I was talking to Ron last night, who is into all this Internet thing.
He designs sites and puts them on his servers and looks after the “www.whatever.thingy” things.
He has loads of contacts in the business and he heard this experience from a pal of his. I’m not sure of the pal’s name, so I’ll call him Fred. Fred also runs a web design company.
Ron is amused, though he shouldn’t be, as one of Fred’s clients has screwed up.
I asked him why he was so smug, so he told me his little story.
Fred has been looking after this client for years and the client is very happy. They are a very big company. They are selling stuff by the bucketload off the site that Fred designed. Especially now that it is the height of the buying frenzy.
Anyhow, it appears that this company has an accountant. Now this is your typical “Monty Python” accountant. He knows credits and debits and double-entry and balance sheets like the back of his hand. But he knows NOTHING about anything else.
Now the accountant has been receiving spam. Because he doesn’t live in the real world, he doesn’t realise that spam is a part of everyday life. He thinks he shouldn’t receive it, because it isn’t full of numbers and audits and VAT. So he decided to fix it.
He sent a fax to Eircom saying he wanted to change the company’s domain name over to them. Fred doesn’t know why he did this. Even Eircom doesn’t know why he did this. Apparently it makes no sense at all. It’s a bit like being tired of junk mail coming through your letterbox so you tell the postman you now live in London. It’ll stop the junk mail all right, but it’ll stop everything else as well. But the accountant had heard “somewhere” that this would fix his problem.
And it did fix the problem. The spam stopped all right. So did all the rest of the important e-mails that a company relies on. Their website disappeared too. And all the sales that were going on at the time.
So everyone in the company went berserk. Except for the accountant who was now happy because he had no spam. But the rest all ran in circles trying to undo the damage he’d done. But it wasn’t that easy, because the accountant said that he was happy now he had no spam, and he wasn’t going to undo anything he had requested. And the way he had set it up, only he could undo it.
I asked Ron if Fred shouldn’t be worried, because he was supposed to be in charge of the whole thing.
He said no. He said the accountant screwed up by meddling in things he knew nothing about. And Eircom got things wrong because they got completely incorrect instructions from the accountant.
So Fred was in the clear. And this is why Ron had a smirk on his face.
It was the first time he had ever encountered an accountant who would put a company out of business, rather than receive spam mail.
In the meantime, the owner of the company is having a short holiday in America, and he doesn’t know anything about this. Unless he connects to his website every day, which would be a bit silly if he is on holiday.
I hope he has a very nice relaxing holiday. I hope he winds down and returns to work fighting fit. He’s going to need his strength.