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Nice insight. Learning more languages, especially those that seem to be different, could widen one's perspectives, and able to avoid the issue of learning only hammer and treat all problems as nails.

The horror story that I heard was a disgruntled engineer silently replaced the source codes (C++ based) in the project with compiled binary object files and he kept the source codes on his local computer, not checking those in. He did this over an extended period of time to make sure this crept into the backup tapes as well. No one found out because each engineer owned a code module of their own. Then he resigned.

When his successor tried to debug and enhance the code base, the core files were basically all stripped binary object files...

Some people who aren't critical to the company just have to go and try to prove the company wrong.

This is so childish and stupid it aggravates me. It only proves that the engineer was probably not a valuable asset and he really proved the company point with these actions. Hopefully he was on a performance plan or something similar.

At companies where there have been poor code control practices I have maintained git repositories locally of various files in the system to avoid exactly this thing, and to find issues/when things have changed (this too often is because operations teams don't like to maintain their files properly, so I go out to web servers and pull down configuration files on a daily basis and check them in somewhere. Now I'm telling them when their files changed).

Regardless, I have to assume this is before git/svn/mercurial. At least I hope it is.

The company used svn.

Not sure how viable to check file changes regularly since 1) everybody had their plates full 2) the system was complex with a lot of black magic that 'just worked', thousands of source files, within the mix were compiled binaries (mainly 3rd party hardware drivers) and a lot of libraries (Qt, Boost, etc.)

A friend of mine did something similar, not that long ago.

His employer told him to complete a 1-year masters in computing at his expense, including a course on ethics, or see them in court. He chose the degree course.

That's almost benevolent on the part of the employer -- having more degrees can only be good for the person's employability, and it was most likely an enriching experience to boot. Oh well, i guess some people have larger hearts than i do! :)

I suspect my friend had friends in high places, or else the employer (a well-known name) was looking to avoid public embarrassment.

My god, i'm surprised that person didn't land up in court :/

Is that illegal though? Sure, if you can PROVE it is done on purpose then maybe, but assuming you cannot then is it? Because if it is then any misconfigured version control or any employee that doesn't do what is expected of them is also breaking the law.

Is it worth the risk to find out? Court ain't cheap, even if you win.

As an employee of a company that provides you a paycheck, you "owe" them your best effort. If you don't want to try, quit - but don't sabotage. That is juvenile and perhaps illegal and certainly unethical.

> you "owe" them your best effort

Yeah, and the company "owes" you as high a salary as they can possibly afford...

> Yeah, and the company "owes" you as high a salary as they can possibly afford...

When a company makes a job offer, you agree on the salary. For X dollars, you agree to be their employee and do your job. Your job is not to sabotage a project or commit binaries where people should commit source code...

Pretty sure if you had employees you would not love it if they did that.

I'd argue that committing compiled binary instead of source is a minimal effort, something you learn the first 2 weeks on the job.

Seems pretty straightforward to me: the intellectual property of the code this employee was developing lies with the company (per default).

Either he still has the code, in which case he's supposed to hand it over.

Or he deliberately destroyed it, which means destruction of company property. Deliberate? Yes, because a programmer claiming "oh didn't realize you wanted to keep the source codes!" is not going to fly very far in court.

(BTW I'm modelling this on my assumptions about how this would play in Dutch court, which can be delightfully pragmatic. So there might be some differences how this would work in the USA, such as others commented, ability to afford justice in the first place)

I'm not a lawyer but isn't provability kind of orthogonal to legality?

Nope, the CEO decided to move on. Small company.

this is why we have code. reviews. haha. Yeah...I'd file a criminal lawsuit on his ass though.

Well, if the troublemaker is allowed to show the code from his own laptop, you might not see the problem.

Normally, when we do code reviews, I just ask for the repository location and branch or tag name. I check it out myself to review before we meet as a group.

"Criminal lawsuit"

These two things don't go together in most jurisdictions.

In the US, only the "State" can file a criminal lawsuit. Imagine trying to explain this crime to a county prosecutor!

It's called "private prosecution". And there are still a few parts of the US where it is possible.


That's insane.. He must have really hated his job.

and everyone else. Seriously. No sympathetic human being would do this without a deep-rooted hatred to everyone involved.

my theory is that in every case where this has ever happened, all of the saboteur's ex-coworkers afterward said "I'm not surprised in the slightest."

Or they talk about her like the neighbors of a mass murderer. "She was a quiet woman, always kept to herself."

That's a good way to get your ass sued, or worse. Most employment agreements specifically state the company owns the code, which you have now stolen.

what happened as a result? im curious to know.

The CEO decided to just move on because it was a small company with less than 30 people. Litigation would take too much time and money.

The engineering team took a couple of months to figure out what that module did and rewrote from scratch.

thanks for replying. i can see where the cost would outweigh just re-writing.

I do believe there must be something wrong at a significant enough scale to warrant NYT's attention. There are always outliners (i.e. unhappy and stressed out staff) in every company, the question is how big is the population.

>I do believe there must be something wrong at a significant enough scale to warrant NYT's attention.

it may be "wrong" from the POV of NYT or other tech outsiders. What i've over the years understood from various friends/acquaintances is that it is not "something wrong", it is just the "normal" mode of how whole AMZN operates. People going there know it (and if they don't - not checking Glassdoor is theirs fault, not AMZN's) - and, for example, that is the reason i didn't go there (while i love escalations, emergencies, etc..., i don't like backstabbing, tricks they play with your salary/bonuses and other details)

Your argument sounds like it is not something wrong to commit crime in a crime-ridden neighborhood, and it is the victim's fault since that person didn't read news or does their due diligence.

Interesting :)

there is a difference between crime and contract. You enter contract at will in exchange for something, and not doing due diligence is your fault. You may also look at the notion of exempt employee - some actions would be illegal if done to non-exempt employees while ok to be done to exempt.

I do understand where you are from and I agree one will need to be aware what they are signing up for. A lot of times companies pay extra for the hardship, and I will say this is fair and square.

However there is a limit on what a company can do to its employees, even employees signed contracts. Some behaviors like making people cry are bordering harassment, and these are against the law in most countries.

I was an engineering manager in one of the big Internet companies in Shanghai for 2 years.

As a foreigner (Singaporean), my own experience was those graduating from top Chinese schools actually is a dis-service to the whole team since those graduates tend to think too high of themselves, and thus are arrogant, slacking, demanding high benefits (salary, holidays, etc.), but their outputs don't commensurate with their attitude. Definitely there are good graduates from those schools and your experience may differ, but so far this is my observation.

As such I now no longer hire graduates from top Chinese colleges. Instead, those from second or third tier schools are more humble and hardworking.

No, I am not suppressing any salary. My staff (who came from a pretty not-well-known school) got a monthly basic salary of RMB25K, which I think isn't low in any standard, even in Shanghai. But I think he deserved every cent of it and I am happy to pay.

Agree with all the other folks on the importance not to seek help from HR. Am working in an MNC in Singapore. HR's chief objective is to protect the company. The only time it helps the employees is when something will hinder productivity or/and morale. Period. Whether you are happy, achieving work-life balance, fulfilled, etc. It doesn't give a fuck on all those. If an Amazonian approaches HR now to report an issue covered by NYT, that person very likely will be grilled and interrogated to see if he/she spoke to NYT.

So Jeff is right. If you are not happy, dust off books and study on your own on skills needed for interviews, shut up and move out.

It seems this person's post has been voted down. I may not fully agree with what he said, but I do feel he/she has provided another facet of Amazon, which adds value to the thread. I disagree voting this comment.


If you really meant there are 6 persons between you and Larry, that is a lot of layers in a tech company.


After reading through a lot of the comments and the tweets, I have a burning question: "where is the spreadsheet?", if one is willing to divulge the salary, I believe he/she doesn't mind this figure to be seen by the public. Or, we can redact the name (if any) and just leave the salary, position, and gender. I am seeing a lot of arguments when the most important item, the spreadsheet, is nowhere be seen.

Did I miss anything?


Salute on the craftmanship.


Not familiar with American affair (not American but am using Dropbox), anybody care to shed more light on why Rice isn't the best person on personal privacy? Google search key words will be fine. Thx


Other commenters have mentioned warrantless wiretapping-- she served as National Security Advisor for George W. Bush and was also integrally involved in approving and overseeing torture.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/apr/23/condoleezza-ric... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04...


Wikipedia actually has a section just about her and Dropbox: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condoleezza_Rice#Criticism_of_...

I'm kind of surprised, personally.


Nothing surprising here, Wikipedia has long been used as a personal soapbox by some of the more opinionated editors.


Because she was George W Bush's National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. She was a proponent of the NSA's warrant-less wire-tapping.


Thanks all who replied. Appreciated.



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