This Is Tech Support. How May I Piss You Off?
Thank you, sir. My colleagues and I are proud of our work, too.
I don’t understand, Mr. Gates. We’ve always tried to make Windows operating systems as close to flawless as possible. Quality Control has been really diligent about it. What seems to be the issue?
On purpose? No way, sir! I doubt any of of us are even capable of intentionally messing up the – huh?
You…you mean you want us to make it less than perfect? I don’t understand; why would we want to knowingly equip hundreds of millions of users with faulty technology that requires so much follow-up care – oh. I think I see where this is going, sir. Oh, goodness. May I have a moment to digest this?
OK. I just had to reorient my entire professional world view. Let me see…so, uh, did you have any specific flaws in mind, Mr. Gates, or should I get my team to brainstorm from scratch on this? Mmm-hmm. Do you mind if I write this down, sir? Oh, good, you made a list already. May I? Thank you.
– “Agonizingly slow startup. Must be slow enough to cause peak aggravation, but not so slow as to prompt abandonment of the system.” Wow, sir. You really have given this a lot of thought.
– “Compatibility issues with every non-Microsoft browser.” Of course. Might I also suggest, sir, that we throw in a few quirks with Internet Explorer itself, just to squeeze the user a bit more? Thank you, sir.
– “Software crashes that affect every application in use at the time.” Oooh, good one. Did you mean merely that all open applications get frozen when one crashes, or that all open applications get permanent adverse alterations to their code? Well, that’s something of a tall order, but I’ll look into it.
– “Error messages that look like only a Windows expert would understand what went wrong.” Mr. Gates, we could go a million different ways on this: gobbledygook; menacing-sounding indications of failed processes; warnings about conflicting instructions that could result in some unknown catastrophe. Well, those are just off the top of my head, sir. I could get people to come up with a package of messages guaranteed to maximize the user’s sense of impending doom without entirely extinguishing the last ember of hope that they might not completely lose all their work.
And the last one: “System code that degrades over time, rendering even the most reliable machines close to useless.” Hmm. I’ll have to give this one more thought. We might want to team with the Intel people on this one. Is that it for now?
OK, Mr. Gates. I’ll get my staff together and try to come up with half-a-dozen more proposed “features” of our systems, and submit those to you. We’ll try to have a draft proposal on the whole package by the end of the month. Trouble? Oh, no, sir, I don’t anticipate much. After all, we all use Macs.