* Posts by Edwin Tumblebunny

2 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Oct 2018

IBM Systems sales sag as revenue growth slows to a crawl – but at least tape did OK

Edwin Tumblebunny

IBM Management Culture Has Always Been Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

During the late 90s and mid 2000s I worked as a contractor for IBM. I was managed from one location, and worked with people from another location at a customer site. My local colleagues (both IBMers and contractors) had a laptop each and a customer supplied desktop. I had a customer supplied desktop. There were two tasks I did periodically which required certain software to be installed on the desktop. Unfortunately, both pieces of software could not be installed at the same time because the desktop's hard disk did too small. So, I went to my IBM manager and asked for a disk upgrade to be able to do both tasks without going through the install/uninstall process. I was spending eight hours a week installing and uninstalling. Naturally, no hard disk upgrade! So, for the next year IBM paid for eight hours of my time to swap the software. The hard disk upgrade would have paid for itself in a week.

After a year I was able to convince the customer to give 'me test' PCs for various project work, so that I was able to do my job since IBM still would not supply me with an actual IBM (Lenovo hadn't bought IBM's PC division yet!) laptop. Eventually, I needed a memory upgrade for work tasks and after a few weeks a new IBM manager approved it! That would have been great, but it took three months to get approval from the higher management and by the time I received the memory stick, I had been supplied by the customer with a different machine for a different project and the memory was no longer compatible!

Finally, after nearly eight years I was told by my tenth IBM manager that I was finally getting an IBM laptop!! Unknown to the manager I had access to the shipping and inventory system and noticed one day that the new laptop was mysteriously heading to Ohio instead of Seattle! After a few days, it headed towards Seattle, but had magically become a much older laptop! Five days before it was due to arrive IBM lost the contract with the customer and another company took the contract over. I was given the news that I would not get the laptop due to IBM being terminated from the contract. So, with nothing to lose, I confronted my manager as to whether his wife liked her new laptop (his wife worked for IBM and they lived in Ohio) and what kind of con was he trying to pull? Did he think I would not notice the difference in laptops? He hung up and I never heard from him again.

Working for IBM as a contractor was the worst work experience I ever had - they did not supply the equipment to do the job, and in the later years they started to reduce contractor rates - usually just before buying another company! I would have quit, but I had to stay in the job until my Green Card was approved.

So, I will never work for IBM again in any capacity as these anecdotes are just the tip of the iceberg as to how IBM managed to pull defeat from the jaws of victory.

Official: IBM to gobble Red Hat for $34bn – yes, the enterprise Linux biz

Edwin Tumblebunny

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust - Red Hat is dead.

Red Hat will be a distant memory in a few years as it gets absorbed by the abhorrent IBM culture and its bones picked clean by the IBM beancounters. Nothing good ever happens to a company bought by IBM.

I worked as a contractor for IBM's IGS division in the late '90s and early 2000s at their third biggest customer, and even then, IBM was doing their best to demoralize their staff (and contractors) and annoy their customers as much as possible!

Some examples:

The on-site IBM employees (and contractors) had to use Lotus Notes for email. That was probably the worst piece of software I have ever used - I think baboons on drugs could have done a better design job. IBM set up a T1 (1.54 Mbps) link between the customer and the local IBM hub for email, etc. It sounds great until you realize there were over 150 people involved and due to the settings of Notes replication, it could often take over an hour to actually download email to read.

To do my job I needed to install some IBM software. My PC did not have enough disk space for this software as well as the other software I needed. Rather than buy me a bigger hard disk I had to spend 8 hours a week installing and reinstalling software to do my job.

I waited three months for a $50 stick of memory to be approved. When it finally arrived my machine had been changed out (due to a new customer project) and the memory was not compatible! Since I worked on a lot of projects I often had machines supplied by the customer on my desk. So, I would use one of these as my personal PC and would get an upgrade when the next project started!

I was told I could not be supplied with a laptop or desktop from IBM as they were too expensive (my IBM division did not want to spend money on anything). IBM charged themselves 3x the actual price to customers for their ThinkPads at the time! This meant that I never had a laptop or desktop PC from IBM in the 8 years I worked there. If it wasn't for the project work I did I would not have had a PC to work on!

IBM has many strange and weird processes that allow them to circumvent the contract they have with their preferred contractor companies. This meant that for a number of years I ended up getting a pay cut. What was strange is that every single time I got a pay cut, IBM would then announce that they had bought a new company! I would have quit long before I did, but I was tied to them while waiting for my Green Card to be approved. I know that raises are few in the current IBM for normal employees and that IBM always pleads poverty for any employee request. Yet, they somehow manage to pay billions of dollars for a new company. Strange that, isn't it?

Eventually I was approved to get a laptop and excitedly watched it move slowly through the delivery system. I got confused when it was reported as delivered to Ohio rather than my work (not in Ohio). After some careful searching I discovered that my manager and his wife both worked for IBM from their home in, yes you can guess, Ohio. It looked like he had redirected my new laptop for his own use and most likely was going to send me his old one and claim it was a new one. I never got the chance to confront him about it, though, as IBM lost the contract with the customer that month and before the laptop should have arrived IBM was out! I moved to the company that had won the contract and regret not having the chance to tell that IBM manager what I thought about him and where he could stick the new laptop.

After that experience I decided to never work for them in any capacity ever again. I feel pity for the current Red Hat employees and my only advice to them is to get out while they can.