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Who Is Shadow Inc.?
20 points by l00sed 23 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments
What was the actual issue with the Iowa Caucus app, and who had control over it's data and development?



Here's a really excellent post-mortem from someone who knows the field: https://twitter.com/rabble/status/1224820389387223041

One alarming fact among many: the company was paid only $60K to develop an app that could help determine the next US President.


> Built by one senior engineer who’s not done mobile apps and a bunch of folks who were very recent code academy graduates.

I would love to hear from one of these folks! I have so many questions.


I'm a bit sorry for them, they must have gone from "delighted to have their first real coding job" to "hung out to dry" quite quickly.

I wouldn't deny them a place on the team, I would worry that they are the sum total of the team, without any experienced guidance.


>The team was a few enthusiastic recent code school grads and one experienced engineer.

One senior engineer alone should be enough to make a simple CRUD app. Also, one senior engineer should be more than enough to wrangle two junior engineers, unless they were horribly inexperienced.


“Make a simple CRUD app” is something a senior engineer should be able to do.

“Make a simple CRUD app that has no bugs or scaling issues on launch day” is something that very few senior engineers can do, because most people in our profession have the ability to deploy hotfixes relatively quickly, and that has become part of the standard workflow.


My first thought was that the app is going to be used "for real" for a first time at peak volume, but with a known number of users / data points to be gathered. Both of these requirements are unusual.

The first is detrimental - the inability to pilot real use, or "ramp up" gradually before the caucus makes it hard to avoid a "big bang" go-live and consequent issues surfacing at the worst possible time. As happened.

But the second is actually an advantage. Fixed and predictable live load rather than "we hope that it becomes very popular" give you a specific target to use in load tests ahead of time.

A senior engineer should be advocating for that load test at e.g. 150% of the real load.


> A senior engineer should be advocating for that load test at e.g. 150% of the real load.

When the total budget is $60K, they probably don't have the time.

Remember that when Disney (a company with near-infinite resources) launched Plus in the US the account service was only intermittently accessible the first day. And that was after a pilot launch in the Netherlands.


When the total budget is $60K, the probably don't have senior engineers, let alone someone to handle the load testing.


> One alarming fact among many: the company was paid only $60K to develop an app that could help determine the next US President.

Would you feel better if they got paid $60M instead?


Not holding my breath for a proper post mortem document


Who is Shadow Inc?

I know who knows...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JSroiDGJ3E


I’m out of the loop can you explain?





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