Such a deal

Subject: Such a deal
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2001 22:22:30 -0500

A relative of an in-law (I don't want to be more specific than that, but
this is a person I've met only occasionally and whose political views I
find offensive), on the advice family members, approached me and asked
if I would take a look at the executive summary of a business plan he
had prepared. He is a young attorney who hooked up with an engineer (his
client, I assume) to form a corporation to make and sell a product the
engineer designed.

When I saw the draft of the executive summary, I groaned and asked if I
could take a look at the whole business plan, figuring I'd whip it into
some kind of shape. The offer I made (because I am gainfully employed
and this is for family) was this: I'll turn this into English, review
the content from a strategic point of view, and put it in a presentable
format in exchange for an as-yet-to-be-determined small piece of the
company; if you argue with me, question my edits or my judgment, or want
to make changes in what I deliver, the clock starts ticking at ninety
bucks an hour.

At the time, that seemed fair. But it turned out that he had written the
plan in some special-purpose software and couldn't save it or export it
in any usable document format. Eventually, I cracked his file format,
opened it in Access, laboriously copied text (with bad html markup) out
of database cells and put them into a document, using his hardcopy draft
to get them in the right sequence. So I spent several hours just
formatting and spell-checking before I even got to the point of editing.
And I'm going to have to build all of the document tables from scratch,
copying from the hardcopy he sent, because there is no obvious
relationship between anything in the database and the tables as printed.

So now I'm thinking I should have started the clock already and to heck
with the stock options.

I'm not asking for advice here, just venting. What's that quote about
mud-wrestling with a pig?

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IPCC 01, Oct. 24-27 in Santa Fe. http://ieeepcs.org/2001/

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