Dog and Pony

by Joey deVilla on November 28, 2001

The app I’ve been working on

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks hammering out a prototype of an news-gathering app that would be based on the peer-to-peer kernel that we’re developing. I’m pretty proud of this prototype for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s my first serious application written in C#. Second, there’s a clever little database-based engine underneath it that simulates a network of users exchanging and recommending news stories. For a “canned” app, it’s pretty smart. Finally, with only the most vague of specs provided by the suits and with the departure of our UI specialist and our graphic artist, I’ve had to do all the interaction and graphic design — this sucker really has my fingerprints all over it. I think I can show you the splash screen I designed without violating my NDA

Ah gotz to reprasent to them wack-ass VC bitchez, yo

One of the occupational hazards of being a programmer at a start-up is doing early morning demos of your latest work for the monthly “dog and pony show” for the investors. The Chief Suit likes my prototype app and wanted me to show it to the guys from our VC, who I’ll just refer to as “J-Low” and “L-Dogg”. The prototype app isn’t quite done yet and I haven’t had a chance to build an installer, so I decided it would be safest to run it on my development machine, so there’d be no nasty surprises come demo time. I spent a good chunk of last night and the wee hours of this morning putting up enough “scaffolding” so that I could run a reasonable-looking demo. I woke up after 4 hours’ sleep to double-check the prototype for bugs (None! Yay!) and then wait for Johnny to come and pick me up from the corner of Queen and Spadina.

Ten minutes after he was supposed to pick me up, the wind started to blow and I was beginning to feel a little chilly.

Fifteen minutes after he was supposed to pick me up, I was really getting cold. I gave his cell phone a call and got his voice mail.

Twenty minutes later, still no lift. No answer on his phone either.

Half an hour later, I was trying to reach the office to tell them I’d be late. I’m imagining J-Low and L-Dogg sitting at the office, wondering where this nifty prototype that Chief Suit promised was.

I wrote Johnny off and called Kostya, the co-worker who normally gives me a lift to work. I arranged for him to pick me up at the usual place at our more civilized usual time and went to Lettieri (the Italian cafe at the corner) to have a hot chocolate and bash on the app a little more. Kostya picked me up about forty minutes later and got me to the office in time to do the demo, which took less than two minutes and got an simple nod of approval (and barely a mumble) from L-Dogg. This is what I stayed up late and woke up early for?

Normally, I’d say that L-Dogg is the strong, silent type, but that sounds too close to a compliment for the likes of a VC. They all need a good pimp-slapping.

One tiny upside

While waiting in the cold for Johnny to not show up (it turned out that he slept straight through his alarm clock’s blare), a car pulled up to the curb where I was standing. The cute brunette driver rolled down the passenger window (where an equally cute passenger was sitting) and they both yelled out “Hey, Accordion Guy! How’re you doing?”

Being greeted on the street like that — to me, that’s worth more than a million half-hearted nods of approval from a semi-interested VC.

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