Crunch Mode or What Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong

November 19, 2005 at 9:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments

*Chuckle*. I’ve been in massive crunch mode over the past week getting ready to launch quite a few new things and, as always happens, when you’re about to do a release, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Here’s a few of the things:

  1. Last Minute Features. When I gave our lead VC a preview of one of the features, his comment was “Wow; but can you do *foo*?. Sigh. Of course we can do foo but I had already started to leak the news of this so, given that he was right and we needed to do that, foo was added to the project plan. But, of course, foo requires bar and bar requires cat and dog and lion and giraffe and etc. You’ll see how we did on that come Monday.
  2. A Wedding. Of course this wouldn’t all be complete without a major life event, a wedding, to attend. And, of course, said wedding would involve 8 + hours of round trip travel in a car. Not a lot of coding productivity in a car although you can get some very amusing pictures of how you use an iPod. I’ll blog those tomorrow or Monday and you can all get a good laugh. But, and mark my words, I’d have gone to this wedding no matter what. Its for a Feedsterite, our lead Systems Administrator, and he’s worth it beyond by ability to describe it.
  3. Torn Ligaments. I had originally planned this release to concur with my travel schedule so I’d be in our San Francisco offices for a full week; able to collaborate with out Feedsterites. Unfortunately my wife tore ligaments in her ankle last Monday so she wasn’t able to walk which completely delayed my trip and forced me into the combination Daddy / Mommy / Nurse roles. No gripes on my part — that’s what you do when the people you love are in trouble — but its an amusing wrinkle in a release crunch.
  4. Loss of People. And no release crunch would be complete without losing a staff member or 2 along with the productivity hit that entails. Nothing like having to lock down every single server you have, rotate passwords, etc.
  5. Network Connectivity Heck. I had a bad feeling about network connectivity for this trip so I brought not one but two Thinkpads and an extra WiFi card. My X31, true to form, executed its “I Hate All Wifi Except for My Home Network? behavior and persistently refused to stay connected to the Wayport Wifi in the Wedding Hotel. So I figured “Well I’ll change the wifi card and all will be good.? That gave me about 20 minutes of connectivity post reboot. So I’m back to working on my Thinkpad X20 – five + years old and with only a 5 gig hard drive. But, you know what? It works flawlessly. Oh but the battery has decided to not hold a charge so if I unplug, it dies completely.
  6. Lack of Caffeine. When I called for room service this morning, I was told, astonishingly enough “I’m sorry we don’t serve soda with breakfast?. **OY**. How can you serve coffee as the ONLY caffeinated breakfast beverage? I mean Great GooglyMoogly.
  7. A Singular Bizarro Connectivity Issue. Our beta site is and while it works fine, on my older laptop I am unable to connect to that box in any way. It must be a DNS issue since I can connect to its ip address but I can’t get to our Intranet, our webmail, etc. since those are Apache vhosts on that same box (and, no, modifying my hosts file makes not the slightest difference).
  8. No Left Mouse Button. The left mouse button on my older laptop has decided to, ahem, go missing. Its physically there but it never works anymore. So I’ve remapped the left and right but remapping my brain is a bit harder. Thankfully I’m a fast touch typist anyway.
  9. Etc.

There’s more I could go into — but — I’ve got working hardware, working connectivity, a fabulous co-founder*, a really good web contractor who’s helping out and been essential in not letting the good work I’m doing look like *Scott’s Usual Less than Good Design*, a very good project plan to execute against, Flock to make blogging easier, great co workers like Nick and James who are going to come in on a Sunday and help out. But you know either the worst of this (or the best) not one of these things has surprised me. Not a single one. I’ve done at least one crunch mode a year since ‘87 and they’re always like this. *Insane Chuckle Here*

*Who, amusingly enough to me, asked for foo prime, a different last minute feature. When he did so, I was chuckled and said “Yes Sir? and proceeded to implement it since he was also right.



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  1. No doubt about it Scott you have some of the most incredible Crunch Modes of anyone I know or have ever read about. I hope everything works out for you and at least you are still laughing about it.
    Dewayne Mikkelson

  2. *chuckle*. Heh. I am still laughing about it. For me crunch mode is all about being in the zone. When you’re in the zone its really not all that bad. I mean its painful but its ok. I wrote up “15 Tips on Surviving Crunch Mode” which I’ll hopefully blog later today. Glad you’re still reading Dewayne. Its been a long time, hasn’t it ?

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