…Famous Web Quotes for $500 please

I’m writing this from the plane, as I travel to Cambridge at Forrester’s HQ to teach a Social Computing Workshop with Peter Kim tomorrow. As I daydreamed while watching the clouds go by, I couldn’t help by reflecting on all the stupid things I’ve heard in my short 9 year career, here’s the real nuggets:

Here’s some ridiculous things I’ve heard in my short career of 9 years in web:

“The company is fine, despite some streamlining, we’re on a growth track” (My former CEO before we went Chapter 11 at Exodus Communications, FAIL)

“All those guys in the other group are assholes” J.M. (Hmm, if you think everyone else is the asshole, doesn’t that make you the asshole JM?)

“Yes, of course our system is scalable” Sales Guy, CMS company (before we deployed an un-scalable and inflexible CMS system)

“I read you email, my assistant printed it out for me this morning” executive at a large bank (during my meeting with him about the intranet)

“We’ve got that feature, here’s a screenshot of what we’ve got in development and in our roadmap” -web product manager (I reported to this guy, and he asked me to make mock ups of what we were going to deliver during an analyst review…we never implemented)

“Blogging is a fad” Web Developer at Hitachi Data Systems (guess not)

“Second life is amazing, there’s a future there” -Jeremiah Owyang (everyone’s smitten by cool technology, I’ve since learned)

“I can’t access the ‘C’ Server” -A mid-level business manager said to me (referring to her local drive)

“Backup? Nah, I just make changes to the live code” -Said a .net web developer (just hours before overwriting 3 days of development, oops)

Need to rant? here’s your chance: Add you own below, but no reason to leave the perp’s name, unless they’ve stated it in public. On a related note, my new favorite blog is the FAIL Blog, have a laugh, at the expense of others you mean son of a gun.

48 Replies to “…Famous Web Quotes for $500 please”

  1. May I indulge you with 3?

    “We’ll just copy some articles already online and change some a few words to make it ours.” (Sadly, I still hear this from people all the time)

    “The web is all about content now. Tell me how many articles we need to write each month to get the top spot on Google.” (This guy had it all figured out.)

    “That map and business listings are pushing my search result down on Google. How can we turn those off?” (Because, even if you could, that would mean more traffic, right? And more traffic always means more sales, right?)

  2. The SAP community has a whole line of these. Some of the more generic ones …..

    #1 That is a Functional (or Technical, depending on what side of the fence you’re on) issue

    #2 It works on my machine

    #3 Oh, that will be fixed in the next Support Pack

    #4 Of course it will come in on budget

  3. I know you’re quoting me with that “Blogging is a fad” remark. 😉 To be clear, when I said that, “blogging” was still a relatively new term and I was referring to the specific act of people writing “web logs” about themselves and their personal activities and interests. (That includes the HDS C-level blogs.) Which I still feel is sort of a fad. There are constantly people setting up new blogs (I’m referring to the old “web log” definition of blog here), but there are constantly people abandoning their blogs because they lose interest. So it’s no so much a fad for a specific time in history, but more of a personal fad that many people try and then move on. I think I am a perfect example of blogging being a personal fad. I tried it, I didn’t like it, I moved on.

    But aside from the personal journals or “web logs”, today the term “blogging” has become much more broad and generalized and can refer to just about any sort of self-publication that has some sort of syndication and/or forum for feedback. This could be news sites, web comics, tutorials, etc. Basically what we call a “blog” in 2008 is what we would have called a “personal web site” in 1998. So by modern definition, blogging really just refers to self-publication, and that is definitely not a fad.

    Did I use enough quotation marks?

  4. in the last 10 years I have had pretty much every client move from these stated positions.

    “Email isnt part of our core business, we use Fax and Phone calls ”

    “We dont really need a website all our customers are other businesses”

    “My Staff dont need Internet access to do their jobs”


    “Our email hasnt been working for half an hour this is really important to my business I need it fixed now”

    “All the other competitors have websites if ours is down thats a cost to out business”

    “our internet connection is slow we need it faster all my staff use it for business”

    So when I explain to my clients about Blogs, Social Media, Social Networking and all the current buzz-media I have to remind them what they thought of email and the internet when I introduced it to them.

    There I managed to do this comment post without ranting.

  5. Andy. Whoah, I didn’t even know you still read me. (Sounds kinky eh?)

    I take it all back then. For what it’s worth, I was over hyped on the social juice, and wasn’t thinking realistically (see second life bullet)

  6. Nicholas, good reflection to past mediums.

    Also good job not ranting: inhale through the mouth, exhale through the nose, chant: “people are dumb, I am smart”. repeat. 😉

  7. My last employer,

    “Our company is being sold to a Public Listed Company. A 4 million dollar contract is about to be signed with an undisclosed company for a regional programme.”(When he failed to pay wages to the staff including mine)

  8. Hayden, that’s along the lines of saying we don’t use SMTP, we now use email.

    Indeedgone, that sounds like a class action lawsuit.

    No one has talked about ruby on rails eh?

  9. “What do you mean I can’t be root on my workstation?” — from a programmer who the next day, hosed up his Sparc.

    “Who shut down the Internet?” — Customer who forgot to ensure his modem was turned on



  10. I am from the services industry and I hear a lot of stupid request/demands:

    – Need a site like You Tube. Our budget is $3000
    – We have a lot of future work for the right company. We need a free trial.
    – Revenue share?

  11. “I don’t think Wikipedia is a threat to us” CEO of a B2B paper encyclopedia, thinking about having a website that goes further than just delivering pdf versions of his print product (june 07).
    (since then, half of his staff (the best one) has left the company.


    “We’re doing 200K pageview per month, we’re gonna make a healthy revenue stream with online ads” (same guy, same time).

  12. ok, I know this is cheating but..

    Second life is amazing, there™s a future there -Jeremiah Owyang — putting this down as one of the stupid things he’s heard..

    Idk, just think many of the core concepts are amazing.. maybe lindon just screwed it up.. but ether way.. mark my words, a few years down the line.. calling this stupid might just sound stupid.. of course now I’m running the risk of being stupid to *sigh*

  13. I’ve got one:

    Everyone’s needs to have a website, as all physical businesses are going away -many people said this in late 90s. How stupid was that.

  14. I just remembered the all time classic, for which the email ( I still have it from 2003 ) said

    “I cant see how Nicholas Can be recommending Linux over Novell. no one uses Linux with any seriousness. Especially not in business ”

    When Novell switched to being a Linux company I forwarded that email back to the author with the comment.

    “The mantra is always : Nick is right”

  15. After a recent hire asked the head of the interactive dept. if there way any way that we could segment out the meeting we were in so that those that didn’t have a role in the conversation could go back to the mountain of work that was awaiting everyone (the meeting had already passed the 2 hour mark with him only talking to 1 individual in the meeting although there were 8 others present), he responded with:

    “You’re new here, this is how I run things around here, it’s worked at every other company i’ve run over the past 5 years, so this is how I plan on running meeting here. If once a week we get together and spend a few hours going over the current status of projects so that I’m up-to-date with the progress then eventually it wont be necessary as I will start trusting you guys.”

    something interesting to note: in the last 5 years, this dept. director had quit/”been let go” according to sources from 3 companies, then with his most recent employment been the attempted start-up of his own interactive agency – which forced him to not only file for bankruptcy, sell his house, but was still paying off debts from that “endeavor.” You’d think that would have made him re-evaluate the way he “ran his meetings” – guess not.

    …..5 hour meetings. 90% of the time it was just him talking.

    His dept. had 100% turnover within 5 months, myself included. I don’t think he’s ever heard of the whole 10/20/30 theory of presentations.

    another great quote from him (mind you, he was the head of the INTERACTIVE dept.):
    “what’s a wireframe, i heard you mention that the other day, also, I want to start hosting all of our client websites here in the office, could you look into finding resources to make it happen?”

    (our office internet went down at least 3 times a month and we lacked both bandwidth, hardware, and a sys admin capable of managing this… a great setup for enterprise hosting… lol)

  16. Nicholas

    Reminds me at my last company where the executive in charge of finding new talent rejected my idea to go to talk to Wall Strip. His email: “Can you tell me why this is relevant”

    Wallstrip was acquired by CBS for $5million a few weeks later. My instincts were right.

  17. “Email is stupid and will never take off. Just call and leave a voice mail” At a meeting where I was rolling out CompuServe email to a Fortune 500 company, sometime in the 1980’s.

  18. When I worked at a large healthcare insurance company:

    “Please print out every page of the intranet/corporate internet” (Chief Communications Officer of the company who had lost the web to the IT division but wanted it back).

    “Read it on the Big E” (employee referring to our intranet site – the Big E was Microsoft Employer).

    Thousands of inane remarks about our enterprise level, purely WYSIWYG CMS tool. Essentially, people wanted a big red button that would do everything.

    When I worked for a large dot-com:
    “Do not sell your shares.” A few days later, the CEO cashed out for about $70 million and we were all underwater.

  19. “We’re building a company for the next 100 years.” – Former CEO of internet start-up.

    He’s a good guy, but that line drove everyone of us nuts everytime he used it at our weekly all-hands meeting. Life of the company? 6 years before the final flames went out.

  20. From large publishing co mgment in 1996, re my content requests for their corporate website:
    “Please tell Perry that we’re ready for her little internet project to be over so we can all get back to work.”

  21. “What’s the difference between a blog and a wiki?”

    “I’m going to embed a wiki inside of the blog.”

  22. The conclusion of a Boston Consulting Group presentation at Charles Schwab in early 1996:
    “The Internet MAY win”
    (vs. proprietary online services such as Prodigy and CompuServe…remember them?!)

  23. “Use a more feminine font, and pictures of babies. Women are attracted to babies and other feminine icons.”

  24. My staff at my library would regularly put computers out of service because the internet didn’t work (cat5 cable was disconnected).

    4 yrs ago my Library Director said “I can’t believe you’d start blogging without asking me! You need to stop that immediately.”

    In fact I owe the person that inspired me to start blogging an email. Our Director brought him in to speak … After his presentation when I suggested implementing some of his ideas the response was, “Just because he said that doesn’t mean that we’re going to do that”.

    my pet peeve – leaders who bring in speakers for training when they have no interest or plan to implement the ideas. (they are just bringing them in because it’s the going thing). I learned about Library 2.0 & went.

  25. “This internet thing is cool as a marketing tool and all, but no one is actually going to do BUSINESS on it!” My former managing partner at a large global consulting firm (I left 3 mos after hearing that!)

    “When are you going to stop playing with the Internet and get a real job – maybe go back to fashion design?” My Dad in 2003

  26. “Version Six is an unstable build. Our QA team have found major flaws, the check doesn’t work right. We are not confident with deploying it” – Sales Guy, Major Ecommerce company, same guy that encouraged us to buy version Six (Less than 60 days before a launch date we couldn’t move)

    What i’ve learnt. Never, ever be an earlier adopter of any new software version.

  27. From a developer after I had just given him a list of things that weren’t working and asked when he thought we could launch….

    “I could have launched it yesterday if you’d just stop pointing out all the problems with it.”

  28. As a software tester, I’ve heard “Our users would never do THAT!” and “This should never happen” many times (not just for web projects). Usually whatever this or that is happens within 48 hours of the software being released.

    I’ve also heard Lee’s quote above on more than enough occasions.

  29. I can think of hundreds like this!

    “Why would we want to put a URL on the end frame of our TV commercial?” (VIP creative director of v big ad agency 2001)

  30. We need social networking. I’m ready to sign the contract.

    CEO of a company referring to a vendor contract worth over $9 million with NO SCOPE YET WRITTEN. In fact, no business case, no mission, no tech spec and certainly no functional definition.

    Vendor: Here’s what we will deliver.

    Vendor to above contract. They can give a price and timeline, BUT NO SCOPE.

    I wouldn’t sign from either direction…would you? But hey, we need a social network.

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