Monday, January 17, 2011

Apathy in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction

"I give up.  I'll do it your way."  They smiled and left.  I squared my shoulders and settled in to do a sub-optimal job.

The discussion was with the cinematics group.  They'd purchased a render farm and wanted one operating system (and thus one rendering engine) on each node.  I'd figured out that we could boost the output by putting two virtual machines on each block of physical hardware.  The math bore me out, but they didn't understand the math.  So after several iterations of back and forth, I just gave up.

This exchange happens at most companies.  The non-techical folks "want one of these," and sometimes we consider it and offer that they "actually want one of *these.*"  It either increases their bang for the buck, or skirts some technical limitation, or makes administration easier for us.  But not lately.  My suggestion of alternatives results in their director contacting my director and complaining (with everyone cc:d) that I "just don't understand how they work."

I've gotta fix this.  Why don't they trust my technical advice?  Why am I content to give up on explaining?  I take my work very personally -- which is great when I succeed -- but really sucks at times like this.  Where do I start, when caring less isn't an option?

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