Shark Tank: Easy, defined

This pilot fish works in an office with 60 other people and four printers. One of them is a combination copier/printer. And sitting right next to it is a laser printer.

And that makes no sense, fish thinks -- especially since he and his group are a long way from the nearest printer. Can one of the printers be moved over by us? he asks an IT tech. There's already a plotter nearby, so it should be easy.

Sure, that would be a great idea, IT tech says -- I just need my boss's OK before I can do that.

Fish e-mails the IT head honcho. No response. Tries again a week later. Still nothing. But one day fish happens to spot the honcho in the break room, and asks him about the printer.

Honcho's excuse? "He's been really busy working on an office space reshuffling," says fish. "He says that the printer situation will be handled as part of that move."

The move soon starts. Half the cubicles in the office are disassembled, including the entire area where the doubled-up printers are sitting. They're pulled out of service, and everyone gets a memo: During construction, only two printers will be available.

"I suggest to IT that they put one of the printers by the plotter," fish says. "It can be available now, and that can be its final home. I hear nothing but scornful silence. No action is taken. The printer continues to sit on a table in a hallway, completely disconnected.

"I mention this to a manager, including the fact that everything is right by the plotter and all we need is a network hub so it can be fully connected. He agrees.

"He talks to the IT tech and gets a hub, while I physically move the printer. He gives me the hub, I do all the wire rearranging and connecting, and the printer is online and good.

"The IT people apparently decide that's a good place for it, and leave it, putting it on the printer map.

"If only everything were so 'easy.'"

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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