John Sellens' Quotes Page


"I have no use for bodyguards, but I have a very special use for two highly trained certified public accountants."
-- Elvis Presley

"There's no business like show business, but there are several businesses like accounting."
-- David Letterman

Computing and Technology

"Clearly, for many people Twitter is like the culture. It is, when you get right down to it, a near-total waste of your time."
-- Bruce Arthur, National Post, March 19, 2011
"Twitter at Five: In short, engaging"

"It's not the technology that's scary. It's what it does to the relations between people, like callers and operators, that's scary."
-- from "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert M. Pirsig

"The purpose of IT is to seamlessly and transparently provide the other nine-tenths of the iceburg for people who need to work with chunks of floating ice."
-- Strata R. Chalup

"I conclude that there are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are 'obviously' no deficiencies and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no 'obvious' deficiencies."
-- C.A.R. Hoare, Turing Lecture "The Emperor's Old Clothes" CACM February 1981, pp. 75-83.

"Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it."
-- (attributed to) Brian W. Kernighan (unconfirmed)

"Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better."
-- Edsger W. Dijkstra (1984) On the nature of Computing Science (EWD896).

"We build our computer(systems) the way we build our cities: over time, without a plan, on top of ruins."
-- Ellen Ullman

"System administration is where theory meets practice with a vengeance."
-- Steve Simmons

"A systems administrator should be able to read a manual, write a manual, fend off a user, manage technicians and operators, program and burn a prom, both install and use a trouble ticket system, program proficiently in C, assembler, and lisp, debug a program in a language he doesn't know, use a soldering iron, pull cables and then trace them to see where they actually went, write tools that don't break when handled by others, know when to use hammers on disk drives, be able to tap a hole, understand a policy statement, take an integral, cost-justify a purchase, tell the difference between capital and labor expenditures, determine when a vendor is lieing *and about what*, tell lies and truths for the proper purpose, know when to do which, and know who to ask about the ones he doesn't know."
-- Steve Simmons

"As far as I'm concerned, Java is the Windows of programming languages: It's easy to get people started with it, it's damn hard to get them to understand the underlying concepts with it, and as far as troubleshooting is concerned, you're screwed."
-- Gabriel Krabbe

"And I tell you, we are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different.
Electronic communities build nothing. You wind up with nothing. We're dancing animals. How beautiful it is to get up and go do something. [Gets up and dances a jig.]"
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr, interview in Inc. Technology January 1996, Vol.17, No. 17

"Usenet is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea -- massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it."
-- Gene "Spaf" Spafford, 1992


"Work is more fun than fun"
-- Noel Coward

"Never let your job get in the way of your work"
-- David Tilbrook

"Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done."
-- James Ling

"The reward of a thing well done is to have done it."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"To do a common thing uncommonly well, brings success."
-- Henry John Heinz

"That was it! The whole Redwood City philosophy was based on a willingness to try harder than anyone else."
-- "How David Beats Goliath -- When underdogs break the rules." by Malcolm Gladwell, in The New Yorker (online) May 11, 2009

"The longer I put off starting my own firm, the longer it can remain a dream, and not something I screwed up at. I mean, it's like I'm giving up before I even started."
-- "Ted Mosby" to "Robin Scherbatsky" in the TV series "How I Met Your Mother", the "Mosbius Designs" episode, April 13, 2009.

"Fortunately, it is apparently not possible to die of optimism."
-- Terry Jones

"The good part of doing everything yourself is you learn a lot. The bad part is that it takes forever."
-- Terry Jones

"Success is the by-product when you work toward the target."
-- attributed to Starbucks founder, Howard Schultz

"When you really magnify what it is you believe in and follow it, the world conspires for you."
-- attributed to Michael Jager, "founder of a design firm"

"Working at a big company is the kiss of death for your career."
-- Helen K. Whelan, President, MyPrimeTime Inc.

"If you work 20 hours a day, your product will be crap."
-- George Colony, Chairman and CEO, Forrester Research

"There's nothing like work to take your mind off your worries."
-- from "Out of Sight" by Elmore Leonard
-- Of course, in this case, "work" is robbing banks ...

"The conductor doesn't make a sound"
-- Benjamin Zander, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra

"Then Job fell to his knees and cried to the Lord, `Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory. Thou hast a good job. Don't blow it.'"
-- Woody Allen

"Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning..."
-- Isaiah 5:11

Business and Finance

For a business owner, there's nothing more satisfying than watching honest dealers expand their operations while the schmucks, with their going-out-of-business markups, go down the drain. It's inspiring to know that starting with the premise of treating your customers well really does pay off.
-- Joel Spolsky, "Why Circuit City Failed, and Why B&H Thrives", in Inc., published May 2009.

"Money is like gasoline during a road trip. You don't want to run out of gas on your trip, but you're not doing a tour of gas stations. You have to pay attention to money, but it shouldn't be about the money."
-- Tim O'Reilly, "The Oracle of Silicon Valley", in Inc., published May 2010.

"I'm looking forward to the next Internet bubble. I don't know what everyone's so negative about. The last bubble was lots of fun."
-- Bob Metcalfe, ethernet inventor

"Venture capitalists don't have the longest attention spans in the world."
-- Kleiner Perkins partner Ted Schlein, formerly in charge of Java-themed investments, on his firm's move to create an old-school leveraged buyout fund, The Industry Standard, 10 April 2000

"The salary of the chief executive of a large corporation is not a market award for achievement. It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal gesture by the individual to himself."
-- John Kenneth Galbraith

"Everybody has accepted by now that change is unavoidable. But that still implies that change is like death and taxes -- it should be postponed as long as possible and no change would be vastly preferable."
-- Peter Drucker

"If you don't understand that you work for your mislabeled `subordinates,' then you know nothing of leadership. You know only tyranny."
-- Dee Hock, Founder and CEO Emeritus of Visa

"We knew we had to stay a product company, because only that scales."
-- Paul Graham, in "A Fundraising Survival Guide",


"Little ideas are the enemies of big ideas."
-- Terry Jones

"There are three kinds of brains. The one understands things unassisted, the other understands things when shown by others, the third understands neither alone nor with the explanations of others."
-- philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli

"It is impossible to forsee the consequences of being clever."
-- Christopher Strachey

"Write clearly - don't be too clever."
-- The Elements of Programming Style (Kernighan & Plaugher)

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."
-- Bertrand Russell

"It had been exciting, the entire journey, but nothing lasts forever, except possibly general stupidity."
-- "The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared" by Jonas Jonasson, Rod Bradbury (Translator)

"When nerds are unbearable it's usually because they're trying too hard to seem smart. But the smarter they are, the less pressure they feel to act smart. So as a rule you can recognize genuinely smart people by their ability to say things like 'I don't know,' 'Maybe you're right,' and 'I don't understand x well enough.'"
-- Paul Graham, in "How to Start a Startup"

"Drawing upon my fine command of language, I said nothing."
-- Attributed, perhaps incorrectly, to Mark Twain

"If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?"
-- Will Rogers

"Don't let yesterday use up too much of today."
-- Will Rogers

"Ah, but I am more perceptive than most of the universe. Especially the parts of the universe that are vacuum."
-- James Alan Gardner in his (excellent) novel "Ascending"

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."'
-- Winston Churchill

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt (attributed at least)

"Gaiety -- a quality of ordinary people. Genius presupposes some disorder in the machine."
-- Denis Diderot, French philosopher, art critic, and writer

J (Will Smith): "Why the big secret? People are smart, they can handle it."
K (Tommy Lee Jones): "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."
-- From the movie "Men in Black"


"... or if you are falling in love with a girl, you can't be lazy. She wants to go dancing tango. You want to watch Jay Leno. You're a lazy pig. She'll find someone else to tango with."
-- James Altucher "I Was Blind But Now I See"

"So avoid using the word 'very' because it's lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don't use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won't do in your essays."
-- N.H. Kleinbaum, Dead Poets Society

"In spite of the strangeness of it all, of the way they seemed to find even small talk a strain in the harsh light of day, of her quickness in leaving and his desire to be alone with his fears, in spite of all of that, he felt something he hadn't felt in years, a warm energy spreading across his chest, filling him. It seemed equally possible that he might love her forever or might never see her again, but that energy was incontrovertible proof, long overdue, that there was still some juice in that creaky, battered heart of his."
-- Jonathan Tropper, "One Last Thing Before I Go"

"'You know,' she says, 'there are some people out there who don't wait for what comes next. They decide what should come next and they go and make it happen.'"
-- Jonathan Tropper, "One Last Thing Before I Go"

"Ah, well - there's people you meet, Bill," Grandpa Harry said. "Some of 'em are merely encounters, nothin' more, but occasionally there's a love-of-your-life meetin', and that's different - you know?"
-- in John Irving's "In One Person"

"At the circus, the worst that can go wrong is a lion kills you. There's a lot more than can go wrong with a marriage."
-- in John Irving's "Avenue of Mysteries"

"Clark French had no appreciation for dog-paddling or treading water; they were like living in the past, like going nowhere. Juan Diego lived there, in the past---reliving, in his imagination, the losses that had marked him."
-- in John Irving's "Avenue of Mysteries"

"He felt alright about not asking her who she was anymore. It was a great relief to Juan Diego to imagine thet Dorothy and Miriam might be spectral. The world he'd imagined had brought him more satisfaction and less pain then the real world ever had."
-- in John Irving's "Avenue of Mysteries"

"At this point Jeremy surpasses Ray Porter as a lover of Mirabelle, because what he offers is tender and true."
"As Ray Porter watches Mirabelle walk away, he feels a loss. How is it possible, he thinks, to miss a woman whom he kept at a distance so that when she was gone, he would not miss her. Only then does he realize how wanting part of her and not all of her, had hurt them both, and how he cannot justify his actions except that, well, it was life."
-- Steve Martin as Ray Porter in "Shopgirl"

"However, Jeremy does have one outstanding quality. He likes her. And this quality in a person makes them infinitely interesting to the person who is being liked."
-- from Steve Martin's "Shopgirl"

"Even after these few minutes of talking with her, spending time with her, trying to see her as fallible, Elizabeth lived on in my psyche as unattainable and ideal, and I was still the guy across the street dreaming beyond his means."
-- "Daniel Pecan Cambridge" in Steve Martin's "The Pleasure of My Company"

You know I remember having a really great time with you that night,
and then when you basically ghosted me,
I thought it was the end of the world.
Turns out I was right.
-- "Ed Mercer" (Seth MacFarlane) to "Kelly Grayson" (Adrianne Palicki) in The Orville S2 E14 The Road Not Taken

"their lust has the pull of quicksand."
-- Brian D. Johnson reviewing Woody Allen's "Match Point"

"Carol there are just some things you can't compromise on. Some things you can. New suit, yeah. Dream house, maybe.
But the girl. You can't compromise on the girl."
-- "Ed Stevens" to "Carol Vessey" in the TV series "Ed", the "Ends and Means" episode.

Ed: "Maybe it's just not meant to be."
Warren: "But that's the thing, what if it is, how can I be sure, how can you tell?"
Ed: "I don't know but I'll tell you this, if it's not meant to be, all the trying in the world isn't going to make it work."
Warren: "Why, then if it is meant to be, it just takes care of itself?"
Ed: "No, no, ah, no ... if it is meant to be, you gotta do everything you can to make sure it doesn't slip away."
-- "Ed Stevens" to "Warren Cheswick" in the TV series "Ed" the "Memory Lane" episode.

"Actually, there is a word for that. It's love. I'm in love with her, okay? If you're looking for the word that means caring for someone beyond all rationality and wanting them to have everything they want no matter how much it destroys you, its love! And when you love someone you just, you ... you don't stop. Ever. Even when people roll their eyes or call you crazy. Even then. Especially then. You just - you don't give up because if I could give up ... If I could just, you know, take the whole world's advice and, and move on and find someone else, that wouldn't be love. That would be ... That would be some other disposable thing that is not worth fighting for. But that is not what this is."
-- "Ted Mosby" in the "How I Met Your Mother" "Sunrise" episode

"Because nothing sucks more than feeling all alone, no matter how many people are around you."
-- "John 'J.D.' Dorian" in the TV series "Scrubs", the "My T.C.W." (Tasty Coma Wife) episode.

Murphy: "You like strong women, don't you?"
Dr. Cox: "Are you kidding me? They're the only ones I let ruin my life."
-- "Kristen Murphy" (Kelli Williams) to "Dr. Perry Cox" (John C. McGinley) in the TV series "Scrubs", the "My Student" episode (2002, season 1, episode 17).

"That's the thing about kites. You have to hold on tight so they can fight against the wind. Because the second you let go, all the life goes out of them."
-- "Georgia Lass" (Ellen Muth) in a voiceover that I keep thinking is meant to be a metaphor for relationships, in the TV series "Dead Like Me", the "Death Defying" episode (2004).

"One day, he noticed he was the oldest man in the bar, that the girls inside were indeed mere girls, and he left the bar, and never returned."
-- Arjun Basu @arjunbasu

"Rod did so, remembered to shake hands with the Deacon. It was all right, he guessed, but - well, how old were they? Sis must be thirtyish and the Deacon... why the Deacon was old - probably past forty. It did not seem quite decent.

But he did his best to make them feel that he approved. After he thought it over he decided that if two people, with their lives behind them, wanted company in their old age, why, it was probably a good thing."
-- Robert Heinlein, "Tunnel in the Sky"

Landon Percival was asked about her regrets.
“Well, I don’t have many,” she responded. “It’s simple, really. The regrets I carry revolve around people I’m missing. And I’ll just leave it at that.”
-- Terry Fallis, "Up and Down"

"Back in the days before he fell in love, he was never bored. He was seldom sad, either, and never about something as trite and foolish and unmanly as a dead teddy bear with all its stuffing gone. Back in the days before he fell in love his thoughts were always full, either dwelling on the girl he'd just finished balling or on the one he was balling now, or laying plans for balling a new one in the future. His head had been as full of legs and arms and breasts as a butcher shop. All of that was in the past now, and although he looked back on those days with nostalgia and yearning, he knew they would never come again, or at least, they wouldn't come again for a while. Getting into bed with anyone but Bitsy would be about as much fun as getting into bed with a corpse. Falling in love hadn't enriched his life, it had drained it of everything that had given it meaning and substance. Falling in love was the worst thing that had ever happened to him.
"... He supposed it would be a good test of love if your heart were to leap when your girl came into the room. He imagined Bitsy coming into the room. His heart leapt. He was still in love.
     "Prey to these and other, even less coherent but no more cheerful thoughts he lay awake on top of his bed for half the night, listening to the house creak and snap as the earth swung through its orbit and the moon pulled at the seas. It was amazing how pathetic everything seemed when your spirit was desolate. He was bored with that, too, but there didn't seem to be anything he could do about it."
-- Excerpts from "Walking Small", a novel by L.J. Davis, 1974.

"Jealousy is not contemptible, real love has a beak and claws."
-- "The Monologue", Simone de Beauvoir

"Relationships are completely fucked."
-- Terry Jones, 1988

Drew: "Wow - 45 minutes - that's, uh, that's uh some jacuzzi tub, huh?"
Kelli: "I got a question. How could a mindless stream of water find something in five minutes that my husband couldn't find in fifteen years?"
-- The Drew Carey show, in the "Two Days of the Condo" episode


"A child is the ultimate startup, and I have three. This makes me rich."
-- Guy Kawasaki, in the dedication to his book "The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything"

"Boy, is my mother ever angry at Nancy Reagan.
She is upset with her JUST SAY NO to Drugs campaign.
My mom thinks it should be 'JUST SAY NO, THANK YOU'."
-- Jay Leno, opening his monologue, many years ago


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
-- George Bernard Shaw

"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them."
-- George Bernard Shaw

"I like relentless pests. You have to have them -- especially relentless pests who are normally right."
-- Tony Trahar, CEO, Anglo American

"Only pissed-off people change the world."
-- Tom Peters, Author

"If we meet somebody who has never made a mistake, lets help them start a religion. Until then, we're just going to meet other humans and help to make each other better."
-- Gil Scott-Heron

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."
-- Douglas Adams

"I don't know if I'm a misanthrope, but (people) have a lot of limitations."
-- homeless philosopher Donald Keaney as highlighted by Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird from the Boston Globe 2002-12-03

"Some people are like Slinkies: Not really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs."
-- Unknown


"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
-- Thomas Edison
-- quoted in the movie "One Week"

"When you're looking for a gorilla, you often miss other unexpected events."
-- Daniel Simons
-- The Monkey Business Illusion

"Your dilemma may have reached maximum proportion."
-- Virgo's horoscope, February 3, 2005,
-- Not that I believe in all that stuff.
-- (Virgos never do.)

"If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith."
-- (attributed to) Albert Einstein

"Time is both wonderful and horrible."
-- Nicholas Hayek, CEO, Swatch Group

"Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about."
-- Winston Churchill

"When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don't, they don't."
-- William Temple, former Archbishop of Canterbury

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it."
-- Oscar Wilde

"Yield to temptation; it may not pass your way again."
-- Robert Heinlein

"Control is an illusion."
-- Avram Miller, VP of Business Development, Intel

"You already know the answers. You just don't want to hear them from yourself."
-- Sunny Vanderbeck, Cofounder, Data Return Corp.

"You want to take action every day, not sit around waiting for something to happen."
-- Richard Bolles, Author, "What Color Is Your Parachute?"

"There is no voodoo to how to get unstuck. It's about taking actions every day in a sensible way with a little bit of creativity and invention."
-- Keith Yamashita, Principal, Stone Yamashita Partners

"Progress, not perfection"
-- a home organizer on a TV news show, who's name I didn't catch

"Artist awake or be forever fallen"
-- A motto depicted on a sign in the studio of "Group of Seven" artist Frederick Horsman Varley (1881-1969)

"Get up"
-- US Senator Joe Biden's father's advice on how to deal with adversity, "Just get up and keep going", as related on the Late Show with David Letterman, show #2794, Tuesday July 31, 2007.

"Hope might not be a strategy, but sometimes it's all that you have."
-- Matt Simmons @standaloneSA "It's not the defeat that crushes you, it's the hope."
-- attributed to John Cleese

"The way past despair and false hope is just letting go. It doesn't improve your odds of survival, but it doesn't waste mental energy."
-- James Alan Gardner in his (excellent) novel "Radiant"

"You can end a musical tragically, but only if that ending points toward hope and restores balance to the universe."
-- David Spencer
MASTERCLASS: From Dark to Somewhat Lighter or: "Why Do They Have to Change the Ending?"

"You can make yourself happy or miserable - it's the same amount of effort."
-- Ray Bradbury

"... but there'd always be more trouble, new trouble, one thing after another, and no one could dodge every bullet.
     So what? What to do? What could anyone do?
     Simple. You did what you could, in the here and now. Nothing else was possible.
     The past was past. Remember, but let it go.
     The future was not yet with us. Wise people planned and prepared, but didn't obsess.
     All anyone has is the present. Live there. ... Would getting upset solve anything? Would it improve my life or anyone else's? No. So let it go.
     Let it go.
     Let everything go.
-- James Alan Gardner in his (excellent) novel "Radiant"

"Me? I don't know how to write literature; I write stories."
-- "Dr. Richard Ames" in Robert Heinlein's "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls"

"Jack thanked him for coming such a long way. 'Life is a long way, young Mr. Burns,' Sailor Jerry said, 'Nova Scotia isn't all that far.'"
-- in John Irving's "Until I Find You"

"It seemed too obvious to put into words, but Jack realized that when you're happy -- especially when it's for the first time in your life -- you think of things that would never have occurred to you when you were unhappy."
-- in John Irving's "Until I Find You"

"The characters in my novels, from the very first one, are always on some quixotic effort of attempting to control something that is uncontrollable -- some element of the world that is essentially random and out of control."
-- John Irving

"When will waiting for the one ... be done?"
-- "Carrie Bradshaw", in "Sex and the City", after observing that everyone is waiting for something -- the one job, the one person, whatever.

"Nobody knows anything, Joe. We'll take this leap, and we'll see. We'll jump, and we'll see. That's life, right?"
-- "Patricia", played by Meg Ryan, in the movie "Joe Versus the Volcano"

"Mainly because I also believe, in my screwed-up way, that the more you want something, the less likely it is that you'll ever get it."
-- Douglas Clegg, in the author's notes to "Purity"

"I missed his first words, his first steps, I'll be damned if I'm going to miss the slow death of his dreams as it gets crushed by the weight of the world."
-- "Oswald" on the Drew Carey show, on soon meeting the son he never knew he had, in the "Oswald's Son" episode

"It's a good life if you don't let it get to you."
-- Susan's stepmother's father

"She said, `How do you feel?' And I said, `You know when you're sitting on a chair and you lean back so you're just on two legs and you lean too far so you almost fall over but at the last second you catch yourself? I feel like that all the time..."
-- Steven Wright

Moving Forward

"And I haven't made a billion dollars despite the opportunities I've had. I've made many many stupid mistakes that I have a hard time forgiving myself for. I could've saved lives and instead I squandered them. I got good at squandering."
-- James Altucher "I Was Blind But Now I See"

"I wanted the death of my lack of control over a world that is furious, and chaotic and beautiful and messy."
-- James Altucher "I Was Blind But Now I See"

Music and Art

"[Commercial] radio is absolutely the enemy of music. They are my sworn and mortal enemy, and I will have nothing to do with them."
-- Elvis Costello, March 2003

Spam Poetry

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Despondent, sad, spiteful,

Love is a river with many routes,

To remind me that I can and you can Knows why I seek the pain that is quiet.

From the body of one of those annoying watch ads:
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Miscellaneous and Unclassified

Eli Stone: "I don't even believe in God." "Sure you do. You believe in right and wrong, you believe in justice, in fairness, and you believe in love. All those things, they're God, Eli."
-- "Dr. Chen" to "Eli Stone" in the TV series "Eli Stone", the pilot episode, 2008.

"The Bible is the word of God through the words of human beings, speaking in the idiom of their time. And the richness of the Bible comes from the fact that we don't take it as literally so, that it was dictated by God."
-- Archbishop Desmond Tutu

"When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, 'It's in the script.' If he says, 'But what's my motivation?,' I say, 'Your salary.'"
-- Alfred Hitchcock

"The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate."
-- political theorist Joseph Priestley

"Rated R - For strong drug content, sexuality, nudity, language, and a disturbing accident."
-- MPAA rating for "A Home at the End of the World"
-- Is this supposed to make us want to see the movie or avoid the movie?

"Dakota tribal wisdom says that when you're on a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. Of course, there are other strategies. You can change riders. You can get a committee to study the dead horse. You can benchmark how other companies ride dead horses. You can declare that it's cheaper to feed a dead horse. You can harness several dead horses together. But after you've tried all these things, you're still going to have to dismount."
-- Noted management consultant Gary Hamel in his book "Leading the Revolution"

"Home pages are the pet rock of the 90s. We all have them, we all think they're very cute. But in a few years we're going to look back and be pretty embarrassed."
-- Tony Shepps

"The myth that Bill Gates has appeared like a knight in shining armor to lead all customers out of a mire of technological chaos neatly ignores the fact that it was he who, by peddling second-rate technology, led them into it in the first place, and continues to do so today."
-- Douglas Adams

"Try moving off NT easily. You can move from Solaris to HP/UX to AIX or DEC easily -- relative to moving off of NT, which is like a Roach Motel. Once you check in, you never check out."
-- Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems

We will ship no software before its time department:
"Overall, there are more than 65,000 'potential issues' that could emerge as problems, as discovered by Microsoft's Prefix tool. Microsoft is estimating that 28,000 of these are likely to be 'real' problems."
-- Microsoft memo on the Windows 2000 source-code base as reported by ZDNN, 11 February 2000

"RManager: An unknown error occurred while accessing an unnamed file."
-- Possibly the least helpful error dialog ever seen, from a Windows application

"We had 12.9 gigabytes of (Microsoft) PowerPoint slides on our network. And I thought, 'What a huge waste of corporate productivity.' So we banned it. And we've had three unbelievable record-breaking fiscal quarters since we banned PowerPoint. Now, I would argue that every company in the world, if they would just ban PowerPoint, would see their earnings skyrocket. Employees would stand around going, 'What do I do? Guess I've got to go to work.'"
-- Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems, quoted in the San Jose Mercury News, January 27, 1997

"We will run [.NET] with the same kind of openness that we've run Windows."
-- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, fulfilling the software industry's fears in announcing an embrace-and-extend Internet services initiative,, 23 June 2000 as highlighted by Ditherati

Microsoft is coming around department:
"If someone is on Windows 95 or 98, they need to get off it"
-- Microsoft Group Vice President Jim Allchin, talking about the upcoming releases of Windows XP and Office XP
Now if he would just accept the obvious about NT, 2000, ME and XP too ...

"Otherwise, it's pretty easy. Installing Exchange is just about as hard as firing a rocket launcher into your data center.
Just point and click."
Chuck Yerkes in sage-members on installing Microsoft Exchange

And just how bad was Windows before department:
"We figure every Windows user will save a week of time every year."
-- Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, on how Windows XP will crash less frequently, freeing up users to spend hours on hold with Microsoft Support, waiting for a new activation key, CBS MarketWatch, 24 October 2001 as highlighted by Ditherati

Definition of irony:
"Internet Overload: Disaster in the Making?
Internet brownouts seem epidemic as Web servers all over the world go down under the strain of accelerating use. With 25 million active users and counting, is the Web's joy ride about to end? Includes a RealAudio interview with Marc Andreessen of Netscape Communications."
-- PC World, from some issue at

"IST and the University have lost an extremely talented and dedicated staff member with the resignation of John Sellens. With his 20 years of association with the University, as a student and staff member of MFCF and IST, John is widely known and highly respected. We wish John well in his new adventures."
-- the UW IST What's New page, August 13, 1997

"We trained hard, but it seemed every time we were beginning to form into teams, we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation."
-- attributed in jest to Roman centurion Petronius Arbiter, circa AD 60, and promulgated by Robert Townsend's Up The Organization. See Jim Reeds' Petronius Arbiter, Time Traveller, and also which attributes it to Charlton Ogburn

"I love the whoosing sound deadlines make as they go by ..."
-- Douglas Adams

"Supporting Windows is like buying a puppy. The dog only cost $100, but we spent another $500 cleaning the carpet."
-- Marc Dodge, "Reality Check", Open Computing, December 1994

"Objects in calendar are closer than they appear."
-- Jim Duncan <>


"Of all the stupid things I could have thought, this was the worst"
-- Joe Jackson

"Nihil facimus sed id bene facimus"
(We do nothing but we do it well)
-- in John Irving's "Until I Find You"

"You're a really weird man, aren't you?"
"Seems so"
-- "Melissa" to "Alan Shore" in the TV show "Boston Legal"

General Concepts: Yesterday's Solutions to Tomorrow's Problems
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2019-05-22 17:59:14 --- 2019-05-23 00:04:16
LISA '13

John Sellens is teaching "Nagios: Advanced Topics" at the 2013 USENIX LISA System Administration Conference in Washington, DC, November 3-8.

LISA '13
(The Preceding is Free Volunteer Advertising for Worthy Causes)