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Does anyone takes us seriously?

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Posted

Has anyone noticed how many threads begin with:

"Hello, I am very new to Filemaker and databases in general, and I have been tasked with the responsibility of creating our company's new database."?

What are the bosses of these people thinking when they assign the management of their data to someone with no skills to handle the task?

I wonder if other forums also get similar messages, for example:

"Hello, I am very new to civil engineering and construction in general, and I have been tasked with the responsibility of designing our town's new bridge."

"Hello, I am very new to money-markets and finance in general, and I have been tasked with the responsibility of managing our company's investment portfolio."

"Hello, I am very new to NASA and space flight in general, and I have been tasked with the responsibility of directing our next shuttle mission."

"Hello, I am very new to hospitals and medicine in general, and I have been tasked with the responsibility of performing our CEO's open-heart surgery."

"Hello, I am very new to physics and science in general, and I have been tasked with the responsibility of developing our country's nuclear weapon."

"Hello, I am very new to the White House and politics in general, and I have been tasked with the responsibility of leading the free world."

(OK, so scratch this last one...)

Why are our skills as developers so under-rated by the executives that they do not hesitate to assign a summer intern to the job?

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Posted

I believe the bosses are thinking, "Why should I pay some high-priced developer,* when I can get one of my wage slaves to do this. How hard can it be? It's just boxes on the screen."

*Anyone who charges more than said wage slave.

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Posted

I think how FileMaker positions itself in the marketplace has something to do with this.

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Posted

Excellent observation here - decadence among the management would I say!!! Talent is falsely considered something we all have - because it takes one to know one are recruitments of people to the management is purely is done by hiring mirror images of themselves.

Talent is falsely not considered something you have to work hard to nourish and build - why is it piles of young people pursue a future as singers or other kind of entrepreneuric endevours in tv shows like the ones Simon Cowell produces, without any kind of preperation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Cowell#American_Inventor

Decline in educational standards and all kinds of digital distractions will produce management acting purely on gut-feelings and mingling skills. Because this surfacial behavior simply have paid off in kindergarden, we have an entire generation of people to whom digging (too?) deep in a topic isn't worth the effort - why know something if your feelings apparently seems to pay off.

Isaac Adizes call this type of managers "arsonists" and unfortunately have very few organizations means to single out psychopaths in suits and make them harmless for the organizations further fate. Unfortunately are a lot of people copying this behavioural pattern since it seems to pay off.

I discovered or learned with grief, that the type I speak of here roams devcons too, twisting the meaning of the word development towards deals and behaviours, away from getting knowledge to how to make a tool work like a greased lightning no matter the measure of data it's supposed to deal with.

--sd

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Posted

An excellent and hilarious assessment.

I think that Managers frequently think of data management as a one way street. Their bias (or lack of experience) tells them that bad data management is not worse than NO data management- that they stand only to gain or not gain but not actually to suffer losses. If this was actually true of heart surgery for example, LOTS of people would go the route of buying DIY kits.

Especially, as Colin pointed out, if there is a company that markets itself as the accessible and professional tool of nonprofessionals.

In my case, which is exactly the travesty against which you rail, I work for a Non-Profit and doing risk assessment lead us to conclude that it was worth it for me to attempt something that we could not afford to pay a professional to do.

speaking as a well-motivated wage slave,

matthew

"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." - GK Chesterton

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Posted

I agree with Colin that FMI markets it as an easy to use off the shelf product that anyone can build spectacular DBs with a few clicks. I have this feeling that the "powers to be" at most small / some medium size companies think that its nothing more than a charged up version of Excel. That is probably also why they always want things to look like Excel. :

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Posted

First of all, thank you Michael for this hilarious post.

I think most of all that computers make people stupid.

For some reason, people (mostly men I think) feel ashamed if they don't know about something-that-is-somehow-related-to-computers.

Would a manager repair a coffee machine himself, or clean the windows ? no. He has no time for that, and he is not skilled.

Would he change a hard drive or run Norton tools on his computer ? Well... of course !

From that statement, designing a backup strategy or developing an application HAS to be under his responsibility. But of course, he has no time (remember, he is a manager), and just because of that he will ask someone else to to it for him. Who ? it doesn't matter. He certainly has no time to do it, but since he knows how, his skills will propagate. This is a physical principle. No need to demonstrate it again !

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Posted

I'm wondering how many of us got started using FileMaker (or any other DB Application), because of similar circumstances as those mentioned by comment and others?

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Posted (edited)

It's all in the marketing of FileMaker such as this catchy phrase found in the FileMaker website under the header: HOW DO I GET STARTED? "You don’t need to be a computer expert or invest a lot of time – anyone can quickly learn to use a database."

http://www.filemaker.com/articles/database/new_database_2.html

Filemaker has a lot of potential but because of how it is marketed, most people don't try to go beyond the templates.

Talking of templates that come with FileMaker, I can't help but wonder if there are any that use script variables and script parameters.

Edited by
script variables/parameters, love them
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Posted

Lee,

it all depends on what you call a database.

Many of us were indeed in this situation, but as far as I was concerned, it was a sort of Excel sheet with a nice interface.

I remember my boss saying : "we would need a databaswe of the prospects we're going to meet on that event". I answered : "a data-what ?". He pulled a FileMaker 2 box from the shelf, and that was it...

But what Comment is mentioning are not only simple, flat databases, but real applications, that are sometimes core to a company business.

I have to say also that I'm suprised that not more of these experiments lead to bankrupt, and I even see sometimes pretty nice things. So I have to admit that FileMaker has remained simple enough for real novices to accomplish great things. No problem with that. The question is about the risk.

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Posted

We could always write...

Hello, I am an experienced FileMaker developer with many projects under my belt, my client base is diverse.

I can't fly a 747, build a bridge, perform open heart surgery or other such common or garden tasks (can you do any of these?), but I can create an integrated system that will save your company so much money you won't hesitate to pay my professional fees.

Please defer the task presented to a professional like my self.

Just a thought.

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Posted

It's been my experience that many of the "flat file, make-a-new-copy-of-the-database-each-year, with 783 fields" solutions are oftentimes a big step up from what the company used to have, usually paper archives. Combine that with FileMaker, Inc's marketing that targets people with no database knowledge that was mentioned above and this seems like a good deal to many companies, especially in the short term.

I do think though that FMI's marketing to that audience is by far the biggest contributing factor to this.

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Posted

I just want to thank you for this post, Michael. It is (sadly) quite true. But the way you put it together is downright hilarious. I still find myself chuckling about it periodically. Thanks again!! :laugh2:

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Posted

(This thread needs to be bumped from time to time, or make it sticky.)

Remember how PageMaker used to be marketed? "Your secretary is now a graphic designer!"

FileMaker ran a series of similar ads a couple of years ago, featuring business cards like "Occupation: Beer Brewer and Database Developer."

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Posted

Hi Tom,

Good idea.

I see an option by the original post to allow for this, but when I clicked, it didn't seem to change anything.

I'll pass this on to Stephan.

Lee

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Posted

Hello.. Newbie here to DB's. ;) Well sorta..

I can understand the aggravation in this particular scenario, however I would like to try and at least speak for myself.

Personally, I was raised around DB's, but never learned much about them. For the last five years, I have been telling my wife that this is what I truly want to do with my life, after playing around a little bit with single table DB's. I enjoy designing the functionality of it. As a newbie now, I am not very knowledgeable, but five years from now, I hope to be using my creativity to bend the normal functions of DB's to new heights.

Having been home-schooled all of my life, I tend to try to learn everything on my own, but at times can over-confuse myself to the point that I just need someone to point me back in the right direction. Hence the reason that I come here for guidance.

You guys are at the top of your game - due to the knowledge and experience that you have gained throughout the years. But, you had to start somewhere.

I preface my posts with "I'm a Newbie" so that you won't overload your responses with advanced information that I can't currently comprehend. If my needs are beyond my knowledge, then guide me to the right learning materials. But, since you all are more knowledgeable, you can judge by my post my level of experience yourself, and guide in the right manner.

Personally, I am attempting to develop a DB for my company because they aren't willing to pay for a developer, but are willing to invest in their employee (me) to learn how to do it for the future. It may take longer, and cost more in the long run, but then they would have an employee that can do it - albeit for peanuts. I look at it as regardless I am learning to do something that I enjoy to do, and can take it anywhere with me.

I have been a Mac user for years, and have always enjoyed the fact that we Mac users always help each other. FM users have always been no different. I would hope that because I am a new user, that you would not help me any less than a more advanced user, but would understand it if you did.

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Posted

I don't recall expressing aggravation - I merely raised an eyebrow. And I directed my point not at the newbies themselves (they at least had the good sense to ask for help), but at the people that saddled them with responsibilities they cannot handle, and moreover expect a result that they can trust to handle their business.

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Posted

;) My apologies on the confusion.

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Posted

however I would like to try and at least speak for myself.

No need to apologize, Lincoln. You were speaking for many of us who were thrust in the same situation. You are the heroes and this message is to the bosses, who expect their employee to 1) not get paid programmer wage, 2) design totally on their own time and 3) are unforgiving when their employee gets stuck.

Welcome aboard ... FM Forums is the best group there is! We are all at different levels of experience or knowledge but we ALL were newbies at database design at one time. I commend you for taking on a difficult task and being willing to learn; just as many of us have done. Comment was speaking up for all of those employees ...

:smile2:

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Posted

Comment was speaking up for all of those employees ...

Thank you Comment!

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Posted

It seems to be a wide spread phenomenon that people "in charge" somehow require no skills, no training or education, nor intelligence. Looking at how the financial institutions were managed or even the Usa, this seems to be the rule rather than the exception. In every work setting I've been, my "boss" had no university education, while I have a masters, but even in my field of education, my "bosses" would be no hesitant to boss me. In psychology now, we came to the surprising conclusion, that such people who manifestly are ignorant about a subject, are not only ignorant but blind to the subject. In other words, they do not "see" the problem you are actually solving, so they can not evaluate or appreciate the solution you have made. There is no hope for improvement with these people. You might think, once I've solved the problem, they will be happy and more interested in the matter, but what actually happens is, as you solve the problem, it confirms them that the problem was insignificant to begin with. It is like arguing with a person who is unable to see colours, and telling them you are going to paint this wall in that colour and the other wall in that colour, while he thinks: Sure, I bet you are going to paint them in shades of gray! When the work is finished, you think "now he will see what I meant", but all he thinks is, «[color:blue]That's what I thought, all different sorts of gray, some people really like making a lot of fuss over nothing, but hey, I'll give this looser a pat on the shoulder, 'cause I'm a people manager»

I see no hope in the near future for this, because insights like this, can take decades to get from the academic status to general knowledge. However it can help you to avoid the frustration of trying to explain colour to the colourblind. Because the more you explain, the more stupid you look and the more you get that smile.

The attitude of the incompetent makes him appear suitable for management. He seems very competent in attacking problems, however not because he knows how to tackle them, but because he is convinced (important: he is not faking this, he is truly convinced) that there is no problem, or the problem is minor and blown out of proportions. [color:red]You simply cannot persuade a colourblind of the existence of colours.

The problems with "management" are so universal that we cannot explain them simply by personal factors. I'm convinced that Bush really thinks, he did not do anything wrong. (This is a completely different situation compared to con men like Madoff. = People who do acts that they know are wrong. One can reason with these guys) I, myself found a sort of peace in this, because I could not figure out what was happening, it was like I attracted incompetent bosses, who wanted to make my life miserable. But it was not intentional from their side. Nor was it from mine.

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Posted

Here is the problem with your boss's plan. By the time you are proficient enough to replace an expert developer, you will demand more money for your time, because you will have more opportunities. The result for your boss trying to save money by paying you to learn is extra months without a complete application and extra money spent for your time learning a skill that he will not benefit from in the future unless he pays close to what it would have cost to hire a pro from the beginning.

But for you, it's a good deal. You're getting paid to learn a skill that others will pay you a higher hourly rate for.

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Posted

This is why I changed my business model. I learned FileMaker over eight years solving problems for my industry. However, I have found blindness among other companies to the problem that the database solution solves. Rather than sell them the solution, which they wouldn't have paid for anyway, I produced a service based on the solution. I now make five times every year what I would have made selling the software one time.

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Posted

Ha ha ha.. well I've just been thrown into a similar situation by my law firm.

It's not quite that bad - they are prepared to go out and buy a system, but previous experience has not been good. They tried to do all the right things before, but ended up with a system that wasn't really fit for the task.

This particular project is rather transient and charitable, so it needs to be on a shoestring - else it won't happen.

They asked me because in a previous life I was a software engineer. I suspect a reason why I got hired was for my IT experience. My last experience with databases was Paradox for DOS...

Looking through the forums, there is no obvious place for "newbie" type questions. I'm not asking for hand-holding "how can I do this or that". I'm at the stage of "These are the outcomes we want... Is FM a good choice for this?" Rather like "pre-sales enquiries".

I need help with deciding if and what we should buy, and what kind of effort and skills are needed in getting the thing going.

Where should I ask?

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Posted

from 2006 thru 2008 i worked IT for a multinational daily newspaper. we had an estimated 600+ FileMaker databases being served up from our data center on everything from old pre-G3 macs up to modern Dell and XServe boxes. FM versions 2-8.5 were scattered all throughout the organization with absolutely not one single person responsible for any of it. not one. at one point i let it slip out that i knew some FileMaker and literally that day in a meeting i was named Knight of FileMaker and was then responsible for the whole thing. ha no one even asked me to prove i knew what i was talking about. it was a nightmare. hundreds of databases without anyone who knew master passwords. multiple copies of the same files being used at the same time. tons of recovered databases being served up live.

that was an example of no one having any respect at all for filemaker. glad i got the heck out of there as it was just a peek into the window of the real mess that was site-wide.

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