steps back and go old school with HTML tables (or they’d overcode their XHTML+CSS leaving a mess of <div> tags peppering their work).

Exampls: * No "Enter for a chance to", just "Win".

Meanwhile, there were a handful of Flash-based promotions and the idea of this quickly went the way of the dinosaur. There just weren’t enough developers who could handle the new technology (and they eventually migrated to other companies). Eventually, this technology was hacked apart and put to nefarious ends by making a “one stop shop” application for sweepstakes. Some of the new folks working there don’t know that this is simply a resurrection of an older, contentious idea that lived a short life and died a painful, lingering death like a cancer victim.

They’re running in place while I’m the one fearing change.

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