"I am not sure that more serious* companies...I mean with actual paying customers and such."
Cheezburger has been a profitable business since inception. We have been profitable every single quarter, and never had a quarter with negative cash flows. Our revenues and profits are in the millions.
Very, very few startups can make that claim.
We operate three different lines of business: we sell advertising, we sell merchandise (at http://lolmart.com) and we publish printed materials such as books and greeting cards (http://amzn.to/buztLM).
I assure you that having fun and LOL is a serious business.
Oh come on now, how could you have negative cash flow? Your whole business model is based around publishing content on the web you didn't create, (and 99% of the time probably don't even own the rights to), this is not exactly an expensive business to run.
My point is: I'm not sure why Cheezburger thinks it's impressive to set up Wordpress blogs of other people's images without breaking the bank.
These guys have a GREAT growth curve and healthy margins- rare in the content world. Heck, look at Reddit. Great company, soaring page views, barely profitable.
I'm sure you're similarly unimpressed with Yelp? Threadless? Digg? Reddit?
You mean like Twitter? Facebook? Youtube?
There's nothing inherently different between a website and "real" software that makes being agile (which this is really about) more possible on websites.
Now, to the point at hand. Having a new hire show up on the first day, get their work station setup, and complete a round trip of checking out code, fixing something real, and getting it back into the repository is a very real milestone. You might take it as being flippant or process-ignorant, but by getting that new-hire through that hurdle on day one can be seen as a major accomplishment. It may not be right for some businesses, but if you instead got your new hires to submit a change for review rather than for integration into a production build you'd achieve the same effect.
I can't believe how angry something this utterly nonsensical makes me, but at least I know it's being done by other companies, not by mine.