back to article Blah Blah blah ... I don't care! To hell with your tech marketing bull

Last week was the hardest time in recent memory for me. My best friend of over a decade, a feline companion by the name of Prometheus, has just passed away. While such a personal event might not seem relevant to things technological, it has served as something of a focusing effect for me. Trying to think through the haze of …

  1. joewilliamsebs

    I'm sorry for your loss - but I know that my cats would be proud of such a wonderful smack-down :D

    1. Ian Michael Gumby

      @Trevor Potts, MAN UP!


      I feel for your loss, I really do. Its tough having to say goodbye to a friend, but you counter it with the years of unconditional love, even after they stalk you and treat your ankle as prey. Or when you tell the rat bastid to go to his kennel for being bad, you turn your back and he bites you in the ass. You still love them.

      But seriously man up. Get over it and focus on your work.

      You made a comment about DevOps.

      DevOps isn't about letting admins go, its about being more efficient. Compare a DevOps shop to one that doesn't practice it. BOFH rules the day in the shop that doesn't practice DevOps. Nothing gets done on time, and its a constant goat f.

      Think about it and get back to work.

      1. Anonymous Blowhard

        Re: @Trevor Potts, MAN UP!

        "DevOps isn't about letting admins go, its about being more efficient."

        The "E" word has to be translated, at some point, into money to pay for "DevOps" (I'm assuming that DevOps isn't free) and the default way for business to convert efficiency into money is to use less people to do the same amount of work.

        So, if DevOps is working for you, you're either doing the same amount of work with fewer people (i.e. you let some ops people go) or you're doing more with the same (so you didn't hire ops people to expand the business). Either way is a net reduction in available work or opportunities for ops people.

        The alternative is that you paid to do DevOps but didn't save any money, in which case watch your back.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Ian Michael Gumby - Re: @Trevor Potts, MAN UP!

        DevOps isn't about letting admins go, it is also about some other areas like change management and security. Trevor did not say this is a bad or good thing, all he said is to stop telling lies.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby

          @AC, Re: @Ian Michael Gumby - @Trevor Potts, MAN UP!

          What lies?

          I have seen shops that don't practice DevOps and ones that do.

          The ones that don't have a difficult time meeting or managing SLAs or even upgrading software.

          The ones that do can meet SLAs, keep up on the latest upgrades.

          You don't lose staff, but you reassign to other projects as your toolset grows.

          Trevor's 'lies' are that companies are switching to DevOps so they can reduce head count.

          I don't see that.

    2. BillG

      @Trevor Potts

      Trevor, you said everything I have been thinking over my 20 years in technology marketing. Let me sum up your article in just one sentence:

      It's all about TRUST.

      In technology marketing I haven't always had the best solution. Sometime I did, sometimes I did not. But my most important rule is that I always do what I say I'm going to do. On that basis I build trust, and based on that trust, my customers, who I treat as friends, would rather buy an inferior solution from me than a superior solution from a stranger. Now, I'm not implying that something is wrong with my solution or product, it's just that when something goes wrong - and wait for it, you know that something ALWAYS goes wrong - they trust me to stand by their side and fix the problem (while covering for them if it's their fault) rather than going with a better solution sold by some phony in a suit.

      I'm sorry about the loss of your cat, I've been though that and never had another cat again. A pet's affection is real and believable, there is TRUST between the two of us. I've discovered that in times of deep loss, we find our emotional core and discover what's really important. God Bless.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Trevor Potts

        It's all about TRUST.

        I must say that you've chosen a spectacularly unhelpful handle in that context :).

  2. Nevermind


    ...and after a lengthy and, at times, emotional resignation post, Mr Pott says he will be spending more time in the garden...maybe adopting a rescue kitten at some point.

    But you do have a point regarding the churn/deluge of crap PR sir.

  3. Bc1609

    I'm sorry for your loss. That the deceased is "only" a cat doesn't mean it's not bloody horrible.

  4. Dan Wilkie

    My account manager told me to pass on something about redefining paradigms with out of the box blue sky thinking to leverage DevOps to synergise your disruptive hyperconvergence with cloud based methodologies.

    I think that was it anyway.

    Sorry for your loss :(

  5. hplasm

    Promethius RIP

    My condolences for the loss of your friend.

  6. billat29

    Been there and done that

    There's nothing like standing up in front of your customers to expound on your great new release which is only

    Fixes for stuff we should have found in QA

    Fixes for stuff we DID find in QA but prioritised out to meet the release date

    New stuff that has been on the feature list for so long we forgot who asked for it.


    No fixes for the stuff you found and that you have been complaining about the grief it gives you for months.

    And .. let me add my condolences

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Been there and done that

      You forgot some other things

      FINV - fixed in next Version

      FIFV - Fixed in a Furture Version

      THTF - Too Hard to Fix

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Re: Been there and done that

        And OFIWGYMNSWB - Oh fuck it we've got your money now so why bother?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Been there and done that

        You forgot one:

        ReDU - Requires a Different Universe, salesdroid should never have said it.

        1. kventin

          Re: Been there and done that

          reminds me:

          Q: what is the most stable platform?

          A: powerpoint. everything works there. nothing ever breaks there.

  7. TimR

    Trevor - "Trying to think through the haze of grief feels almost Sisyphean. I want to curl up in a ball, hide under the desk, and never come out." - I feel your pain

  8. Ikoth

    Evil Personified

    I have long maintained that Marketeers, rather than money, are the root of all evil.

    B Ark fodder, the lot of em.

    1. Chris King

      Re: Evil Personified

      Don't let them have ANY input into the design though, or you'll end up with a B Garden Shed with a leaking roof and doors that won't close properly - but hey, it's software-upgradable to a B Ark !

      1. Ikoth

        Re: Evil Personified

        "B Ark" as in Golgafrinchan B Ark from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

    2. The Boojum

      Re: Evil Personified

      You are too kind.

      Far too kind.

      1. Chris King

        Re: Evil Personified

        It depends on how hard the crash-landing is at the other end of the trip. Anyone else thinking "Tunguska" ?

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Evil Personified

          > Anyone else thinking "Tunguska" ?

          More "set the controls for the heart of the sun".

  9. Tom 38 Silver badge

    You know what doesn't help literally anyone? Another speech by some bloviating windbag about DevOps "culture" with zero practical discussions about how to actually get on with the practical side.

    Yeah, reading el reg has become a little tiresome recently with the plethora of devops non-articles.

  10. Jan 0 Silver badge

    You have a good grievance.

    Trevor, I'm sorry that you're upset but that was just a small personal tragedy. There is a global human tragedy being perpetrated by 'marketing'. It has very little to do with exchanging goods and instead concentrates on deceit and manipulation. Anyone who has worked in production or development will have been sickened by what 'marketing' did to their honest toil. The whole human race is in peril from marketing. Let's imagine how H G Wells would have written "The Shape of Things to Come"* if he'd started writing today.

    *the book of course, not the film.

    1. Alistair

      Re: You have a good grievance.

      @ Jan 0 :

      The film was just marketing for the book.

  11. Blitheringeejit

    Condolences, Trevor...

    ...on your loss - feline companionship is generally more rewarding than most human companionship.

    But I think you should be careful what battles you take on while your judgement is grief-impaired. In particular, proposing the mass sacking of Ops people might buy you the un-looked-for but very scary enmity of one BOFH of this parish.

  12. Steve Button Silver badge

    2 solutions to your gripes.

    About Press releases...

    Add a field on your press releases "On a scale of 1 to 10 how significant is this release. 1 being some minor bug fixes. 10 being this product will change the world!". After you have received a few of these releases you should be able to turn up the "BS Meter" for people who score themselves too high, and filter/ignore them appropriately.

    About DevOps...

    DevOps will not necessarily put "Ops" people out of the job. I've worked at places where really skilled engineers have had to follow a 20 page Word document every time a release was needed. With some amount of work, these could have been changed into a "one command" install. Yes, traditional SysAdmin jobs are on the way out. But it just means you have to keep your existing SysAdmin skills and add some CM, some scripting and git and perhaps a sprinkling of Jenkins. MOST DEVS CAN'T DO THIS. They don't have the Ops Chops. They don't know where to look if an scp job times out for 30 seconds, and will stare at you blankly if you ask them to diagnose.

    Yes, you'll need fewer people to do the same thing once you've automated it... but most companies want to do more of the things. And once you've upskilled with the above you'll be worth more anyway.

    1. Roq D. Kasba

      Re: 2 solutions to your gripes.

      Yeah, we've been staring at installation process bars for decades and still aren't any good at installing stuff. That won't change.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: 2 solutions to your gripes.

        Most "create installers" tools are pretty awful, and a lot do the wrong thing by default.

        It doesn't help that most of the documentation is obtuse, and some is wrong.

        That's before running into "virus scanner decided part X was a virus and silently removed it" problems.

        Software installation is insane. Why is it still so hard?

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: 2 solutions to your gripes.

          Software installation is insane. Why is it still so hard?

          Because it's designed by developers who can't get their head around the idea that 95% of customers don't need to customize every parameter and so there's no need to offer a knob for each one. Pick a default and maybe 2 or 3 useful alternatives, and write a whitepaper that explains how to change the intricate detail for the 2% who really care.

    2. Chika

      Re: 2 solutions to your gripes.

      About DevOps...

      DevOps will not necessarily put "Ops" people out of the job. I've worked at places where really skilled engineers have had to follow a 20 page Word document every time a release was needed.

      True, but the Devs and the Ops aren't the problem here.

      With some amount of work, these could have been changed into a "one command" install. Yes, traditional SysAdmin jobs are on the way out. But it just means you have to keep your existing SysAdmin skills and add some CM, some scripting and git and perhaps a sprinkling of Jenkins. MOST DEVS CAN'T DO THIS. They don't have the Ops Chops. They don't know where to look if an scp job times out for 30 seconds, and will stare at you blankly if you ask them to diagnose.

      But as I said, this isn't where the problem is. OK yes, devs don't have the Ops Chops but the ones worth keeping around can usually be reprogrammed with a little effort, just as the better Ops bods can get their hands dirty with CM where necessary.

      Yes, you'll need fewer people to do the same thing once you've automated it... but most companies want to do more of the things. And once you've upskilled with the above you'll be worth more anyway.

      And this is where the problem is. Not the Ops, not the Devs but the Execs who count the beans, count the heads then swallow the whole DevOps spiel and use it as an excuse to kill off jobs. It's these people that you have to watch for because they are quite happy to put a sharp instrument where you least want it then endulge themselves in an oily grin whilst counting their ill gotten booty. You can "upskill" all you want - these bastards are your real enemy.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I regret that I have bit one upvote to give

    I wanted to go through sentence by sentence voting "yes", from Death To Bad Releases to Death to Stupid Buzzwords to, most of all, Computers Are Not Important, They're Tools.

    I've felt like this for years; the difference is that in my case it crept up on me day by day, rather than coming sharply into focus.

  14. Chris King

    DevOps/Big Data/<insert new tech fad here> Windbags...

    You know what doesn't help literally anyone? Another speech by some bloviating windbag about DevOps "culture" with zero practical discussions about how to actually get on with the practical side.

    Why do they always sound like teenagers who try to tell other teenagers about their experiences with sex, drugs, and booze ? You know what I mean - they try to brag about their "exploits" but interrogate them further and you find they really don't know what they're talking about.

  15. BitDr

    My condolences and the marketing machine's non-message.

    Although these words may not provide any actual comfort, I offer my sincerest condolences.

    The death of a companion is, for the living, terrifyingly final; and while the grief is overwhelming, it can throw into stark clarity what is and is not important to us. Those who think "it's only a pet, not a person" have no empathy, the loss is felt no less keenly, the grief no less wrenching.

    On the inanity of the marketing machine's message, I agree. The signal to noise ratio is terrible. Getting solid information pertinent to making decisions to resolve the problems at hand is increasingly difficult. There is much smoke, and very little fire with which to warm ourselves.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      @BitDr, Very well said!

      Thank you for saying it so nicely.

      I'll raise a toast to the dear departed Prometheus, and give a moment of silence over the loss.

      Trevor, may your heart heal with the knowledge that your Feline Overlord is now up there looking down upon you & praising your Faithful Minion status to all the other Feline Overlords.

      Your grief & pain will eventually lessen to the point where you can function once more, and the memories hugged about you to keep you warm.

      The rest of your post is spot on & deserves a line-by-line upvote, unfortunately I have only one vote to give.


  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Benefits, not Features.

    Too right.

    I don't care what swanky new feature it has. How does it make my life easier? Does it even make my life easier? If not, then bog off...

    And commiserations on the loss of your friend.

  17. chivo243 Silver badge

    I know the feeling

    About a year ago, my cat of 20 years passed away while I was on vacation. He came along on my journey across the pond to start a new life. I went through the same phase, nothing I read really made sense, or was I just not concentrating. Probably not concentrating... Time is the only cure.

    Sorry, I don't have any other remedies...

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: I know the feeling

      > Time is the only cure.

      And replacing the loss on a 1:2 ratio (3 cats leave, 6 cats enter :-) )

  18. TaabuTheCat

    From one cat to another...

    Sorry for your loss. I managed 22 years with my last feline friend before he used up all of his nine, and yeah, it sucked pretty bad to say goodbye. But new friends await, and some lucky cat will hit the lottery ending up in your lap.

  19. Dick Kennedy

    Oh, and what about the press releases boasting that Company X (which you've never heard of) has made it into the Gartner Magic Quadrant - as if anyone gives a flying toss about the Magic Quadrant - or Gartner, for that matter. Or Company Y achieving ISO 27001, to which the only possible alternative response to 'Who gives a slippery shit?' is, 'Seriously? You didn't already have that?'. And don't get me started on the, 'Malcolm Insignificant, Chief Bloviating Officer of Irrelevant Software is in London next week and this is a great opportunity for a one-to-one where you can ask him how great it must be to be him', to which I always reply, "Really? In London? That's great. I'll be in Paris.'

    Sorry about the cat.

  20. regadpellagru

    Sorry for the loss

    Hey Trev,

    Sorry for the loss of you feline companion. I have 3, here, and will certainly be devastated any time one of them goes ... My full condolences, here.

    "You don't get points for ruining the UI in an attempt to remind people you exist. We just hate you a little more for wasting all our time on that crap."

    I take it as an Microsoft grief, and I fully agree. I REALLY hate the whole "UI change" caused by just pretending a company exists ...

    "What's important to remember is that computers don't matter. They are tools and nothing more. The software that runs on them, the hardware that comprises them ... it doesn't matter. It does the job or it doesn't. If it does the job at a price you can afford, great. That's really all you need to know and you can stop right there and get on with things.

    If the computer or the software or the cloud or the service or the whatever doesn't do what you need it to do, doesn't do it easily enough, or doesn't do it for a price you can afford, then just walk away. Don't obsess over it. Don't "engage" with the vendor in an endless round of what-ifs, lies and broken promises."

    I can't praise more this sort of thinking. It does your thing: OK, keep it. It doesn't do your thing: dump it.

    For no obvious reason, very few people seem to follow this way of thinking, hence the slavery for Windows 10 ...

  21. disgruntled yank


    'You know what doesn't help literally anyone? Another speech by some bloviating windbag about DevOps "culture" with zero practical discussions about how to actually get on with the practical side.'

    I agree. However, I can think of a couple of Fridays since the new year in which The Register carried articles by DevOps evangelists to the effect that DevOps was the answer to pretty much everything.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: DevOps

      Well.... DevOps was my "answer". We've been playing Agile with the usual stand-ups even though I'm 250 miles from the main office. I was told to get on a plane for last Friday's stand-up. Did it and in walked some dweeb with a projector and laptop and started extoling DevOps.

      After 10 minutes I headed for the door. The boss stopped me and asked where I was going... "To HR" I replied. "I've decided to retire..". "When?" she said. "In about 15 minutes." says I. I had a nice chat with HR and this morning at home I got a call from the Boss... "come back.... DevOps won't apply to your office.".

      Meh... 401k is good. Retirement payout plan is good. Social Security is good. Now why should I go back?

  22. Amos1

    Good for you in taking the week off to be with Prometheus. You have your priorities correct. Always choose Life over Stuff. The work will always be there. Please accept our family's condolences.

  23. IsJustabloke

    I really feel your loss :(

    I had to say goodbye to one of my furry friends last month after 16 years, to say it sucked is a massive understatement

    As for PR twonks, I'm happy to say goodbye to them anytime.

  24. Alistair

    @ Trevor

    You have my best wishes and a hug if you want. There is only time.

    And after some time a new purr to get to know.

  25. OzBob

    You know you can get the recently departed

    pets to be stuffed and roboticised? Call Rick Deckard's Vetinary Services.

    1. Herby

      Re: You know you can get the recently departed

      Maybe so, but you need to add "personality", which every feline has a unique one. Come to think of it, a good purring machine would also be necessary as well, that responds properly to input.

  26. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

    First all, Trevor, I'm very sorry for your loss. We pour our hearts into these little creatures who we know will die before we do, so the grief of their passing is inevitable. But we love them anyway.

    Second, agreed on all points. Tech marketing (and probably marketing in any field) is a blight on humanity.

  27. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Dear Trevor, *HUGS*.

    Prometheus may have gone "over the Rainbow Bridge" to the land of milk, honey, gooshy food, & squeaky toys, but the memories will live on in your heart. Kitty will vouch your entry as a Good Friend & Loved Minion, thus ensuring the two of you will be reunited once it's your own time to cross that bridge.

    Consider yourself hugged the squeak out of, a blanket tucked in around you, & a batch of freshly baked, home made cookies left where you can reach them. They'll help comfort you as you heal, & know that our vibes & warm fuzzies go out to you.

    *Lifts a glass in toast of Dear Prometheus*

  28. nilfs2

    There's more money invested on marketing...

    ...than invested on R&D and QA, that's for sure; and most of IT vendors make lots of money fixing their own mistakes and selling the same old products on a new package, that's what is called "innovation" nowadays.

  29. Stuart Moore
    Thumb Up

    This is why I come here

    Well written. You cut through all the bullshit and that's why I come here. Keep biting the hand that feeds IT.

    Really sorry for your loss.

  30. Nate Amsden Silver badge


    You should try to find a gig at a company with better margins who have mgmt that care and understand tech.

    I manage the tech ops end of things (tech not management) fpr a $300M or so company. I do my job extremely well i get almost everything I ask for (except big raises though am moving to another part of CA which will drop an extra $15k in my lap in housing savings). Everything tier 1 4 hour onsite suport. Works really well. Not very exciting but low stress and I like what I do. Company wants to do a billion in revenue im a few yeara and that would be good to have on the resume.

    I ignore much of the marketing hype. I am 3PAR, ProLiant, vmware etc. (Nothing converged).

    Time to get to my flight spent the last 10 days in Atlanta. Holy shit I love twin peaks im buckhead. The UFC fights on Saturday were awesome as were the bartenders who know me well and treat me like gold.

  31. wx666z


    First thing first, my and my wife's condolences. We are old, and have said goodbye to too many cat and dog friends. The loss always hurts.

    The marketing emails are usually/always b.s. Give it some time and then rescue a new kitten or cat, been there, done that. Just wait until you are ready, our last poodle passed about 6 years ago, still not sure I'm ready for another, and now we are in our mid-sixties, we have to consider if we will be around to care for our friends

  32. dan1980

    "Dear storage industry: shut up"

    Trevor knows the love I gots for him and we see eye-to-eye on many issues but this is possibly the most perfectly succinct and accurate line he has penned.

    That said, the several comments about new versions messing up UIs is spot on as well. I could count the number of times a new version of something - at least in recent years - has improved the UI on one hand. Or at least I could if any came to mind . . .

  33. Long John Brass

    I can haz electrolytes

    Because DevOps

    So If I read that right, If I implement Puppet/SaltStack/etc a dash of source control to manage my infrastructure, then I'm a DevOps not a SysAdmin any more?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Long John Brass - Re: I can haz electrolytes

      Only after you manage to get the rest of the operations team fired.

      1. Long John Brass

        Re: @Long John Brass - I can haz electrolytes

        > Only after you manage to get the rest of the operations team fired.

        Out of a cannon? Or will a stint in the tape safe do?

  34. Phil Koenig


    @Pott, I often vehemently disagree with your rants. This one I agree with 300%.

    I'm enough of an old fart to imagine that I was in the biz' before the majority of the major players had turned into mendacious monstrosities that are seemingly comprised of 85% marketing BS and 15% technology, if you're lucky.

    It would be hilarious as hell if it weren't so pathetic that I oftentimes will get some drivel in my mailbox that after reading over 4-5 times I still cannot figure out WTH they are supposedly talking about: 100% idiotic buzzwords, corporate double-speak and impenetrably abstract euphemisms for what I do not know.

  35. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    My condolences

    And yeah the disconect is important.

    Each year I get asked by my boss if I want a work phone - each time my answer is the same - if you consider I need a cell phone that I'll leave in the office after I head home - then sure - otherwise it's a waste.

    I work while at work - outside of that - you do not exist for the most part. Sure I'll pull in the hours if needed and even respond to an occasional chat for help. But for me that world generally doesn't exist when I leave the office.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hugs, Trevor, and may another wee feline friend come into your life as soon as you're ready. And thank you for some of the most pertinent articles and posts I've seen in El Reg. Personally, I'm fed up of the BS around too much of IT, and am happily looking forward to when I can walk away from it all and do something more interesting.

  37. infracat

    I want to thank you for this article and I could not agree with you more. All of us in the IT world need to take time to step back and take a good look at the rest of our world. As to your comments on the tech babble, as an IT manager (retired) I can say my team spent many hours weeding through all the hype when selecting a product that we could have used more productively. For a long time I embraced that as part of my "job" and indeed it was. But when it took over my hours away from the work place the alarm bells should have gone off. Eventually I did come to my senses and now I use computers as the tools they are intended to be. I still skim places like the Register for interesting bits but avoid thrashing the word pools as much as possible. Again, thank you for a very refreshing article.

  38. Christian Berger

    Actually it's not

    You just need to learn to use some heuristics. For example how is it presented to you. Is it presented by some corporate droid or is it something you've learned about at a conference? If there's a company behind it, how hipster like is their webpage? Sure those things can be misleading, but it'll remove perhaps 70% of the junk and just a bit of the good stuff. You will see the good stuff again later anyhow.

    Then you need to look into detail at what's being offered. Who backs that solution, do they have a track record of abandoning their projects (like Microsoft or Poettering), do they have a track record of over inflating their projects so they will just be bloat with a tiny bit that's of any use?

    Then there's the issue of complexity. Will it reduce total complexity? Does it add complexity? Is the added complexity justified by the added functionality you actually need?

    Those questions don't take long to ask. And after that you will have eliminated most of the junk. In fact if you have some experience you can even cut it down to "how is this better (i.e. simpler) than the currently best solution I've found that's used by the smart people?"

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