Follow us:

Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

August 6, 2008 at 11:59 PM

P.C. MacGoogle: The UW’s Shakespearean Dilbert

It won’t be the next Harry Potter, but a quirkly little technology booklet has been selling briskly at the University of Washington Book Store and a nearby coffee shop frequented by UW tech staff.

The $3 tract is in the style of an 18th century political pamphlet, yet comments on problems in a 21st century information-technology organization.

Only insiders may recognize that it’s a humorous commentary on the UW IT department, where the discovery that it was $10 million in the red led to a management shakeup and 66 people being laid off in May.

“A Failure of Character, or The Ruination of a University IT Department,” was written by “P.C. MacGoogle, Layoffee of this Borough.”

A sample, from the opening of Act II, Scene I, where the “expanded executive committee” is meeting:

The Twenty-seven Executives: (in chorus)

“We should have resisted

The rot at the top

We should have taken a stand

But our willpower is feeble

We’re gutless and weak

And none of wants to get canned!

We avoid at all costs getting canned!”

Ian Taylor, who was laid off from the department after working there 32 of his 59 years, designed and published the tract this summer through his Crooked Cucumber Press.

“I acknowlege being the publisher and as the publisher I’m going to protect the identity of the author who wishes to remain pseudonymous,” Taylor said from his home in Shoreline, where he’s spending time gardening before getting serious about his job search.

The UW won’t have an official comment on the booklet, said Norm Arkans, director of media relations and communications.

Arkans did say the school’s in the process of sorting out the IT department financial problems and recently named a veteran school administrator, Kelli Trosvig, as its chief operating officer.

Ron Johnson, the group’s former manager, is now chief technology officer for the university. He could not be reached for comment.

“He’s not going to have day to day management and oversight for the organization but he’s reporting directly to the president,” Arkans said.

Meanwhile, 500 copies of the treatise have been sold and Taylor just received an order for 30 more. They’re available through the UW Bookstore and the Caffe Appassionato on the Ave.

It’s the second title published by Crooked Cucumber. Earlier it published Taylor’s illustrated “Suburban Adventures of a Naked Gardener.”

Next month should see a third title, a longer book by P.C. MacGoogle aimed at IT administrators everywhere: “A Child’s Guide to Executive Leadership in Information Technology.”

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►