Throwback Thursday: How to guarantee business will grow

Current Job Listings

It's early 2005, and this pilot fish works for an online retailer -- and pays close attention to the chatter about website development.

Spring 2005:

Manager: "Do we need a database administrator for the new attribute key-value design?"

Software developer: "No, we won't ever need more than 10 attribute key-val pairs. The business will never get bigger than that. Besides, storing data in columns means it's contiguous on disk and one select will mean one read!"

Summer 2005:

Developer: "Hmm, why is the database so slow? I wonder if it's the 100 attribute key-value pairs. We now have 100 columns instead of 10, but that should be fine."

Manager: "If the database seems slow, maybe we need a database admin."

Winter 2005:

Database admin: "Why do you have a single table with 250 columns?"

Developer: "Those are attributes. It makes a single select super-fast."

DBA: "I thought you said it was slow. Let me explain row chaining and row migration to you."

Developer: "Those will never happen. Besides, we won't ever need more than 250 columns."

Summer 2006:

Developer: "I told you 300 columns was enough."

Spring 2007:

Manager: "The business needs to add 1,000 attributes. Can a table handle 1,000 columns?"

DBA: "Nope, and as I have been recommending, we need a model that is scalable and performs well."

Developer: "But a single select is faster -- it makes one read and grabs all 300 columns. I can feel that is the way it works."

DBA: "Come here, son, let me teach you..."

Spring 2008:

Developer: "We need a new design for the 1,500 columns."

DBA: "Let's do a requirements analysis."

Developer: "No, no, the business will never need more than 1,500 columns."

Summer 2008:

Developer: "I still think we should create three tables with 1,000 columns each."

Manager: "The DBA just quit."

Don't quit on Sharky. Send me your true tale of IT life at You can also comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

Get Sharky's outtakes from the IT Theater of the Absurd delivered directly to your Inbox. Subscribe now to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

How collaboration apps foster digital transformation
Shop Tech Products at Amazon