The Peter Devil wasn't very good at delivering bad news. He also wasn't very good at delivering good news, neutral news, making decisions, motivating employees, or, just about anything else that a CTO is supposed to do. But -- bad news -- it just wasn't his thing. He notified, via email, a team of over fifty employees that they'd be jobless in two weeks Unfortunately, the Vancouver office will be disbanded on August 23; we'll need everyone to pull together and make an extra effort to finish up the Integration Project and transition the remaining work to us here in Toronto.

The very existence of the Vancouver office is an oddity in and of itself. Five years before closing the office, the Peter Devil convinced his boss (the CEO) that the best way to develop a new software product was to create a "company in a company" and hire a slew of top talent to run it. Sure, they wouldn't have any knowledge of the business domain or access to all of the in-house expertise, but they'd have a fresh start. And was all that mattered.

After two years and $10M CAD (or, $138.22 USD) spent, the Vancouver team had finally built a marginally functional client-server product that was mostly worthless and completely unsalable. Fortunately, the Peter Devil knew just how to solve this: consultants. Not real consultants, of course, just whatever employees from Toronto that were willing to relocate to Vancouver for six months to a year.

The pseudo-consultants helped immensely; after three more years and $25M CAD more spent, the "company in a company" developed a second-rate product that could actually compete with other second-rate products in their industry. They made a handful of sales -- almost $100,000 CAD worth -- but their projected earnings just didn't come anywhere close to what it cost to run the operation. And this is why, after five years, the Peter Devil decided to shut them down.

A few days after the in-two-weeks-you'll-be-fired-but-let's-crunch-to-get-the-project-done email was sent, Larry C. and six other developers were sent to Vancouver to help with the transitioning. Instead of finding an office filled with developers running around, scrambling to finish their final project, they walked into a desert. Half of the employees were "off sick;" some showed up just to scavenge whatever staplers, chairs, and other office goods they could find; and the rest spent their time playing Diablo II and sabotaging what remained of the Integration Project. There was only a single employee who was willing to talk to Larry and explain how the product worked, how it was built, and so on. Unfortunately, he was just an intern.

Almost a year later, the Vancouver team's software was declared a complete loss; since most of the code had been obfuscated and all comments were stripped out, no one could maintain it or add any of the promised features. Fortunately, the Peter Devil knew just how to solve this: he took five of the company's best developers and told them to rewrite the entire product from scratch. By the end of the year.

Six months later, the "rock star team" of developers finished their analysis of the existing product and told the Peter Devil it would be impossible to finish. He was not too happy to hear this as he had sold it to several high-profile customers and promised them they'd have it in a few months. Fortunately, the Peter Devil's boss new just how to solve this: he finally let the CTO go and sympathized with one of their major competitors to take the disaster of a product. The competitor obliged and, in a symbolic gesture, bought the software, it's source code, for a single Canadian dollar.