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Chapter 8. An Obsolete Culture > Cultural Isolation

Cultural Isolation

In most development shops, the most-experienced programmers take responsibility for the most-demanding parts of the program. In return for this effort, they are given some modicum of immunity from having to field annoying technical-support calls. When users of the program call from the field, they are routed to technical-support personnel or to more junior programmers. On the rare occasion that a user gets through to the senior coder, it is because that user has already demonstrated her expertise to the junior programmer or the tech-support person. The result of this filtering process is that the more senior programmers are, the less contact they have with typical, run-of-the-mill users. By extension, they mistakenly assume that “their” users are representative.

For example, at Sagent Technology—a vendor of datamart-management software in the enterprise-computing market—Vlad Gorelik is the database guru, and his programming expertise is legendary. The only customers he speaks with directly are those who can palaver about “query segmentation,” “task partitioning,” and “data cubing” at Vlad's exalted level. It is not surprising, then, that Vlad imagines the typical user of Sagent's Information Studio product to be a seasoned database expert.


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