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November 22, 2006

Updated fables

These appeared in the Nov 19, 1990 edition of Computerworld.

The Ant and the Grasshopper: There once was an ant and a grasshopper who were best of friends. The ant was prudent and industrious and one day decided to build himself a warm winter home. The grasshopper, however, was not concerned about the future and spent most of his time on the couch watching the Home Shopping Network.

It soon began to grow cold. The ant, who had been planning, designing and building his home for months, was all nice and cozy. Meanwhile, his long-legged friend had done nothing about the rough times ahead. But just when it looked like curtains for the grasshopper, he marched over to the ant's house, reverse-engineered the whole thing and build his own version in 20 minutes.

The ant thought this was terribly unfair but was so much smaller than the grasshopper, he really couldn't do anything about it. So the ant just sat and pouted, while the grasshopper went inside and watched The Simpsons.

Moral: It's good to be first. But it's better to be bigger.

The careful squirrel: One morning, a squirrel came upon an abandoned nest high up in a tree. "What a perfect place to store my food," thought the lucky squirrel. "But can this tiny nest support the weight of all my acorns?"

The squirrel wisely decided to test this acorn repository. He put large rocks in the nest. He even climbed into the nest and jumped up and down. Still, the nest proved acorn-worthy. Exhausted but satisfied, the squirrel gathered his stash and loaded the nest. But as he placed that last acorn atop the pile, he noticed something was wrong. The branch beneath him quivered, then gave way...and the squirrel, the nest and the acorns all fell to the ground.

Moral: No matter how much you test, it just takes one nut to screw things up.

The Three Little Pigs: Once upon a time there were three little pigs, who received an RFP from the Big Bad Wolf. But the pigs could not agree on what system to propose, so they split up, each trying to win the contract for himself.

The first little pig's system was dirt cheap; he cut corners on the chip technology. He called his system "Straw-286" and demonstrated it for the Big Bad Wolf. However, when the wolf loaded his data, it blew away Straw-286, and the first little pig was mortified.

The second little pig proposed speedy "Sticks-386," which cost a little more but was worth it. But when Sticks-386 tried to handle the wolf's connectivity requirements, it huffed, and it puffed, and it fell apart. The second little pig filed for Chapter 11.

But the third little pig was smarter and more patient. After several months, he came up with "Bricks-486," which was a high-priced, yet leading-edge solution. He proudly called the Big Bad Wolf to schedule his demo. When he did, the secretary informed him that Mr. Wolf had cash flow problems and had to settle for "Straw-286" for now but would consider upgrading in three or four years.

Moral: What it costs is more important than what it does.

Mr. Rabbit's Garden: Mr. Rabbit was tired of foraging for food. One day he decided, "Why not plant a garden? I'll grow all I need, with enough left over to make my killer gazpacho."

Mr. Rabbit sat down and carefully planned his garden. He did a needs analysis of sun and shade. He constructed a resource list of seed and tools. He built a harvest Gantt Chart. He outsourced his fertilizer requirements to the horse up the road.

After days of prepping his garden project, he selected a shady spot under a big oak tree. He planted according to his Soil Timing Study and managed his critical tasks so that, by early autumn, he had a bountiful garden.

On the scheduled morning, Mr. Rabbit put on his overalls and went to the oak tree to harvest his garden. He stood there for a moment, admiring the ripe tomatoes, abundant carrots and crisp cucumbers. But just as he bent down to pluck his first pea, he heard a horrible racket...and Mr. Rabbit looked up just in time to see this squirrel, nest and swarm of acorns fall from the sky and wreck his whole garden.

Moral: Even the best managed project can get screwed up by someone else's nuts.

The Racing Roosters: A hen was hopelessly attracted to two roosters and was having quite a time choosing between them. The pair decided to have a race, with the loser agreeing to fly the coop. As the love-struck hen breathlessly watched, her suitors lined up at the edge of a field, then off they went...each determined to be the faster fowl.

For a few seconds they ran neck and neck. But one rooster was quite a bit younger and quickly began to pull ahead. It was soon evident that the younger rooster ran much faster...so fast, in fact, that he ran right into a southbound lane of I-95 and was flattened by a Ford Taurus with Missouri plates.

Moral: Winning the benchmark is one thing; winning the contract is another.

Posted by joke du jour at November 22, 2006 10:01 PM

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