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More than that, it's telling that the company threw him under the bus when it happened. I've been through major fuckups before, and in all cases the team presents a united front - the company fucked up, not an individual.

Which is, if you think about it, true, given that the series of events leading up to the disaster (the lack of a testing environment, working with prod databases, lack of safeties in the tools used to connect to database, etc...).

The correct way to respond to disasters like this is "we fucked up", not "someone fucked up".




When things like this happen, you have to realize there is more than one 'truth'.

There is the truth that here is someone who truncated the users table and because of that it caused the company great harm.

Here's another 'truth'.

1. The company lacked backups 2. The junior developer was on a production database.

Note: I'm from the oldschool of sysops who feel that you don't give every employee the keys to your kingdom. Not every employee needs to access every server, nor do they need the passwords for such.

3. Was there a process change? I doubt it, likely they made the employee feel like a failure every day and remind him of how he can be fired at any moment. So he did the only thing he could do to escape: Quit!

Horrible and wrong, if there was a good ethics lawyer around he would say it smells ripe of a lawsuit.

... That said, that lawyer and lawsuit won't fix anything.


The problem isn't who has the keys, it's how they're used. I don't care as much if a junior developer has the prod password; I care more about building an engineering and ops team that understands that dicking around with the prod database isn't okay. Sysops and DBAs are fallible too--I've seen a lot of old school shops that relied heavily on manual migration and configuration. Automate, test, isolate and expect failure!


And, most importantly, shake off the "agile" ethos when doing DB migrations. Just forget they exist and triple-check every character you type into the console.


What, exactly, do you think the "agile" ethos is? We are agile, but that does _not_ mean that we donĀ“t triple-check everything we type into production consoles. It does, however, mean that everything we do in production has been done before in at least one test environment. Why would we want to forget about doing that?


The fact that the cheap ass idiots at the company had cancelled their backup protection at Rackspace, and lacked any other form of backup is just complete incompetence.

If it hadn't been a junior developer who nobody noticed or cared was using the prod DB for dev work, it would have been an outright failure. DBs fail, and if you don't have backups you are not doing your damn job.

The CEO should be ashamed of himself, but the lead engineers and the people at the company who were nasty to this guy should all be even more ashamed of themselves.


That's why you don't give out the keys to people that know how to act responsible.


Don't you mean that's why you don't give keys to people that do not know how to act responsibly?

Giving keys to irresponsible people seems irresponsible ;)


That's why you avoid IT like the plague and use Heroku, that why when someone Fubar's you can blame it on amazon web services :) j/k


I've been through major fuckups before, and in all cases the team presents a united front - the company fucked up, not an individual

You should consider yourself very lucky. Or very savvy at knowing which companies to avoid.


I have to chime in and completely agree. Very lucky. Most people who survive for years at companies have learned to either stay out of sight, or navigate the Treacherous Waters of Blame whenever things go wrong.

This is actually one of the things most employees who have never been managers don't understand.


Your comment makes me think. Are you implying that this is a good practice?

I mean, in fact I do something similar. At our company also a lot of stuff goes wrong. Somehow it surprises me that there was no major fuckup yet. But I do realize that I need to watch out all times that blame never concentrates on me.

It is so easy to blame individuals, it just suffices to have participated somehow in a task that fucked up. Given that all other participants keep a low profile, one needs to learn how to defend/attack in times of blame.


I absolutely do NOT think it is a good practice. I think it is what lazy companies full of people afraid to lose their jobs do. I think it's most companies.

The reality is that fear is a greater motivator than any other emotion - over anger, sorrow, happiness. So companies create cultures of fear which results in productivity (at least a baseline, 'do what I need to do or not get fired' productivity), but little innovation and often at the expense of growth.

Plus, it's just hell. You want to do great things, but know you are stepping into the abyss every time you try.


You (and the other commenters with similar strategies) are wasting productive years of your life at jobs like these. You should go on a serious job hunt for a new position, and leave these toxic wastelands before they permanently affect your ability to work in a good environment.


As soon as you find an environment where no one ever plays the blame game, let me know.


I wish I could say I have some sort of prescience about bad working environments. In reality I'm just good at getting out while the gettin' is still good.


Oh yes, I second that. Feel really, really lucky...


I believe the company may be http://www.klicknation.com/games/ Can anyone confirm?


From the author's page, clicking "PAST" shows the following:

I've worked as a Software Engineer at TechStarsNYC, Klicknation(acquired), Shelby and I'm currently working on Followgen

So, yes.


Apparently their logo is ";-)". At first I thought they just had this annoying tendency to overuse the wink emoticon and found it a bit creepy. Then I saw it all over their menus and found it a bit creepy. Then I realized they appeared to be using it as their logo and I found it creepy.


Well, I will never work there. Ever.


When you think about it it's almost a logical certainty that he'd take the fall. Any company collectively able to understand that the actual failure was inadequate safeguards would have been able to see it coming and presumably would have prevented it from happening. If you're so inexperienced that you expect no one will ever make a mistake you'll obviously assume that the only problem was that someone made one.

It's somewhat fascinating to hear that a company that damaged managed to build a product that actually had users. And I thought my impression of the social gaming segment couldn't go any lower.


Indeed. The news here is not that a junior developer made an error with SQL db (everyone makes them, eventually), nor that the company did not have proper safeguards against problems (this happens far too often). The news is that despite such basic management incompetence, the company had been able to get a large number of paying customers.


Just think, the company spent millions of dollars training this guy in protecting production data, and then instead of treating him like gold, and putting him in charge of fixing all the weaknesses that allowed this to happen, they pushed him out of the company. Stupidity beyond measure.

Not surprised that this was a gaming company because lack of teamwork seems to be endemic in that industry.


    The correct way to respond to disasters like this is "we fucked up", not "someone fucked up".
can't agree more! a company that starts playing the blame game - and even communicates this to the outside a) looks unprofessional b) is unprofessional c) poisons the corporate culture

its a fail on every possible level, the technical part beeing only minor.


Exactly this.


These kind of comments need to be down voted for adding no value.


Now there are already three comments adding no value.


4.


make that 5




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